Monday, August 31, 2009
Howie Pollet, 1943 St. Louis Cardinals
Jesus Christ. Pollet was a fucking assassin in 1943. Yeah, I know, wartime baseball was diluted, blah blah Hal Newhouser blah blah...whatever. According to Warren Corbett, Pollet was "a pitching prodigy." Well no shit! In '43, Pollet became the only player in history to throw five shutouts in 15 or fewer (14, in his case) games. Yeah. That's nasty. But that's not all. He also completed twelve of those fourteen games, compiling an 8-4 record, a 0.972 WHIP, and winning the ERA crown (he barely qualified) with an electric 1.75. Pollet joined the Air Force after the 1943 season, returning to the majors for the 1946 season and finding that he was still a pretty damn good pitcher (21-10, 2.10 ERA, fourth in MVP voting). Unfortunately, Pollet had a mediocre '47 and, despite finding some later success, his career was never fully realized. His later struggles were certainly due to a combination of prime years lost to war, arm injuries, and the generally-stronger play of integrated, post-war baseball, culminating in his retirement after the 1956 season.
5+ shutouts, 15- games