By Jim O’Neal
As baseball season gets under way, let’s look at pitchers who’ve been excellent sluggers.
Cleveland Indians pitcher Wes Ferrell holds the Major League season record for most HR by a pitcher … nine in 1931. Ferrell also holds the career record with 38 (one as a pinch hitter).
Don Drysdale led the NL twice with seven HR in 1958 and 1968 with the L.A. Dodgers. Teammate Don Newcombe also hit seven in 1955. However, Warren Spahn has the NL career record with 37.
Jim Tobin, a pitcher for the Boston Braves, hit three HR in one game in 1942 against the Cubs.
Rick Wise is the only pitcher to pitch a no-hitter and hit two HR in one game, June 23, 1971. (He also played in both the Little League and Major League World Series.)
Pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm hit a home run in his first Major League at bat on April 18, 1952 … but never hit another one in a career that spanned 21 years and 1,070 games. (He was the first relief pitcher to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.)
Dave McNally is the only pitcher in Major League history to hit a grand slam in the World Series … game three in 1970. The bat and ball are in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Intelligent Collector blogger JIM O’NEAL is an avid collector and history buff. He is President and CEO of Frito-Lay International [retired] and earlier served as Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo Restaurants International [KFC Pizza Hut and Taco Bell].