William Leopold Hoffer
(Chick or Wizard)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 155 lb.
- Debut April 26, 1895
- Final Game July 4, 1901
- Born November 8, 1870 in Cedar Rapids, IA USA
- Died July 21, 1959 in Cedar Rapids, IA USA
"I couldn't pitch my best when I wasn't mad. McGraw would yell at me 'You fat-headed Dutchman' and maybe some other insults. Then I'd get mad and throw that ball so damned hard." - Bill Hoffer
Bill Hoffer is a member of the Des Moines Register Iowa Sports Hall of Fame.
Hoffer was with Nashville in 1893 in the Southern League, and then came to Buffalo in 1894. In 1895, he came to the majors with the Baltimore Orioles, a famous team featuring John McGraw, Hughie Jennings, and Wilbert Robinson. Hoffer didn't disappoint, going 31-6 in his first major league season and leading the National League in winning percentage. The Orioles won the pennant.
"Gol, what a team that was!" - Bill Hoffer, about the Baltimore Orioles
Hoffer followed up with two more good seasons, going 25-7 in 1896 and 22-11 in 1897, as Baltimore won the pennant again in 1896 and finished a close second in 1897. He was with the Cleveland Blues for the inaugural season of the American League in 1901. He only went 3-8, but one of his wins was a remarkable one: on May 23rd, the Blues rallied from being down 13-5 with two outs in the bottom of the 9th against the Washington Senators to claim an impossible 14-13 win; Hoffer pitched a complete game and gave up all 13 runs allowed by Cleveland to record the win. Earlier that season, on April 24th, hen was the losing pitcher in the league's first-ever game when the Chicago White Sox defeated Cleveland, 8-2.
His minor league career also included pitching in the Illinois-Iowa League, the Western Association and mostly in the Western League. In all, he played baseball for 20 years, and then was an engineer and conductor for an Iowa railway. He managed the 1904 Des Moines Prohibitionists. He also umpired one NL game in 1896.
Born in Cedar Rapids, IA, after his baseball days he lived in Cedar Rapids for many years before he died there.
Main source: desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19530329/SPORTS11/50627021
- 2-time NL Winning percentage Leader (1895 & 1896)
- AL Saves Leader (1901)
- NL Shutouts Leader (1895)
- 20 Wins Seasons: 3 (1895-1897)
- 30 Wins Seasons: 1 (1895)
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 3 (1895-1897)
- 300 Innings Pitched Seasons: 3 (1895-1897)