TRIVIA WINNER: Congrats to Steve Wade, of McKinney TX, who identified the answer we were looking for; The Giants Mick McCormick was the pitcher of record in the game where Dick Dietz was not awarded 1st base because he didn't try to get out of the way when being hit by Don Drysdale. The Prize: Starbucks Gift Card.
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ANSWER to the Trivia question in the previous column: Mick McCormick was the pitcher of
record in the game where Dick Dietz was not awarded 1st base because he
didn't try to get out of the way when being hit by Don Drysdale.
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NEW TRIVIA QUESTION: Hoyt Wilhelm last started a game when he was 40 years old. How many games did he actually start in that year?
Two years removed from a World Series appearance how did the Chicago White Sox drop all the way to fourth place in the American League. It wasn't that they were bad because they still finished 10 games over .500. It was that the competition got better and the Sox simply got old. Not just older, but old.
The youngest player in the 1961 starting line-up was 25 year old Floyd Robinson. Five of the starting eight had reached 33 with two of them at 36 and 37. Minnie Minoso would go on to play until he was 40 with single game appearances at 52 and 58 but you can't really count those for this story. The players who were past 30 were Nellie Fox, Roy Sievers, Sherm Lollar, and Al Smith while both Luis Aparicio and Jim Landis were 27. Six bench players were also well past 30 years old and Wes Covington was 29.
The pitching staff had two players at 40+ and seven more in their 30's. Gerry Staley and Early Wynn both had been on the planet for four decades and well past their prime while Billy Pierce, Cal McLish, Ray Herbert, Turk Lown, Don Larsen, Russ Kemmerer and Warren Hacker had all put their 30th birthdays behind them.
Youngsters Joel Horlen and Gary Peters pitched only 27 innings between them in 1961. Meanwhile 24 year old Juan Pizarro showed promise with a 14-7 record as the ace of the staff. None of the younger hitters would ever really make an impact. J.C. Martin would stick around for a few years as a light hitting defensive catcher.
Not much would change the following season except for the continued development of Horlen and Peters and the arrive of a young outstanding defense outfielder, Ken Berry. A few other pieces came around as well but would move on to greener pastures before long. The club still finished above .500 by about 10 games but fell to fifth place in 1962.