Lefthanded pitcher Gary Peters came up through the pitching-rich Chicago White Sox organization in the late 1950s, but he was not an immediate success. It took him several years to prove he could get big league hitters out. Eventually he won 124 games and was part of the pitching staff with the lowest ERA in American League history since the deadball era.
Peters was 26 years old and had been called up for brief trials with the ChiSox four times before he won a spot in their rotation in 1963. That season he won 19 games and led the AL in ERA, winning the Rookie of the Year Award. The next season the tall southpaw won a league-best 20 games and was an All-Star. With Peters, Tommy John, Joe Horlen, and Juan Pizarro in the rotation and Hoyt Wilhelm in the bullpen, the Pale Hose had one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. In 1967 the team had a 2.45 ERA, the lowest in the AL since before World War I.
In his fourth full season, Peters won his second ERA title, and the next season he won 16 games and was an All-Star for the second time. He was 30 years old and had a career 2.50 ERA and 77 wins. But he never again had an ERA below 3.76 and shoulder problems took away his fastball. He spent three seasons with the Red Sox before falling out of the game after the ’72 campaign.
Peters was one of the best hitting pitchers of his era, and he was frequently batted higher in the order, even batting in the #6 position a few times. He clubbed 19 homers and had 31 doubles in just over 800 career at-bats.