Introducing… Freddie Fitzsimmons

Nicknamed Fat Freddie because of his portly appearance, Fitzsimmons was one of the better pitchers during the bust ’em era of the 1930s.  Not many pitchers had the stuff to succeed during the rampant scoring era that Fat Freddie played, but the Giants star excelled nonetheless.  He was a two-time winning percentage champ and won a World Series with the Giants in 1933.

Fitzsimmons joined the Giants in 1925 and posted a terrific 2.64 ERA for New York as a rookie.  His ERA rose slightly to 2.88 the following year, but this was when batting was red-hot and pitching had fallen since the collapse of the Deadball Era.  Astronomical ERAs were the norm when Fat Freddie pitched, but he always kept his trim–unlike his waistband. 

Fitzy went 17-10 in 1927 before enjoying his 20-win season of 1928.  Able to blank the opposition with semi-regularity, Freddie finished second in the NL in the shutout department in 1929.  He went 19-7 in 1930 with an NL best .731 winning percentage for John McGraw’s Giants.  McGraw coaxed a fine season out of Fat Freddie in ’31 when he finished with an 18-11 record and 254 innings of work (4th best in the NL). 

The Giants won the World Series in 1933 under new skipper Bill Terry as Fitz went 16-11 for the Giants during the regular season.  After an 18-win season in 1934, Freddie was limited by injury in the ’35 campaign, but despite his time on the shelf, he was able to tie for the league lead in shutouts.  He had pitched over 200 innings every year since his rookie campaign, but after his injury shortened season of ’35, he lost his innings-eating ability and the Giants traded him to Brooklyn during the 1937 season.

In 1938, his first full season with the Dodgers, Freddie led Brooklyn in ERA.  Sharp as a carpet tack in 1940, the robust pitcher went 16-2, good for an NL best .889 winning percentage.  The big man had near perfect accuracy that season as he averaged just 0.187 walks per inning.  As a 39-year-old in 1941, Fitzy posted a brilliant 2.07 ERA to help the Dodgers reach the World Series.  In his last Fall Classic appearance, Fat Freddie made one start and kept the Yankees scoreless through seven frames, but got a no decision.  He ended his playing days in 1943 when he took the managerial job of the lowly Phillies.  He carried them through the war years.

THE NUMBERS

W 217/L 146/PCT .598/ERA 3.51/G 513/CG 186/SHO 30/IP 3,224/H 3,335/BB 846/SO 870

www.baseball-almanac.com

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1 comment
  1. brettkiser said:

    As a good pitcher during the pitching lean years he played, Fitz’s HOF chances are below average mainly because he had just one 20-win season in an era when pitchers worked a helluva lot more than they do now.

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