Pitcher Ferrell may join brother in Hall
Righty posted impressive numbers on mound, at plate
When it was all said and done, Wes Ferrell's great career as a right-handed pitcher and hitter couldn't help but bring up the question, "What if?"
What if he didn't spend his entire career pitching for teams that were not good enough to reach the postseason? And what if arm troubles didn't cut his career short at the age of 33?
Despite those questions, Ferrell was a standout player between 1927-41.
He retired with the seventh-highest winning percentage (.601) among pitchers with at least 300 American League decisions, played in two All-Star Games -- including the first, in 1933 -- threw a no-hitter on April 29, 1931, and sported a .280 lifetime batting average.
"Wes was a marvelous character," former teammate Billy Werber once said. "I've seen him, after being removed from a ballgame, hit himself in the jaw with both fists and nearly knock himself out, jump in the air and crunch the face out of an expensive watch, tear card deck after card deck to pieces because he wasn't getting good hands. He hated to lose, at anything.
"He was a very determined competitor -- the kind you like to have on your side."
Here's another question: Is he Hall of Fame-worthy?
That will be decided soon.
Ferrell will be considered for the Hall of Fame's Class of 2009 by the Veterans Committee. Any player receiving at least 75 percent of the vote from the Veterans Committee, which consists of the 64 living Hall of Famers, will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Results from the Veterans Committee vote will be revealed at 1 p.m. ET on MLB.com on Monday from baseball's Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.
The other members of the pre-1943 Veterans Committee final ballot are Joe Gordon, Sherry Magee, Carl Mays, Allie Reynolds, Vern Stephens, Mickey Vernon, Bucky Walters, Bill Dahlen and Deacon White.
While spending his 15-year career with the Indians (1927-33), Red Sox (1934-37), Washington Senators (1937-38), Yankees (1938-39), Brooklyn Dodgers (1940) and Boston Braves (1941), Ferrell compiled a 193-128 record with a 4.04 ERA in 374 games.
Known for his durability, Ferrell had eight seasons of 200-plus innings while topping the 300-inning plateau twice and leading the league three times. Ferrell also became the only 20th century pitcher to win at least 20 or more games in his first four full seasons. The Greensboro, N.C., native led his team in wins seven times and averaged 19 wins per year over 10 full seasons in the Major Leagues.
"His best ball, of course, is his fastball," columnist F.C. Lane wrote in Baseball Magazine in 1930. "But he also has a most serviceable curve, such a curve as many pitchers fail to acquire in years of patient practice. And young and inexperienced as he is, he has developed a baffling change of pace."
Ferrell -- whose brother, Rick, is a Hall of Fame catcher -- wasn't too bad at the plate, either.
The right-handed hitter set the record for home runs by a pitcher in a season (nine in 1931) and a career (38) while collecting 329 hits, 57 doubles, 12 triples, 208 RBIs, 175 runs, a .446 slugging percentage and a .341 on-base percentage.
Ferrell enjoyed his finest season with the Red Sox in 1935, when he finished second in the MVP voting after leading the AL in wins (25), innings pitched (322 1/3) and complete games (31) while hitting .347.
In 1976, Ferrell died in Sarasota, Fla., at age 68. In 1981, Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig recognized his talents when they included him in their book, "The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time."
Now Ferrell has one honor left to achieve.
Alden Gonzalez is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.