Al Worthington

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Allan Fulton Worthington

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Biographical Information[edit]

"Being born again changed my life. It's still changing my life. I wanted my teammates to be saved too. I think it scared them. In fact, they didn't want to be around me. My conversion definitely put a gap between me and my teammates." - Al Worthington - in the Original San Francisco Giants.

Al Worthington , nicknamed "Red", was a righthander out of the University of Alabama, who was baseball's first born-again Christian following his attending a Billy Graham crusade in New York in 1957. "Red" began his career with the 1953 New York Giants, pitching two shutouts in his first two major league games. After that, however, he had only mediocre success the rest of the decade with a return to the Minneapolis Millers of the American Association in 1955 where he won a league-leading 19 games for the Junior World Series champions. He hit the lone home run of his career in 1956 off future Hall of Famer Robin Roberts.

Primarily a reliever for the Giants in their first two years on the West Coast, Worthigton was also with the Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds in the late 1950s and early 1960s. On September 8, 1960 Worthington left the White Sox team and went home. He told GM Hank Greenberg, "I can’t play for a team that’s cheating." [1] He spent the next 2 seasons in AAA pitching very well. The Cincinnati Reds picked him in the 1962 Rule V Draft and gave him a chance in 1963, leading to a string of successful major league seasons. In 1964 Worthington landed with the Minnesota Twins, where he blossomed into one of the American League's most dominant closers.

The development of a very good sidearm curveball helped him become one of the premier relievers in baseball. His most productive season came in 1965, when the Twins were the American League Champions, he posted career highs in saves, with 21 and had an ERA of 2.13 while winning 10 games. In 1966 and 1967 he saved 32 games, and in 1968 he led the league relievers with 18 saves.

Al closed out a 14-year career in 1969, compiling a 75-82 won-loss record, pitching 1,246 innings in 602 games with 834 strikeouts, a 3.39 ERA and 110 saves.

Worthington sold insurance in Minneapolis for a couple of years before returning to the Twins as a pitching coach in 1972 and 1973. Over the next 13 years he was the baseball coach at Jerry Falwell's Liberty Baptist College. He then served as athletic director at the school while working as a pitching coach for the baseball team which was now coached by former Yankees second baseman Bobby Richardson. In 1980 he managed the Falmouth Commodores to the Cape Cod Baseball League championship.

The baseball facility at Liberty was later named in honor of Worthington, who is now retired in Sterrett, AL.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • AL Saves Leader (1968)

Baseball Players of the 1950s

Further Reading[edit]

  • Bill Nowlin: "Al Worthington", in Gregory H. Wolf, ed.: A Pennant for the Twin Cities: the 1965 Minnesota Twins, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2015, pp. 290-295. ISBN 978-1-943816-09-5

Related Sites[edit]