Ted Wilks

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Theodore Wilks

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Biographical Information[edit]

5' 9" right-hander Ted Wilks was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as an amateur free agent before the 1938 season. The twenty-two-year-old pitcher spent his first year with both the Houston Buffaloes of the Texas League and the Rochester Red Wings of the International League, building a 7-7 record in 38 appearances with a 3.39 ERA. Wilks spent six seasons in the high minors before joining the Cardinals' mound staff, which had been depleted by World War II call-ups, in 1944.

The 28-year-old rookie, who was classified 4-F because of stomach ulcers, was a key factor in the team's winning a third straight National League pennant in 1944. In his role as a part-time starter and reliever, he had an eleven-game winning streak and finished with a record of 17-4, including four shutouts and an ERA of 2.65. Wilks was the starter and the 6-2 loser in Game 3 of the 1944 World Series to the St. Louis Browns, but entered Game 6 in relief of starter Max Lanier with one out in the 6th inning and retired eleven in a row in preserving the 3-1 Series clincher.

Wilks, who was undefeated at 8-0 for the 1946 World Series Champions, also won all four of his decisions in 1947 to finish the two-year stretch at 12-0 in 77 appearances. He continued to work effectively out of the Cardinals' bullpen in 1949 with a 10-3 record while leading the National League in both games (59) and saves (9). Traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1951, he again led the NL with both 65 appearances and 13 saves.

Wilks who was last with the Cleveland Indians in 1953, closed out his ten-year (1944-1953) major league run with an impressive 59-30 record and 46 saves with a 3.26 ERA. Ted had also spent ten active seasons in the minor leagues, posting a 91-65 record and a 2.70 ERA.

After his playing career ended, Wilks spent time as a coach for the Cleveland Indians (1960) and Kansas City Athletics (1961). He was later a court bailiff in Houston, TX, where he died August 21, 1989, at age 73.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2-time NL Winning Percentage Leader (1944 & 1949)
  • 2-time NL Games Pitched Leader (1949 & 1951)
  • 2-time NL Saves Leader (1949 & 1951)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (1944)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (1944)
  • Won two World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals (1944 & 1946)


Baseball Players of the 1950s

Related Sites[edit]