Ed Walsh was sometimes called “Big” Ed Walsh. He was 6-foot 1 inch and 193 pounds according to Baseball Reference. He was big for that time, but not that big. Maybe they were looking for his record on the mound.
The question is how I can rank the all-time leader in Earned run average as the 46th best player. One is he had help by playing only 14 seasons and he pitched in one of the most pitcher friendly eras in baseball. However, he was still a great pitcher. Actually, he had only 7 seasons where he pitched 150 innings or more.
In fact, without the 1908 season, he would hardly be a hall of fame candidate. He had other great seasons, but the 1908 season stands out. He led the league with wins with 40, strikeouts, games pitched, inning pitched and strikeout to walk ratio. He also led the league including position players in WAR. Unfortunately for him his White Sox team lost the pennant by 1.5 games that year to the Detroit Tigers.
To say Walsh carried the team might be an understatement. His won-loss record was 40-15 and the rest of the team was 48-49. In addition to his 40 wins Walsh had 6 saves to lead the league. So, Walsh was directly involved with 46 of the White Sox 88 victories, more than half of the team total.
In 1906 Ed Walsh had a first good season to help the White Sox to the pennant. He won two games in the World Series that year in one of the biggest upsets in World Series history.