Jean Faut

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Jean Faut Winsch Eastman

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Biographical Information[edit]

Jean Faut was a pitcher in the AAGPBL and was a two-time winner of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Player of the Year Award. She played eight seasons in the league from 1946 to 1953. She debuted in 1946 when the rules were changed to allow overhand pitching and this played into her softball background. Her 1.23 ERA was the lowest in AAGPBL history and she was the only pitcher in league annals to throw two perfect games.

Jean hit .177/~.296/.212 for South Bend as a rookie in 1946 and made 60 errors, fielding .893 as the regular third basewoman. She did steal 38 bases at least. As a pitcher, she went 8-3 with a 1.32 ERA in 12 outings. She finished third in the league in ERA and winning percentage. In her first post-season, she went 0-2 with a 1.13 ERA against the Racine Belles and was 0 for 8 at the plate. In game one of the playoffs, she had gone 17 innings against Anna May Hutchison before Madeline English knocked in the winner in a 3-2 game.

In 1947, Faut married Karl Winsch, a former minor league pitcher from East Greenville, PA, near her hometown. Jean went 19-13 with a 1.15 ERA that season and allowed only 179 hits in 298 innings; she hit .236 at the plate. She was 5th in ERA in a low-scoring season, tied for fifth in wins, third in innings pitched and 8th with 97 strikeouts. On July 21, she pitched 22 innings in a victory over Eleanor Dapkus. In the playoffs, Faut was 1-1 with one save and a 2.37 ERA; she went 1 for 8 at the plate and made two errors, leading South Bend.

In 1948, Faut Winsch went 16-11 with a 1.44 ERA. She walked 113 in 250 innings but fanned 165 and allowed just 156 hits. She batted .231. She was 7th in the league in ERA and 8th in strikeouts. She also had her first child that year. In the playoffs, she threw 20 innings in game one to beat Alice Haylett 3-2 in the longest game in AAGPBL post-season history. She lost game four to Haylett, 1-0, in 15 innings. The next season, her record was a dazzling 24-8 with a 1.10 ERA. In 261 innings, she walked 118 but only allowed 136 hits. She batted .291, which would have led the league had she been among the qualifiers. She finished third in ERA behind Lois Florreich and Helen Fox, led the league in wins, was third in strikeouts, third in complete games (25), second in innings (261) and led with 12 shutouts, 3 more than runner-up Florreich. She made her first All-Star team at pitcher. In one game that year, she threw a no-hitter and faced only 27 batters, but Dorothy Schroeder had walked before being retired on a double play. In 1949, Faut went 0-2 in the postseason with a 2.58 ERA, losing the decisive game in the bottom of the 9th on an error.

Faut batted .217/~.323/.273 in her first regular playing time in the field in four years. Her pitching line that year was 21-9, 1.12. She allowed 175 hits in 290 innings of work. She led the 1950 AAGPBL in ERA, edging Florreich by .06. She trailed Maxine Kline for the win lead by two, was second in strikeouts (118) behind Florreich and led in innings and complete games (29, one more than Florreich). Faut was again an All-Star.

Faut was 15-7 with a 1.33 ERA in 1951 and only gave up 121 hits in 190 innings pitched. That year, her husband Karl became the South Bend manager. Faut hit .258/~.343/.326 at the plate. She tied for fifth in the league with two home runs. On the mound, she was third in ERA, tied for 7th in wins, led in strikeouts (135) and third with 7 shutouts. She threw her first perfect game, on July 21st against the Rockford Peaches and won her first Player of the Year award and made her third All-Star team in a row. In the playoffs, she finally was on a club that advanced; she won two 2-1 decisions in round one and drove in a run as well. In the finals, she won game three and then game 5 in 10-2 rout as South Bend claimed the title.

In 1952, Jean went 20-2 with a 0.93 ERA in her career year. She only walked 42 and allowed 111 hits in 184 innings. At the plate, she batted a solid .291/~.366/.343. She set the league record for single-season winning percentage, was 7th in batting average, led in ERA (.51 ahead of runner-up Gloria Cordes), tied Rose Gacioch for the win lead and led in strikeouts (23 ahead of Nancy Warren) to win the pitching Triple Crown. She lost Player of the Year honors, though, to Betty Foss, and even failed to make the All-Star team, amazingly enough. The fact that her husband managed the team created conflict between Faut and many of her teammates, some of whom refused to talk to their star hurler. South Bend was short-handed in the playoffs after several South Bend players walked off in support of Charlene Pryer when Winsch threw her out of the game. Faut won a game in the playoffs, a three-hit, one-run effort in which she fanned nine. In the finals, Faut was routed in game one, 7-3 by Rockford. She came back to win game two, 5-4, in relief. In game five, with the best-of-five series tied at two, Jean beat Rockford, 6-3, and drove in two runs as well. She was 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA in the playoffs, allowing over a hit per inning.

Jean went 17-11 with a 1.51 ERA in 1953, the highest ERA of her career (league offensive levels were increasing, though). She batted .275/~.373/.354 in 98 games. She tied for 9th in the league with 4 home runs, led in ERA for the fourth year in a row, tied Eleanor Moore for the win lead, tied Marie Mansfield for the strikeout lead (143), tied for third in complete games (24), was third in shutouts (5) and 7th in innings (226). On September 3rd, she threw a perfect game against the Kalamazoo Lassies, becoming the only pitcher in league history with two perfect games. She again was an All-Star and Player of the Year, joining Doris Sams as the only two-time winner of that honor.

Faut retired after the 1953 season, frustrated by the tension caused by her husband being the team's manager.

Overall, Faut had gone 140-64 with a 1.23 ERA in the regular season, allowing 1,093 hits in 1,780 innings. In the postseason, she went 9-7 with a 1.43 ERA and 87 hits allowed in 170 innings.

(In progress - playoff record still to come)

In 1957, she had her second child. She became a competitive bowler after her baseball career ended. Divorced in 1968, she married again in 1977, to Charles Eastman. She took up golf and would participate in bowling and golf tournaments for a couple of decades.

Sources: The AAGPBL Record Book by W.C. Madden, Jean Faut: South Bend's All-American All-Star Pitcher, by Jim Sargent

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