BRYAN, Ohio – Ned Garver, one of the top pitchers in the American League in the 1950s, died here at his home Sunday night at the age of 91.
Garver won 129 games in a major-league career that spanned from 1948-61.
In 1951, he put together what many pundits believe to be the greatest overall season in baseball history.
That season, Garver won 20 games for a woeful St. Louis Browns team that went 52-102 overall, and he also batted .305.
He remains the only pitcher in the modern era of baseball history to win 20 games for a team which lost 100 or more in the same season.
Garver was the starting pitcher for the American League in the 1951 All-Star Game held in Detroit.
Garver visited Urbana frequently – he signed autographs at the 2003 Champaign County Fair, participated in a baseball forum at Urbana University the same year and held a free pitching clinic at the Champaign Family YMCA in 2004.
“Baseball lost one of its finest men,” said former Cleveland Indians’ catcher Hal Naragon on Monday. “Ned was a true gentleman.”
“Ned was a great teammate and mentor to me,” said Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning, who was a teammate of Garver’s with the Detroit Tigers in 1955-56.
Garver played with the St. Louis Browns from 1948-52, the Tigers from 1952-56, the Kansas City A’s from 1957-60 and the Los Angeles Angels in 1961.
“When Ned walked to the mound, you knew that he was going to pitch his best to win the game,” said former outfielder Roy Sievers, who was named the A.L. Rookie of the Year with the Browns in 1949. “You could count on him to do his best.”
Reach Steve Stout at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @udcstout