George Uhle developed a new “trick pitch” while pitching batting practice to Tigers’ teammate Harry Heilmann in 1929. He later dubbed it his “slider” and used it to reach the 200-win plateau. As a 20-year old rookie in 1919, Uhle won 10 games for his hometown team, the Cleveland Indians. He won 20 games three times for the Tribe before finishing his career with the Tigers, Giants and Yankees.
He was one of the game’s best hitting pitchers, setting a record with 52 hits in 1923, when he also won 26 games. Uhle’s 393 career hits rank him in the topten on the all-time list. His .289 career batting average ranks second to Babe Ruth’s .304 career mark among pitchers.
Uhle was especially tough on Babe Ruth, and Ruth claimed the right-hander was the toughest pitcher he faced throughout his career. Ruth hit just two homers of Uhle in 15 seasons facing him.
20 Innings of Work
On May 24, 1929, Uhle started and pitched the first 20 innings of a 21-inning game against Ted Lyons of the Chicago White Sox. The Tigers won the game in the 21st inning, but Uhle’s arm was never the same. He had to hold on to win 200 games, and his career was essentially over at the age of 32.