Waite Hoyt (Waite Charles Hoyt)

Waite Hoyt

Waite Hoyt was born in Brooklyn, New York to Addison and Louise Benedum Hoyt and attended Erasmus Hall High School. Despite being a Dodgers fan, he was signed to a professional contract by New York Giants manager John McGraw when he was but 15. Because of his extreme youth, he was immediately nicknamed “The Schoolboy Wonder”. After a brief stint with the Giants, McGraw sent Hoyt to the minors for refinement and experience. Waite Hoyt soon returned to the majors, this time with the Boston Red Sox. His performance there attracted the attention of the Yankees, who acquired him in 1920. In his first season as a Yankee, he won 19 games and pitched three complete games in the World Series without allowing an earned run — over his career, he would win six American League pennants with the Yankees and one with the Philadelphia Athletics. In his finest years with the Yankees, 1927 and 1928, Hoyt would post records of 22 wins and 7 losses with a 2.64 ERA and 23 wins and 7 losses with a 3.36 ERA. During his 21-year career, he won 10 or more games 12 times, 11 of them consecutively. Hoyt pitched for eight years after leaving the Yankees in 1930, but did not consistently display similar levels of pitching dominance.

Waite Hoyt finished his career with a win-loss record of 237–182 and an ERA of 3.59. By the time he retired in 1938, he had pitched the most victories in World Series history (his World Series record with the Yankees and A’s was 6-4). In addition to the “Schoolboy” moniker appearing on his Hall of Fame plaque, Hoyt was also known as “The Merry Mortician”, for when he was not playing baseball, he spent days working as a funeral director and nights appearing on vaudeville. As a vaudevillian, he appeared with many of the most well-known performers of the day, including Jack Benny, Jimmy Durante, George Burns, and others. He kept in shape during the off-season by playing semi-pro basketball. He added to his repertoire by becoming an accomplished painter and writer. On August 16, 1948, Hoyt paid tribute to Babe Ruth, speaking on the air without notes for two hours upon learning of his death after a game. He was well known as the pre-eminent authority on Babe Ruth, who for nearly 10 years was his teammate and in Ruth’s small inner-circle of friends. Robert Creamer, author of the definitive Ruth biography Babe, indicated in that book’s introduction that the novella-length memoir written by Hoyt shortly after Ruth’s death was “by far the most revealing and rewarding work on Ruth.” A longtime member of Alcoholics Anonymous, during the 1978 Old-Timers’ Day game, Waite Hoyt said wistfully that he would have won 300 games if he had stopped drinking during his playing days. After joining A.A., he remained sober for more than 40 years. The aging Waite Hoyt died of heart failure while preparing for what he realized would be his final visit to the Hall of Fame, in Cooperstown, New York. Hoyt is interred in Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati.

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Born

  • September, 09, 1899
  • USA
  • New York, New York

Died

  • August, 25, 1984
  • USA
  • Cincinnati, Ohio

Cause of Death

  • heart failure

Cemetery

  • Spring Grove Cemetery
  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • USA

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