On April 22, 1952, Hoyt Wilhelm won his first major league game as a relief pitcher. This alone is worthy of our selection for Autograph of the Week as Wilhelm would later become the first relief pitched inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
However, the reason Baseball Almanac has chosen this legend is because on that same date Wilhelm hit his first AND LAST major league home run at the Polo Grounds in his first major league at-bat! Wilhelm would have a 21-year big-league career, appear in more than one-thousand major league games, and never hit another home run.
4th Week of April Recipient
Topps Baseball Archive
Reprint of the 1954 Topps.
In Major League history approximately seventy plus players previously opened their career with a home run and Baseball Almanac has documented every one of them!
During his rookie season of 1952, Hoyt Wilhelm led the National League in winning percentage (.833) and earned run average (2.43) making him the first rookie pitcher to win an ERA Championship and the first rookie pitcher to lead a league in those two categories!