2017-03-01 00:09:02 UTC
Ned Garver dead at 91; longtime MLB pitcher won 20 games for 52-win team
By Ron Clements Omnisport @Ron_Clements
Updated at 4:48 p.m. ET
Ned Garver, who won 129 games over a 14-year MLB career, died Sunday at the age of 91, his son confirmed to The New York Times.
Garver was an All-Star in 1951 and is best known for winning 20 games that season while playing for a St. Louis Browns team that went 52-102.
Garver is one of only two pitchers in MLB history to win at least 20 games for a team that lost 100 or more games in the same season. He even batted .305 in 108 at-bats that season, hitting a home run and a triple. Garver finished second in American League MVP voting to Yogi Berra.
Garver started the 1951 All-Star Game in Detroit and, after the season, Browns owner Bill Veeck rewarded him with a new contract that made him the highest-paid player on the team. His annual salary was $25,000.
Garver led the AL with 22 complete games in 1950 and posted a league-high 24 complete games a year later.
His 20-win season in 1951 was commemorated by both a special-issue postmark from the U.S. postal service in 1996, on the 45th anniversary of the season, and a plaque issued in 1951 by then-MLB commissioner Ford Frick.
Former Boston Red Sox great Ted Williams once said of Garver, “He could throw anything up there and get me out.”
A native of Ney, Ohio, Garver played for four teams, compiling a 129-157 record and an ERA of 3.73. Outside of his 20-12 record in 1951, he posted only two winning seasons — going 14-11 for the Detroit Tigers in 1954 and 12-11 for the Kansas City Athletics in 1958. In 330 career starts, Garver posted 153 complete games and 18 shutouts. He finished 40 other games out of the bullpen and had 12 career saves.
Garver, who pitched every game as a high school senior while leading his team to the state tournament, had a remarkably durable arm. From 1950-52, he had a stretch of 49 starts that included 42 complete games.
Garver grew up on a horse farm and returned to farming in Ney once his playing days were over. He and his wife of 52 years, the former Dorothy Sims, had three children. After Dorothy died of leukemia in 1995, Garver married Dolores Hart in 2001.