Red Faber

Position: Pitcher
Team: Chicago White Sox, 1914-1933

When Red Faber posted his 254th and last victory in 1933, it was the next to last game won by an American League pitcher legally permitted to throw a spitball. Then 45 years old, Faber felt that he would still have been good for a few more years had it not been for a bum knee.

Urban Charles Faber (1888-1976) did all his pitching for the Chicago White Sox. Red joined the Pale Hose in 1914, still early enough in their history that he was on two pennant-winning teams. Faber won three games for the Sox in the 1917 World Series and was the main reason they garnered their second world championship that fall.

Red Faber is one of the few pitchers in big-league history to win back-to-back ERA crowns.
Red Faber is one of the few pitchers in
big-league history to win back-to-back
ERA crowns.

In 1919, when the Sox again claimed the American League title, they were so heavily favored over the Reds in the World Series that little concern was felt in Chicago when it was announced that an ankle injury would force Faber to miss the occasion.

In retrospect, though, Faber’s disablement may have changed the course of baseball history. Had Red been healthy enough to take his regular turn on the mound, there might well have never been a Black Sox scandal. Faber in 1919 was just reaching his peak and would win 20 or more games in each of the next three seasons.

Unfortunately for Red, though, after the scandal broke in 1920 he never again pitched in a game of much importance. A steady first-division team and a frequent contender during the first 20 American League seasons, the White Sox never finished higher than fifth in Faber’s remaining 13 years with them.

Nicknamed Red because of the flaming color of his hair in his youth, Faber was a mature 26 years old when he reached the majors in 1914. However, he had already left an impression on certain big-league hitters.

The previous fall, after being purchased from Des Moines of the Western League, Faber had been loaned by the White Sox to the New York Giants when Christy Mathewson backed out a few days before the two teams were slated to set off on a world tour.

Faber thus began his major-league career by doing battle against the only team for which he would ever pitch in official competition. By the end of the tour, Giants manager John McGraw was so enamored of Red that he offered White Sox owner Charlie Comiskey $50,000 for him, but Comiskey too had seen enough by then to know he had a gem. Faber was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1964.

Here are Red Faber's major league totals:

254 213 3.15669 274 4,087.24,1061,4301,2131,471

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