Hoyt Wilhelm

Hoyt Wilhelm

Wilhelm is one of the few relievers who would have been a very good starting pitcher if he'd been asked to do so. In his one season in a rotation, 1959 with the Baltimore Orioles, Wilhelm won 15 games for a sixth place team and led the American League in ERA. There's little reason to believe that he couldn't have been a big-time winner as a starter like Phil Niekro had he been given that chance. But the prejudice against knuckleballers sent him into the pen, and once he established himself there, he was set for the remainder of his stellar career. Wilhelm posted six seasons with an ERA under 2.00, and that's damn good in any era. Five of those came in successive seasons with the Chicago White Sox, when he posted an ERA+ of 186 for half a decade.