Early Winn also first appeared in a Major League
game as a 19 year old in 1939. His career touched four decades. I had his baseball card along with that of Pete Rose cut out
from the back of a Sugar Crisps cereal box. Wynn’s first outstanding year came much younger than Ruffing’s at
23, but he didn’t become consistently good on a year to year basis until he reached 30 in 1950. That was because a season
earlier, Wynn was traded to Cleveland in a clever deal by owner Bill Veeck acquiring Washington owner Clark Griffith’s
son-in-law and packaging him in a deal that also netted Vic Power. The Indians had Mel Harder around to teach Wynn a curve,
slider, and knuckleball to compliment his fastball. That year he led the league in ERA. He led in innings in ’51. He
won 23 games in ’52. In 1954 he led in wins, innings, and joined teammates Mike Garcia and Bob Lemon among the league’s
top 5 ERAs. In 1959 at age 39, Wynn again led the league in wins (22-10) and innings (256) posting a 3.17 ERA (120 ERA+).
He continued to keep his ERA in the mid threes another two years. At age 43, he was still around to pitch 55 innings of 2.28
ERA. He retired in 1963 on that pleasant note.
Hey! Pete Rose’s first year was ’63, his last was
1986, which was Jamie Moyer’s first year. Jimmy Dykes last played in 1939 and started his Major League career in 1918.
Bobby Wallace played, at least, a few games each year in the 19-teens, then his career stretches back as a regular to 1897.
That happens to be Cap Anson’s last year who debuted for Rockford Forest Citys in the inaugural National Association
season of 1871. So, in six overlapping long careers – Anson to Wallace to Dykes to Wynn to Rose to Moyer we cover the
entire history of “Major League” league baseball. It will be intersesting to see how far Mike Trout or Bryce Harper
or someone else takes
the 7th generation into the 21st century.