Babe Adams

Babe Adams

Babe Adams

May 18, 1882
5' 11"
185 lbs
Major League Debut:
4-18-1906 with SLN


As a 24-year old rookie in 1909, Babe Adams shackled the vaunted Detroit Tiger offense three times in the World Series, holding Ty Cobb to one hit in 11 at-bats. In the climactic seventh game, Adams shut down Cobb and Sam Crawford for a combined 0-for-8, winning the contest and the series, 8-0. Overnight he became a hero in Pittsburgh, as fans hoisted his picture in parades, took up collections for him, and presented him with gifts. He won 194 games in a career that spanned 21 years and concluded when he was 44 years old. No right-hander in the history of the Pittsburgh Pirates ever won more games.

Replaced By

Ray "Wiz" Kremer, a 31-year old rookie who had starred for several years in the Pacific Coast League, joined the Pittsburgh rotation in 1924. Adams was relegated to part-time duty and spent several weeks injured before pitching nine games with a 1.13 ERA at the age of 42. He pitched two more years, mostly in relief, until he was 44 years old.

Best Season

He had a lot of great seasons, and it's hard to pick one as standing out above others, so we'll choose 1909, when he defeated the Tigers three times in the World Series. In the regular season he went 12-3 with a 1.11 ERA in 25 games. Twice he won 20 games (1911 and 1913), and from 1919-1922, he led the loop in fewest walks per nine innings every season.

Factoid 1

Adams was a natural left-handed thrower, but a childhood injury forced him to learn to be a right-hander.


Sold by St. Louis Cardinals to Pittsburgh Pirates (September, 1907).


Control. Adams walked 430 batters in nearly 3,000 innings. That's 1.29 free passes per nine innings. In 1919-1920, he walked a total of 41 batters in 526 1/3 innings. His career mark of 1.29 walks per nine innings is the lowest in baseball history.


Adams suffered a mysterious arm injury and lost his effectiveness suddenly in the middle of his career. In 1916 he was 2-9 with a 5.72 ERA in ten starts before he was sent to the bullpen and finally shipped out to the minor leagues. In 1917 at the age of 35, he spent the entire year with St. Joseph-Hutchinson of the Western League and Kansas City of the American Association. He pitched in the minors again in 1918 before earning a comeback with the Pirates for three games at the end of the season, helped by the fact that many major league pitchers were being drafted into World War I. In 1919 he was back in the Pittsburgh rotation, and won 17 games with a 1.98 ERA.

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