The Memory of Early Wynn

Wynn is the least well-known 300-game winner pitching mainly after World War II (his career began in 1939). I don’t have an image of him in my mind. He was not a fireballer, did not have many great seasons, pitched for three different teams, none of them in New York, didn’t win a World Series, and, somewhat like Jamie Moyer, didn’t have an impressive start to his career. His first 20-win season came in his 30s, he won 22 games at age 39 (and got the Cy Young Award for it), and won 16 games in his 40s. Here is his SABR biography: http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/6d0d8788

Despite his relative obscurity, reading the bio shows that Wynn led a dramatic life and was no shrinking violet. His life was at least as intriguing as Gaylord Perry’s, another Southerner with a roughly similar career that started about two decades after Wynn’s. Why isn’t Wynn well known today? To hazard a guess: even ardent baseball fans can pay only so much attention to the past, have only so much space in their memory devoted to cataloging great players who played before a fan was born. When they think of A.L. pitchers in the 1940s and 50s, Feller and Whitey Ford are the first to come to mind, maybe Herb Score as well, and perhaps a Yankee or two, like Allie Reynolds, and that’s all. When you look at this page of A.L. pitching leaders in 1953, listing last names only, how many of the names do you recognize?

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Published in: Uncategorized on March 12, 2017 at 1:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

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