Red Sox: Former pitchers that failed to live up to expectations

Oct 10, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz (11) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cleveland Indians during game three of the 2016 ALDS playoff baseball series at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 10, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz (11) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cleveland Indians during game three of the 2016 ALDS playoff baseball series at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /
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Oct 2, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Members of the 2004 2007 an 2013 World Series team as well as current players lineup for the national anthem prior to a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 2, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Members of the 2004 2007 an 2013 World Series team as well as current players lineup for the national anthem prior to a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

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.