Hall Of Famer Early Wynn turned every ballgame he pitched in into a personal war. Talented, mean spirited and nasty on
the mound, he never yielded an inch to any hitter he faced. Pitching 23 seasons and winning 300 games for Washington, Cleveland and the White Sox, he was a five time 20-game winner, leading the AL in innings pitched three times. He also won a Cy Young award in '59 at age 39, posting a 22-10 record while leading the "Go Go" Sox to the pennant.
"Gus," short for "Gloomy Gus", used pure aggressiveness
combined with a hatred for every batter, to become one of the most feared hurlers of all-time! He established himself against opposing hitters with inside fastballs and an assortment of breaking pitches. His dubious reputation as a "headhunter" preceded him off the field too!
Ted Williams once refused Early's invitation to go fishing in the Everglades! (Williams was a World Champion Fly Fisherman who never turned down an opportunity to relax with his rod and reel!) Wynn said, "Admit it Ted! You're afraid to go into the Everglades with me." Williams replied, "No hitter ever would go into the Everglades with a pitcher like you. His body might never be found."
But it was Mickey Mantle who probably summed Wynn up best when he said, "Early is so mean he'd knock you down in the fucking dugout." Wynn was a good hitter too! He compiled a .214 batting average with 17 homers and 173 RBI. He also pinch-hit 90 times in his career, and is one of only five pitchers to slam a pinch-hit grand slam!
Wynn, who once said that he would hit his own mother, "depending on how she was hitting" could take it as well as dish it out! During a game in 1956, he was hit in the jaw by a line drive off the bat of Jose Valdivielso. Wynn refused to come out of the
game right away. When he finally did leave the field, he needed 16 stitches and lost seven lower teeth.
Early, who mellowed after he retired, later
became a pitching coach
with the Indians and Twins and a manager in the Twins' farm system. After retiring from coaching, Wynn became a broadcaster for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Chicago White Sox. He was named to the Hall of Fame in 1972 and died from complications relating to a stroke on April 4th, 1999 at the age of 79.