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"Smoky" Joe Wood

  • Post an astounding 34 wins in 1912 for the champion Boston Red Sox
  • One of only two players to play in the World Series first as a pitcher and then as an outfielder
  • Coached Yale University baseball for twenty years
Wood, "Smoky" Joe
Inducted 2010

Born: October 25, 1889 - Kansas City, Missouri

Died: July 27, 1985 - West Haven, Connecticut

Honors

One only has to read what Baseball Hall of Fame great and Kansas native Walter Johnson once said about “Smoky” Joe Wood to realize the talent of the young man, who spent part of his childhood in Ness City. When asked if he could throw harder than Wood, Johnson replied, “Listen, my friend, there’s no man alive that throws harder than Smoky Joe Wood.”

“Smokey” Joe in Kansas

Wood lived in Kansas, Illinois, Colorado and Pennsylvania before returning to Ness City in 1906 where he began his pro baseball career. One year later, at the age of 17, he signed his first professional contract with Hutchinson of the Western Association and won 18 games before being promoted to Kansas City of the American Association.

Professional Highlights

For one dazzling season in 1912, Howard Ellsworth “Smoky Joe” Wood was the greatest pitcher in the game, compiling a 34-5 record, and a 1.91 earned run average, while posting 10 shutouts and striking out 253 batters. He then won three games in the World Series to help the Boston Red Sox to the championship. Wood pitched for six full seasons in the major leagues with the Boston Red Sox, posting a 117-57 record before arm trouble forced him to leave the mound. He was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 1917 and played six seasons with the Indians as an outfielder where he batted .298. Wood and Babe Ruth are the only two players ever to play in a World Series first as a pitcher and then later as an outfielder.

Post-Professional Career

After retiring from the major leagues, Wood was the baseball coach at Yale University for 20 years (1922-42).