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Addie Joss

Position: Pitcher
Cleveland Blues (Naps) 1902-1910

Addie Joss's career winning percentage of .623 is the highest of any pitcher involved in 200 or more decisions who was never on a pennant winner. He also had the shortest career of any player in the Hall of Fame. Joss played only nine seasons, all with Cleveland.

Since a minimum of 10 years as an active player is required for enshrinement in Cooperstown, Addie was denied entry until 1978 when the Veterans Committee made a special exception in his case.

Hall of Famer Addie Joss
Addie Joss was so dominant in his nine years of pro ball that an exception
to the 10-year rule was made for him to enter the Hall of Fame.

Adrian Joss (1880-1911) grew up in Juneau, Wisconsin. In 1900, while playing semipro ball and attending the University of Wisconsin, he was signed by former National League outfielder Bob Gilks, then a player-manager for Toledo in the Inter-State League. Joss won 19 games in 1900, and after notching 25 victories for Toledo in 1901, Addie was purchased by Cleveland.

In his rookie year with Cleveland, Joss led the American League in shutouts with five. Two years later, his 1.59 ERA paced the loop. In 1908, Joss was again the hardest pitcher in the AL to score against as he posted a 1.16 ERA.

Indeed, except for his first seasons, Joss always contrived to keep his ERA remarkably low even for the dead-ball era. As a result, his career ERA of 1.88 is second on the all-time list. Joss was, moreover, the most difficult pitcher in history to reach base against. Parsimonious with walks and nearly unhittable when he was on his game, he allowed a record-low 8.73 baserunners per nine innings, excluding errors.

Joss began to peak in 1905. In each of the next four seasons he won 20 or more games. His high mark came in 1907 when he collected 27 victories to pace the AL, but his greatest day in baseball occurred the following year.

On October 2, 1908, with a possible pennant hanging in the balance, Joss dueled Big Ed Walsh of the White Sox. When Walsh allowed a run on a wild pitch, that was all Addie needed. He shut the White Sox down cold without a single baserunner and thus registered only the fourth perfect game in major-league history.

Arm and elbow trouble plagued Joss in 1909 and 1910. Seemingly on the comeback trail during spring training in 1911, Joss fainted on the field in an exhibition contest in April. He shrugged the incident off initially. Within a week, however, Joss was hospitalized with tubercular meningitis, and on April 14, 1911, he died. His funeral was held on what would have been Opening Day, but his Cleveland teammates refused en masse to play the game in order to attend.

Here are Addie Joss' major league totals:

160 97 1.88 286 234 2,336.0 1,895 489 370 926

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