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Hoyt Wilhelm Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

HOYT WILHELM
Born: July 26, 1922 in Huntersville, North Carolina
Died: August 23, 2002 in Sarasota, Florida
Biography | show moreshow less
Full name James Hoyt Wilhelm
Born July 26, 1922, Huntersville, North Carolina
Died August 23, 2002, Sarasota, Florida
Buried at Palms Memorial Park, Sarasota, Florida (Field of Honor East 132-D1; 27.20.143N 82.27.858W)
First Game: April 18, 1952; Final Game: July 10, 1972
Bat: Right Throw: Right Height: 6' 0" Weight: 190

Selected to the Hall of Fame in 1985

HOYT WILHELM
This article was written by Mark Armour and is presented in part, courtesy of the Society for American Baseball Research
During the first half of Hoyt Wilhelm's major league career, the attention he received usually focused on his freak pitch-a knuckleball-which he likely threw better than any man in history. In the latter half of his career, he was equally renowned for his advanced age-he had become an "old" knuckleballer.

Wilhelm was called "Old Folks" when his career had more than a decade to run. Nearly every story written about Wilhelm in the 1960s speculated on how much longer he could get batters out. Could he throw the knuckleball until he was 42? How about 45? Wilhelm patiently gave variations of the same answer: "I am pitching as well as I ever have. I have never felt better. I see no reason why I can't pitch a few more years." Every July 26, his birthday, a cake would appear, and Hoyt would be asked again about how it felt to be 43, or 47. In his Carolina drawl, Wilhelm would bring the subject back to how he was pitching, how he was feeling.

When Wilhelm died in 2002, his death certificate revealed something unexpected. His birth date was discovered to have been July 26, 1922, one year earlier than had been presumed for his entire career. It is not uncommon for a baseball player to have lied about his birth date-in fact, it is somewhat of an honored tradition. It was nonetheless startling to discover that Hoyt Wilhelm, probably the most famous "old" player in history, was actually older than we had thought.

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