I was saddened to learn that Earl Wilson, the great former major-league pitcher, passed away from a heart attack over the weekend. I've been told that his funeral will be held Saturday.
I always admired Earl. We played in different leagues, with his major-league career spanning 1959 to 1970 (my rookie year was 1965). He was a great pitcher and also a fine hitter. In fact, he hit 35 career home runs, just two away from the major-league record for pitchers.
Earl began his career with the Boston Red Sox, and then went to the Detroit Tigers during the 1966 season. He played with Detroit into the 1970 season, but he finished his career that year with the San Diego Padres.
After we were both retired, we got to know each other better through our involvement on the board of the Baseball Assistance Team charity. Earl was the president of BAT.
BAT comprises former major-leaguers and corporate people who raise money for former players in need as well as the widows of older players who weren't paid today's high salaries.
Through our mutual work on BAT, Earl and I were able to spend time together and share good talks about important issues. I appreciated how he cared about former ballplayers who were facing tough times.
I send my prayers, condolences and best wishes to Earl Wilson's family. His passing is a loss not only for his family but also for all of baseball.