Belated birthday wishes to Elroy Face who turned 89 earlier this week (February 20). Face helped to invent the role of the closer and had an incomparable 18-1 season for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1959, setting the record for relief wins in a season (18) that has never been seriously challenged. He broke Jim Konstanty's record of 16 relief wins for the 1950 Phillies. Face spent 15 of his 16 major league seasons with the Pirates (1953, 1955-1968) and made three consecutive all-star game appearances (1959-1961). He also pitched briefly for the Detroit Tigers and Montreal Expos. At present, Face is listed by Wikipedia as the 98th oldest currently living major leaguer.
Last edited by philliesfiend55; 02-23-2017 at 06:48 AM.
Can't tell you how many times I saw Face pitch. Hard-nosed competitor. Even though he was only 5-8 he threw hard. His main pitch was the forkball, which was somewhat like the split finger fastball, but tucked further back between his fingers. He threw it hard, and it usually had a mean break.
I remember listening to the game when Face's 22 game winning streak came to an end. It was in late August or early September of 59 and Charley Neal beat him in the 9th inning of a Sunday game at the Colliseum.
Roy Face's only loss of the 1959 season came on Friday, September 11 in the first game of a doubleheader Vs. the Dodgers in Los Angeles. He had gone 17-0 before the loss and finished the season at 18-1. (retrosheet.org - the directory of Major league Years). Your memory is correct as the game winning hit came off the bat of Charlie Neal. Dodgers reliever, Chuck Churn (brief career: 1957-1959) got the win in one of his last major league games.
Originally Posted by BigRon
According to retrosheet.org : The Pirates led 4-3 entering the last of the ninth inning. Maury Wills led off with a single. Ron Fairly's sacrifice bunt moved Wills to second. Junior Gilliam then Tripled to tie the game and Charlie Neal followed with the decisive single. Face got only one out in the ninth. - L.A 5, Pittsburgh 4.
Last edited by philliesfiend55; 04-16-2017 at 12:32 PM.