Hooks Wiltse

George Leroy "Hooks" Wiltse (September 7, 1879 – January 21, 1959) was a professional baseball pitcher. He played twelve seasons in Major League Baseball from 1904 to 1915. He was the brother of pitcher Snake Wiltse.

"Hooks" earned his nickname because of his exceptional curveball and was one of the earliest pitchers to have a curveball that was regarded as more effective than his fastball. From 1904 to 1914, he pitched for the National League's New York Giants. During that time, he combined with teammate Christy Mathewson for 435 wins, making them one of the best lefty-righty duos in history. Wiltse won five pennants with the Giants and pitched 3.1 innings in the 1911 World Series.

On July 4, 1908, Wiltse pitched a perfect game through 26 batters until he hit Philadelphia Phillies pitcher George McQuillan on a 2–2 count in a scoreless game. Umpire Cy Rigler later admitted that he should have called the previous pitch strike three, which would have ended the inning. Wiltse pitched on, winning 1–0 in ten innings, with the hit-batsman the only lapse separating him from a perfect game. Wiltse's ten-inning complete game no-hitter still remains a Major League record.

In 1915, he jumped to the Brooklyn Tip-Tops of the Federal League, which is where he ended his major league career. He continued to play minor league baseball on and off until 1926. His last appearance came with the Reading Keystones, where he played in five games at the age of 46.

By Dean Hanley

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