August 25, 2002
SARASOTA -- Knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm, the first reliever elected to the Hall of Fame and the last pitcher to throw a no-hitter against the Yankees, died Friday.
Mr. Wilhelm died of heart failure, said his widow, Peggy Wilhelm. Baseball records listed him at 79, though the funeral home handling arrangements said he was 80.
Mr. Wilhelm played from 1952-72. When he retired, he held the major-league record for games pitched at 1,070. Jesse Orosco and Dennis Eckersley since have passed that mark.
Known for his fluttering pitch -- it was because of him that catchers began using an oversized mitt -- Mr. Wilhelm was 143-122 with 227 saves and a 2.52 ERA for nine teams. He played mostly for the Giants, Orioles and White Sox.
He was elected to the Hall in 1985.