Loes in about 1953.
December 13, 1929|
Long Island City, New York
|Died: July 15, 2010
|May 18, 1950, for the Brooklyn Dodgers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 14, 1961, for the San Francisco Giants|
|Earned run average||3.89|
|Career highlights and awards|
William Loes (December 13, 1929 – July 15, 2010) was an American right-handed pitcher who spent eleven seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Brooklyn Dodgers (1950, 1952–1956), Baltimore Orioles (1956–1959) and San Francisco Giants (1960–1961). He appeared in three World Series with the Dodgers, including the only one won by the franchise when it was based in Brooklyn in 1955.
The book Carl Erskine's Tales from the Dodgers Dugout: Extra Innings (2004) includes short stories from former Dodger pitcher and teammate Carl Erskine. Loes is prominent in many of these stories.
Among Major League Baseball's video archives is a television broadcast of the sixth game of the 1952 World Series, of which Loes was one of the starting pitchers. During the game, announcer Red Barber states that Loes was the son of Greek immigrants who had changed his last name. Further, says Barber, Loes would not tell Barber what his original last name was because, according to Loes, Barber would be unable to pronounce, spell or remember that name.
Loes distinguished himself in several ways in the 1952 World Series. When asked how the Dodgers would fare, he predicted the Yankees would win in seven, but was misquoted as saying the Yankees would win in six. During the sixth game, he became the first pitcher in World Series history to commit a balk. In the seventh inning, he was starting his windup when the ball dropped from his hand. "Too much spit on it," he said later. Then a grounder hit by Yankee pitcher Vic Raschi bounced off his leg for a single, allowing a run to score. Afterward, he said he lost the ground ball in the sun.
Loes holds a unique distinction, having witnessed, as a player involved in the game, four players hitting four home runs in a game. When Brooklyn's Gil Hodges hit four home runs in a game in 1950 he had just been called up to the Dodgers; when the Braves' Joe Adcock hit four against Brooklyn in 1954, Loes was still with the Dodgers; when Cleveland's Rocky Colavito hit four against Baltimore in 1959, Loes was with the Orioles; and when Willie Mays hit four home runs in 1961 against the Braves, Loes was a teammate on the Giants.
Loes also famously said that he didn't want to be a 20-game winner, "because then I'd be expected to do it every year." His career high in wins came in 1953, when he went 14–8 for the pennant-winning Dodgers.
- Breslin, Jimmy, Can't Anybody Here Play This Game? (The Viking Press, 1963), p. 43
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Baseball Almanac - Player page
- Goldstein, Richard. "Billy Loes, Quirky Pitcher for Dodgers, Dies at 80," The New York Times, Wednesday, July 28, 2010.
- Madden, Bill. "Anecdotes abound of late, eccentric Brooklyn Dodgers righty Billy Loes, who passed away in July," Daily News (New York), Sunday, August 1, 2010.