Preacher Roe

Roe was TSN Pitcher of the Year in 1951 when he went 22-3 with Brooklyn for an .880 winning percentage – a record for NL pitchers with more than 20 wins. From 1951 through 1953, he went 44-8 for the Dodgers. The hillbilly raconteur said, “I got three pitches: my change; my change off my change; and my change off my change off my change.” But after he retired, he sent the baseball world into a tizzy by admitting to having a fourth pitch in a 1955 Sports Illustrated article, “The Outlawed Spitball Was My Money Pitch.”

Roe was the NL’s strikeout leader in 1945, when he went 14-13 (2.87) for Pittsburgh. He suffered a fractured skull in a fight in ’45 while coaching a basketball game and dropped to 3-8 and 4-15 before being traded to Brooklyn in December of 1947. In 1949, his record was 15-6; his .714 winning percentage was the league’s best. He shut out the Yankees 1-0 for the Dodgers’ only win in the ’49 World Series. In the 1952 Series, he hurled a complete-game, 5-3 win over New York in Game Three. In his final WS showdown with the Yankees, Game Two in 1953, he gave up a tie-breaking, eighth-inning homer to Mickey Mantle to lose, 4-2.