Jun 3, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Practice balls in a bin prior to game one of a doubleheader between the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Sixth Place – Don Schwall
ROY Totals: 15-7, 178.2 IP, 167 H, 110 BB, 91 K, 3.22 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, WAR 2.5
Career Totals: Seven seasons, 49-48, 743 IP, 710 H, 391 BB, 408 K, 3.72 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, WAR 6.3
1961 was a transition year for the Red Sox since one player was missing who was an institution – Ted Williams. But a replacement was ready to rock & roll in 21-year-old Carl Yastrzemski. Unfortunately, the HOF career got off to a wretched start with a .266 average.
Another rookie, 23-year old second baseman named Chuck Schilling surprised with some respectable hitting (.259) and some decent defense for the sixth place (76-86) Red Sox. The real surprise became Schwall who finished his inaugural season at 15-7.
Schwall, a former All-Big Eight basketball star at the University of Oklahoma, had earned his promotion with an excellent performance (16-9, 3.59) for Minneapolis Millers of the American Association. For the younger fans, Schwall was physically very similar to the John Lackey we all saw in 2013-14 – a tall right-hander with a great sinker ball. In fact, Schwall had the lowest HR/9 rate in the AL at 0.4. That was a career trademark as he finished with a 0.6 HR/9.
One season does not a career make and 1962 was a reversal of fortune as the record sank to 9-15. The real warning sign in his All-Star season of 1961 was 110 walks and a 5.5 BB/9 rate. In 1962, that total jumped to 6.0 and Schwall was traded.
The next five years saw Schwall work as both a starter and out of the bullpen with some mixed results before fading out of MLB in 1967.