My Name is Jeffrey Walters, grandson of William H.””Bucky”” Walters. Several years ago I began a personal quest to accumulate information on the career of my late grandfather. I was amazed at the extent of his career and now pursue the introduction of Bucky Walters as a prospective 2003 veteran inductee into the National Baseball Hall Of Fame at Cooperstown.” A modest man, my grandfather never discussed his career. I never realized the legacy of my grandfather… now that I am older, I know he preferred it that way.
After researching his career, I have come to realize his contribution to baseball was unique, and extensive. He was a “Players player”, the “fifth infielder”, the unusual pitcher who often won his game with an RBI, and one of the greatest clutch pitchers of all time.
The career of Bucky is unique. He began as a utility player, capable of playing any position. When his contract was purchased by the Braves (1929), he didn’t know what position he would play. He settled in at third base, but was shifted to pitcher, due to a good arm, during his fifth season as a major league baseball player.
Bucky’s pitching career displays some incredible statistics. Bucky was known as a “Work-Horse” who completed 61% of games started. Amazingly, 21% of his 198 wins were shut-outs. Although he pitched in only 14 full seasons as a pitcher, he ranks 37th All-time with 42 shut-outs.
Three times Bucky won more than 20 games: 27 in 1939; 22 in 1940; 23 in 1944. Bucky also lead the league in earned runs twice: 2.29 in 1939 and 2.48 in 1940. From 1939 through 1947his ERA was below 2.83 in seven of eight seasons. And, according to Total Baseball, Bucky received three (3 )hypothetical Cy Young Awards given to players for years which no official award existed. Bucky is recognized as the best pitcher for the 1939, 1940, and 1944 seasons. All retired pitchers with 3 or more official Cy Young Awards have been inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Bucky was also recognized a good hitter and fielder for a pitcher. He maintained a career batting average of .243 and ranks third for pitchers with 76 double plays. More than once, Bucky won his own game with an RBI or homerun. Most notable is 1940 World Series game 6, where he pitched a five-hit shut out and hit a home run.
Unique to Buckys career is that he recorded the first televised win (August 26th, 1939). He stole home (April 20th,1946). He umpired a major league game (July 10th, 1947) as a player. He led the majors in victories over the 15-year span from 1935 to 1949.
Never wanting to be out of uniform, Bucky continued his career as a coach, manager and scout. After his baseball career was over, Bucky commented, “My only regret was not playing every day.”
“Bucky Walters was the money pitcher of his day…” Seymore Siwoff
Player: 1931 – 1950
Manager: 1948 – 1952
Coach: 1952 – 1957
Player Rep: 1940 – 1960
Son, Husband, Father, Grandfather: 1909 – 1991
Put Out: 364