Garver in 1956.
|Born: December 25, 1925|
|Died: February 26, 2017 (aged 91)|
|April 28, 1948, for the St. Louis Browns|
|Last MLB appearance|
|June 4, 1961, for the Los Angeles Angels|
|Earned run average||3.73|
|Career highlights and awards|
Ned Franklin Garver (December 25, 1925 – February 26, 2017) was an American professional baseball pitcher who played in Major League Baseball from 1948 to 1961. Most of his career was spent playing for perennial second division teams such as the St. Louis Browns and the Kansas City Athletics.
Garver began his professional career at age 18 in 1944 with the Newark Moundsmen, St. Louis' affiliate to the Ohio State League. Garver pitched in 32 games for the team, going 21-8 with an ERA of 1.21, ultimately leading the Moundsmen to the Ohio State League's first championship since the league was put on hiatus during World War II. He led the team in ERA, games started, strikeouts, WHIP, and H/9.
In 1945, Garver was briefly promoted to the Browns' Single-A affiliate, the Elmira Pioneers of the Eastern League, before being promoted again to the Double-A Toledo Mud Hens of the American Association. In Toledo, he served as both a starting pitcher and a reliever, starting in 15 games while making relief appearances in 16. He went 5-8 with an ERA of 4.64 and a WHIP of 1.712.
Garver was sent to the San Antonio Missions, another Double-A team in the St. Louis Browns organization, in 1946 and he would stay there until the end of the 1947 season. During his two years in San Antonio, Garver went 25-22 with an ERA of 3.43.
Garver was called up to St. Louis in 1948, where he would play his first Major League game against the Detroit Tigers on April 28. In 1950, Garver led the American League with 22 complete games and finishing 2nd with a 3.39 earned run average. Despite this performance, his record was 13-18 with the 58-96 Browns.
In 1951, Garver had a memorable season pitching for the St. Louis Browns. He compiled a 20-12 record which was noteworthy considering the Browns lost 102 games that year. Garver also posted a 3.73 ERA that season. Out of the Browns' 52 total wins, Garver accounted for nearly 40 percent of them. Garver also led the American League in complete games with 24 and, when he pitched, he often batted sixth in the order rather than the customary ninth, compiling a .305 batting average with one home run. He was also used as a pinch hitter and pinch runner. Garver was the named the starting pitcher for the American League in the 1951 All-Star Game, his only All-Star appearance.
Garver is one of only two modern era pitchers (post-1900) to win 20 or more games for a team which lost 100 or more games in the same season, and is the last to do so and the only one to do it with a winning record.[note 1] Garver was the winning pitcher in 38% of the Browns' victories; their record when he did not get the decision was 32–90, .262. He led the American League in complete games that year (he had also done so in 1950). After the season, Garver found himself in a three-way tie for first place Most Valuable Player Award votes with Yankees Yogi Berra and Allie Reynolds, though the tally of votes further down the ballots meant that Berra won the award.
Following the 1951 season, Browns owner Bill Veeck made Garver the highest paid member of the team with a salary of $25,000. Baseball Hall of Fame member Ted Williams said of Garver, "He could throw anything up there and get me out." In actuality, though, Williams' batting average off Garver was .419, with a .767 slugging percentage.
In 1996, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative postmark in his honor in his hometown of Ney, Ohio, to mark the 45th anniversary of his 20-win season. On September 30, 1951, he was sent a plaque by the Commissioner of Baseball to commemorate the 20th victory, September 30, 1951.
- Richard Goldstein (February 28, 2017). "Ned Garver, 20-Game Winner for the 102-Loss Browns, Dies at 91". New York Times. Retrieved March 4, 2017.
- Clavin, Tom; Peary, Danny (2010). Roger Maris: Baseball's Reluctant Hero. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 105. ISBN 978-1-4165-8928-0.
- Ben Lindbergh, Sam Miller, and Ned Garver (September 10, 2015). "BP Daily Podcast − Effectively Wild Episode 722: Cold-Calling Ned Garver". Baseball Prospectus. Retrieved March 4, 2017.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) (audio)
- Ron Clements (February 28, 2017). "Ned Garver dead at 91; longtime MLB pitcher won 20 games for 52-win team". The Sporting News. Retrieved March 4, 2017.
- "Baseball-Reference:Ted Williams vs. Ned Garver" https://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/batter_vs_pitcher.cgi?batter=willite01&pitcher=garvene01
- Oberlin Turnbull Funeral Home and Crematory. (February 27, 2017). "Ned Garver Obituary". Retrieved April 28, 2018.
- Frank Jackson (March 13, 2017). "Against All Odds: Ned Garver and the '51 Browns". Fan Graphs. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
- "Ned F. Garver (obituary)". Bryan [Ohio] Times. February 28, 2017. Retrieved March 4, 2017.