” Joe Wood was one of the best pitchers I faced over my entire career.” Ty Cobb

There is an axiom in baseball that is as old as the game itself and it is a simple one; great pitching will beat great hitting.” It is a mantra which continues to be uttered and that is simply because it is true. It was true then and it is true today, so it is then apropos that the first player of the 1912 Red Sox we meet, after the manager, is non other than “Smokey” Joe Wood, the ace of the 1912 staff!

Wood first joined the Red Sox as an 18-year-old in 1908 and by the time he was 21 he was the top pitcher on the Red Sox pitching staff. He won 23 games in 1911, the only starter with a winning record, and as it turned out that was but a prelude to brilliance, for brilliant is what Wood was in 1912.

First the simplicity of the numbers; he was 34-5 with a 1.91 ERA! Ponder that for a second, 34-5 with a 1.91 ERA!

Now let’s fill in a few more blanks, his winning percentage was .872. That is the highest winning percentage in history for a pitcher with the most amount of wins in a season and it is the sixth highest win total in the modern era (Since 1901). Since the inception of the American League in 1901, only fourteen pitchers have won 30+ games and they have done it 19 times, none with the complete dominance of Joe Wood in 1912. He led the league with 10 shutouts, only 28 pitchers have thrown 10 or more shutouts in a season. He completed 35 of his 38 starts, to lead the league and he made five relief appearances. He was 3-1 in the 1912 World Series including a win in relief in the championship game.

 

A shoulder injury derailed what would have been a hall of fame career, however despite that he still managed a 117-56 record in eight seasons with the Red Sox. He was purchased by the Indians in the winter of 1917 and when he simply could not pitch anymore, he converted to the outfield and enjoyed five successful seasons there. His best coming in 1922 when he hit .297 with eight home runs and 92 RBI.

 

Red Sox pitcher Bill Monbouquette and “Smokey” Joe share a moment in the Red Sox dugout at Fenway Park in 1962. The Red Sox celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1912 World Championship team. 

The most votes for the Hall of Fame Wood received was 18% in 1946. Although Cooperstown has eluded him, there are those who maintain that when he was healthy, there was nobody better, not Christy Mathewson, not Cy Young, not even Walter Johnson. He was a charter member of the Red Sox hall of fame, elected in 1995.

 One thing is certain; in 1912 “Smokey” Joe Wood had the greatest season any Red Sox pitcher ever experienced, it was true then and it’s true today…..100 years later!

          And so it was at this time in Fenway Park history, the winter of 1911.

 

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About fenwaypark100

Hello and welcome, my name is Raymond Sinibaldi. An educator for more than two decades, a baseball fan for nearly 60 years, I have authored four books about baseball and her glorious history; with a fifth on the way in late spring of 2015; the first, The Babe in Red Stockings which was co-authored with Kerry Keene and David Hickey. It is a chronicle of Babe's days with the Red Sox. We also penned a screenplay about Babe's Red Sox days so if any of you are Hollywood inclined or would like to represent us in forwarding that effort feel free to contact me through my email. In 2012 we three amigos published Images of Fenway Park in honor of the 100th birthday of Fenway Park. That led to the creation of this blog. The following year, 2013 came my first solo venture, Spring Training in Bradenton and Sarasota. This is a pictorial history of spring training in those two Florida cities. The spring of 2014 brought forth the 1967 Red Sox, The Impossible Dream Season. The title speaks for itself and it also is a pictorial history. Many of the photos in this book were never published before. The spring of 2015 will bring 1975 Red Sox, American League Champions. Another pictorial effort, this will be about the Red Sox championship season of 1975 and the World Series that restored baseball in America. I was fortunate enough to consult with sculptor Franc Talarico on the “Jimmy Fund” statue of Ted Williams which stands outside both Fenway Park and Jet Blue Park Fenway South, in Fort Myers Florida. That story is contained in the near 300 posts which are contained herein. This blog has been dormant for awhile but 2015 will bring it back to life so jump on board, pass the word and feel free to contact me about anything you read or ideas you may have for a topic. Thanks for stopping by, poke around and enjoy. Autographed copies of all my books are available here, simply click on Raymond Sinibaldi and email me.
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2 Responses to ” Joe Wood was one of the best pitchers I faced over my entire career.” Ty Cobb

  1. Reblogged this on fenwaypark100 and commented:

    I would have loved to see this guy pitch…..

  2. Tom Marino says:

    Great article Ray!!! I wonder if he has any family left who could give us some information what he did in his life after baseball and where he is laid to rest. Certainly belongs in the HOF based on his rare numbers…

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