The next Rookie of the Year winner might not be a household name with modern White Sox fans, but he should be.
In 1963, Gary Peters was the best rookie player in the AL and he just happened to be an outstanding starting pitcher. He finished his rookie season with an ERA of 2.33 in 41 games and 30 starts.
Pitchers were completely different animals in the 1960s. And, Peters shows why. Before his rookie season in 1963, he had four cups of coffee with the Sox, pitching in 21 innings between 1959 and 1962. Then, in his rookie season, he threw 243 innings. It’s rare to see today’s pitchers not named Max Scherzer, Chris Sale, Clayton Kershaw, or Justin Verlander reach 200 innings. And, rookie pitchers never throw anything near 200 innings. Michael Fulmer, the most recent ROY pitcher, only threw 159 innings in 2016. I 2013, Jose Fernandez threw 172.2 innings in his rookie season.
Throughout his career, Peters did not earn many other awards. But, the ones he did win were notable. He won the ERA title twice – in 1963 and in 1966 with an ERA of 1.98. Along with those two ERA titles, he was also named the All-Star team in 1964 and 1967. Remember, he was a contemporary of remarkable pitchers like Bob Gibson (who had an ERA title in 1968 with a 1.12) and Sandy Koufax who had ERA titles in 1962-1966 – his best was 1.73 in ’66.
He never won a Cy Young Award, but he finished in the top 10 in MVP votes in three of his seasons. Peter’s career ERA in 14 seasons was 3.25. He played 11 years in Chicago and three with the White Sox.
Interestingly, Peters biggest competition for the ROY award was his teammate, Pete Ward who received 30% of the votes. Peters won 50% of the votes. Jimmie Hall of the Twins received the remaining 20%.