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Friday, April 21, 2017

Knuckleball Pitcher Wilbur Wood

Wilbur Wood struggled early in his career with the Boston Red Sox, and Pittsburgh Pirates. After being traded to the Chicago White Sox, he took Hoyt Wilhem’s advice to rely on his knuckleball. It would launch his career. In 1968, he set a then major league record of 88 appearances.

In 1971, Wood was moved to the starting rotation, and delivered with four consecutive 20 game win seasons. He would lead the American League in wins in 1972-73, and was an American League all-star in 1971-1972, and 1974.  His career was derailed in 1976, when a line drive from the bat of Ron LeFlore shattered his left kneecap. After returning from his injury in 1977, he wasn’t as effective with his knuckleball, and retired after the 1978 season. He finished his career with a 164-156 won-loss record, and an ERA of 3.24.

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