Addie Joss

From BR Bullpen


Adrian Joss
(The Human Hairpin)

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1978

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

1903 E107 Breisch Williams

Addie Joss made his major league debut in 1902 and pitched his entire career with the Cleveland Naps (also known as the Bronchos during his rookie season and later called the Indians after his death). He won at least 20 games each season from 1905 to 1908. In 1908, Joss went 24-11 with a 1.16 ERA and on October 2nd of that year pitched a perfect game against the Chicago White Sox.

Things began to go south for him halfway into the 1909 season: after pitching a 10-inning two-hit shutout against the Philadelphia Athletics on July 13th, his record stood at 12-3, 1.98. However, he was just 2-10, 3.53 the rest of the way and never really regained his effectiveness - with one big caveat: on April 20, 1910, he pitched the first no-hitter since his perfect game in 1908. That made him the first pitcher in history to pitch the two most recent no-hitters in the majors; the next one would be Johnny Vander Meer, with his back-to-back no-no's in 1938, and four more pitchers have matched this since, including Nolan Ryan who did so twice. After his final regular season appearance of the season on July 25th, he never again pitched in the majors because of elbow pain, although he did appear in an exhibition game against the Cincinnati Reds in the fall. The next spring, he contracted meningitis and died at the age of 30. He was ill only a few days before dying.

After all these years, Joss is still the pitcher with the best WHIP of all time (minimum 100 decisions); Clayton Kershaw has a chance of catching him as of 2019.

Small obituary for the ballplayer

Joss was elected to the Hall of Fame despite not meeting the requirement of ten years of service. He was elected after many years of campaigning by sportswriters Jerry Nason, Joe Reichler, and Fred Lieb.

Joss's New York Times obituary indicates that he started in semi-pro ball in 1898 and pitched for Toledo before coming to the majors.

In a strange coincidence, Lee Richmond pitched baseball's first perfect game in 1880, and one of the positions he held after his career ended was Mathematics Teacher at Scott High School in Toledo, OH; Addie Joss pitched baseball's fourth perfect game and his son, Norman Joss attended Scott High School where Lee Richmond was his teacher.

His first baseball card appearance was in the 1903 E107 Breisch Williams set.


Addie didn't get into the Hall of Fame until many decades after his career had ended, primarily because he had pitched only nine seasons. One can also ask why his WAR7 is not higher. However, that is explained by the fact that most of his managers (especially Bill Armour) chose not to over-use him. He was never in the top ten in the league in innings pitched until he got so very successful with the Naps in 1907 and 1908 that his manager of the time, Nap Lajoie, allowed him to pitch enough to get into the top ten in the league in innings in those two years. Nevertheless, Joss was clearly extremely good when he did pitch over the course of his career, as is shown by a career ERA+ of 143 (normalized to the league environment), which is 12th of all time. A comparison might be made to his contemporary Joe McGinnity, who pitched large amounts of innings without as high an ERA+, and accumulated a higher WAR7 simply because of frequent use. Addie's won-loss record is also similar to that of Ron Guidry, not in the Hall of Fame, but Joss's ERA+ is much better.

"When you talk about pitchers in Cleveland, there will be three names that come to mind immediately: Cy Young, Bob Feller, and Addie Joss." - Lee Allen, Baseball Hall of Fame historian

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2-time AL ERA Leader (1904 & 1908)
  • AL Wins Leader (1907)
  • AL Shutouts Leader (1902)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 6 (1902, 1903 & 1905-1908)
  • 20 Wins Seasons: 4 (1905-1908)
  • 25 Wins Seasons: 1 (1907)
  • 200 innings Pitched Seasons: 7 (1902, 1903 & 1905-1908)
  • 300 innings Pitched Seasons: 2 (1907 & 1908)
  • Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1978

Further Reading[edit]

  • Rich Blevins: Addie Joss on Baseball: Collected Newspaper Columns and World Series Reports, 1907-1909, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2012. ISBN 0786463562
  • Scott Longert: Addie Joss, King of the Pitchers, SABR, Cleveland, OH, 1998. ISBN 0910137749

Related Sites[edit]