Red Sox: Former pitchers that failed to live up to expectations
By Rick McNair
The surprise of the 1961 season was not Carl Yastrzemski, but a towering (6’6”) right-handed hurler named Don Schwall. Yaz was supposed to be the favorite for Rookie of the Year, but it was Schwall going 15-7 that took the award.
The record may have impressed, but digging deeper you see the significant flaw in Schwall’s pitching – 110 walks and 91 strikeouts in 178.2 innings pitched. The positive was an HR/9 of 0.4 that was the lowest in the league. After 1961 Schwall never got the magic back and never won as many as ten games. Schwall only played two seasons with Boston, but 1961 was certainly a memorable one.
The key to Schwall was always his inability to consistently find the plate. A career BB/9 4.7 is a death knell for pitchers. For Schwall, it never really improved. What is notable is the Red Sox staff in 1962 as one of the biggest you can find in baseball history. Dick Radatz, Schwall, Gene Conley and Earl Wilson looked like a defensive line or, in the case of Conley, a backup center for a championship Celtics team.