Monday, April 23, 2012

This Day in Sports History - 4/23/1952

In his first major league at-bat, New York Giants pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm hits a home run to help his club to a 9-5 win over the Boston Braves at the Polo Grounds. It is struck in the fourth inning off Dick Hoover. On the mound, Wilhelm pitches 5.1 innings of relief and allows two runs. He is a 29 year old rookie who finally reaches the majors after bouncing around the minors since 1942. During the 1952 season, Wilhelm will compile a 15-3 record and a league-leading 2.43 ERA in 71 games, all in relief, and 159.1 innings. With a knuckleball as his primary pitch, Wilhelm lasts in the majors until 1972 and plays his last game two weeks shy of his 50th birthday. He pitches in 1,070 career games and holds the all-time record in the category from 1968 through 1998. However, Wilhelm will never hit another home run in the majors in 432 at bats. His career batting average is .088. Wilhelm will be elected to the Hall of Fame in 1985.

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