Autograph Of The Week: Pete Gray

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.

"It was at the Polo Grounds and I didn't have to hit it (his first & last career home run) too far. It was only about 250 feet down the lines." - Hoyt Wilhelm
Autograph of the Week

4th Week of April Recipient

Hoyt Wilhelm Autograph

Card
Topps Baseball Archive

Card Number
36

Pen
Black Fine

Notes
Reprint of the 1954 Topps.



During interviews Hoyt Wilhelm would often comment about his home run saying, "I tell people that that year I was ahead of Babe Ruth for one day. Then I had a long dry spell."

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!

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