|Born: November 13, 1915|
Fulton, New York
|Died: August 21, 1989 (aged 73)|
|April 25, 1944, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 5, 1953, for the Cleveland Indians|
|Earned run average||3.26|
|Career highlights and awards|
Theodore Wilks (November 13, 1915 – August 21, 1989) was an American professional baseball player. Born in Fulton, New York, he was a right-handed pitcher who appeared in 385 games in Major League Baseball (MLB) over all or parts of ten seasons (1944–53) as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians. He was listed as 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m) tall and 178 pounds (81 kg).
For his MLB career, Wilks compiled a 59–30 record in his 385 appearances, 341 of them as a relief pitcher, with a 3.26 earned run average and 46 saves, 22 complete games and five shutouts. In 913 innings pitched, he allowed 832 hits and 283 bases on balls. He racked up 403 strikeouts. As a Cardinal, he was a member of two World Series championship teams, defeating the St. Louis Browns in 1944 and the Boston Red Sox in 1946. In World Series play, he compiled an 0–1 record in three appearances, with a 4.91 earned run average and seven strikeouts.
Stellar rookie season
Wilks was a 28-year-old rookie pitcher in 1944. He beat the Cincinnati Reds 3–0 on August 29, for his eleventh victory in a row. Wilks took a no-hitter into the eighth inning, prior to Frank McCormick hitting for a single. It was one of three Cincinnati hits. Wilks concluded the 1944 season with a 17–4 record and a 2.65 earned run average.
Following his impressive rookie season, Wilks encountered arm problems which limited his effectiveness. However, he became an important pitcher in the Cardinal bullpen in the post-World War II era and twice (1949; 1951) led the National League in saves, although the save was not yet an official MLB statistic. Loquacious Cardinal catcher Joe Garagiola nicknamed Wilks "The Cork" because he was the Redbirds' "stopper" out of the bullpen.
By the conclusion of the 1947 campaign, Wilks had compiled a fine career record of 33–11. After his pitching career ended, Wilks turned to coaching. He served in the farm systems of the Indians and the Milwaukee Braves, then spent two years coaching in the American League with the 1960 Indians and the 1961 Kansas City Athletics.
- List of Major League Baseball annual saves leaders
- List of Major League Baseball all-time saves leaders