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Billy Pierce
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Baseball Player
    (April 2, 1927-July 31, 2015)
    Born in Detroit, Michigan
    Birth name was Walter William Pierce
    Pitcher for the Detroit Tigers (1945,1948), Chicago White Sox (1949-61) and San Francisco Giants (1962-64)
    211 wins, 169 losses
    3.27 career ERA
    1,999 strikeouts
    Seven-time All-Star (1953,1955-59,1961)
    #19 retired by the White Sox
    He had early control problems, recording more walks than strikeouts his first three full seasons.
    In a poll of Chicago sportswriters, he was named the most nervous player on the field (1957).
    He was one out away from becoming the first left-hander since the 19th century to pitch a perfect game when he gave up a double to Ed FitzGerald (June 21, 1958).
    During five years on the Hall of Fame ballot (1970-74), he never got more than 2% of the vote.
    He was left handed.
    He was married to Gloria McCreadle for 65 years.
    Joe DiMaggio said, 'That little so-and-so is a marvel. So little – and all that speed.... He got me out of there on a fastball in the ninth that I'd have needed a telescope to see.'
    He recorded the best single-season ERA of the 1950s (1.97 in 1955).
    He had a memorable rivalry with Yankee Whitey Ford, with one sportswriter noting, 'The primary difference between Pierce and Ford, in their long-standing duel for southpaw supremacy in the American League, is that Pierce is pitching for a woefully weak hitting team, while Ford is backed by the league's most powerful offensive machine.'
    He racked up fewer victories than he was capable of since White Sox manager Paul Richards held him back in the rotation to face the AL's powerhouses, the Yankees and the Indians.
    He headed Chicago Baseball Cancer Charities.

Credit: C. Fishel

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