No. 260 Red Faber (Number 59 Pitcher)

I think the thing Red Faber is most famous for now is when he didn’t pitch. Faber was injured and didn’t pitch in the 1919 World Series. Teammate and catcher Ray Schalk said if he had pitched in that series it would have been impossible for the White Sox to throw the series. It might have been true. Schalk is assuming that Faber would have been honest (from what I know that would have been true) and if he pitched like he normally did that year.

There was something off about his health all year and he didn’t pitch that well. It certainly was the worst of his career. Somehow, he pitched 162 innings that year. Probably one of the causes is he was just coming back from being in the Army in World War one. Another is he had a case of the flu, which was a lot worse in those days without modern medicine. He was an effective pitcher before that and was pitching well before going off to war in 1918.

Then Faber had his three best seasons starting in 1920. In 1921 and 1922 he was the dominant pitcher in the American League and would have won the Cy Young Award both years. At least he would have got my vote. After that Faber pitched above average baseball but never again great. In fact, he wasn’t close to great.

One thing I will note is after 1920 after the majors banned the spitter, they said each team could Grandfather in one pitcher to throw the spitter for as long as he pitched. The White Sox chose Faber. That might have helped him along in the 1921 and 1922 seasons.

After the 1922 season Faber was 34 years old. Not young for a ballplayer, especially in those days. The spitter isn’t easy on the arm. Still, he managed to pitch until he was 44. His wins by age group:

In his 20s: 71

In his 30s: 147

In his 40s: 36

Faber won 254 games in his career. What happened was in his 20s is he worked in the minors for a while developing his spitter. He was 25 his first year. It took him a year to adjust to the majors. Then he had three solid years where he won 57 games. He wasn’t great, but he was pretty good. Then he lost a year to the war.

It is unfortunate that Faber started late because it probably shortened his years as a great pitcher. He had two great years, and then he was 34 years old. However, he was elected to the hall of fame and had a 20 year career in the majors as he pitched through age 44.

In the 1917 World Series Faber went 3-1 in only a six game World Series. You may ask how did that happen. Well, Faber and Eddie Cicotte pitched almost the whole series for the White Sox. They pitched 50 of the 52 innings of the series. Cicotte won game 1 and Faber won game 2. Cicotte lost game 3 and Faber lost game 4. They have an excuse as the White Sox were shutout both games. The White Sox and Giants were tied after 7 in game 5. Red Faber came in relief of a tie game. Earlier in the game Eddie Cicotte pitched 6 innings in relief.

Faber pitched a scoreless 8th, the White Sox scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth and Faber pitched a scoreless 9th. Faber got credited with the victory. There was a day off in between and Faber was more rested than Cicotte, so he pitched game 6th giving up only one run in a 4-1 victory.


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