Boston Red Sox: Best pitchers who could hit in franchise history
Red Sox – Catcher
No pitcher hit home runs at a greater rate than Earl Wilson, a converted catcher who eventually had a 20-win season with the Tigers. The right-handed Wilson had the physical appearance of a linebacker and would simply murder the ball. I actually attended a game in which Wilson tossed a no-hitter and slammed a home run. And the home run was Wilson’s calling card leading all pitchers in that category four times in his 11-year career.
Wilson for his career hit 35 home runs as a pitcher and did it in just 740 at-bats – best ratio. A case could be made for Jack Harshman who hit 19 in 384 at-bats but to put it in perspective it took career leader Ferrell (38) 1128 at-bats and Ruth 490 at-bats to bag 15 home runs. Wilson would put on quite a show in batting practice, but there is a downside. Wilson hit just .195 for his career.
As a pitcher, Wilson had a losing record with the Red Sox (56-58) but that comes with the caveat that the Red Sox teams Wilson was stuck with did little. After the Red Sox finished ninth in 1966 they traded Wilson to the Tigers where he tied Jim Lonborg for the league lead in wins with 22 in 1967. The trade may have been spurred on by a racial incident that happened in spring training of 1966 in which Wilson was told by management to ignore.
In 1968, the hard-throwing Wilson slipped to 13-12 and lost his only start in the World Series. After two more seasons, Wilson retired and with it a legacy of being remembered for both his pitching and hitting.