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Red Faber

Red Faber

Library of Congress

his photo is a press photograph from the George Grantham Bain collection at the Library of Congress. According to the library, there are no known restrictions on the publication of these photos.

Position(s):
P
Born:
September 6, 1888
Bats:
Left
Throws:
Right
Height:
6' 2"
Weight:
180 lbs
Major League Debut:
4-17-1914 with CHA
Hall of Fame:
1964

 

Faber was a steady, even-tempered spitballer whose long life in the second division probably kept him from the select 300-win club. With Chicago's lineup decimated by the loss of the Black Sox stars, Faber endured 13 seasons in or below fifth place, and only three at .500 or above. His lifetime winning percentage of .545 was achieved mostly with teams below .500.

Faber acquired his spitter in 1911, after a sore arm ruined early tryouts with the Pirates. Sold to Des Moines (Western League), he had two sterling seasons, and was purchased by the White Sox for $3,500. The Sox and Giants scheduled a world tour after the 1913 season. Faber, who had not yet pitched an inning of major league ball, was loaned to the Giants when Christy Mathewson declined to take the trip. Faber won four exhibitions against his future teammates, and began his 20-year, one-team career in 1914.

He was the pitching star of the 1917 Series win over the Giants, missed most of 1918 in the Navy, and returned to help win the 1919 pennant with 11 victories. He was on the bench for the scandalous Series, however, with recurring arm trouble and the flu.

Faber's peak years were 1921 and 1922, when he won 25 and 21 games while the Sox were finishing seventh and fifth. He led the league in ERA and complete games both years. From 1914 through 1923, he had ten consecutive winning seasons. But he was not overpowering. His 1,471 strikeouts are far down the all-time list, yet he always claimed success against Ruth and Cobb. Like many spitballers, he threw the spitter sparingly, for contrast, and with a variety of motions. Always poised, the excellent control pitcher became increasingly sager. In his 4,087 innings, he allowed only 110 HR (one every 37 innings), and hit only 104 batters (one every 39).

His oddest statistical feats came as a batter. A .134 switch hitter, in 1915 he walked seven times in a row. Twice, he made the most of his rare on-base appearances by stealing home.

Faber served several seasons as a White Sox coach. After baseball, he worked until his eighties on a Cook County Highway Department survey team. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1964.

Faber won 254 games over his 20-year career, a total which ranked 17th-highest in history upon his retirement. At the time of his retirement, he was the last legal spitballer in the American League; another legal spitballer, Burleigh Grimes, would later be traded to the AL and appear in 10 games for the Yankees in 1934.

 

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Tagged:
1917 World Series, Babe Ruth, Chicago White Sox, Christy Mathewson, Des Moines Demons, Red Faber, Spitball, Ty Cobb

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