Nicknamed "The Delaware Peach", Vic Willis spent 13 seasons in the Major Leagues, pitching for the Boston Beaneaters, Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals between 1898 and 1910. An effective workhorse pitcher who won 249 games in his career, Willis holds the post-1900 record for complete games (45 in 1902) in a single season. He also has the dubious distinction of holding the post-1900 record for most losses in a season, with 29 in 1905. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995 by the Veterans Committee.
I completed this sketch card in July 2012.
10 random facts about Vic Willis:
- Before making it to the Major Leagues, Willis played baseball at the University of Delaware and would later coach the school's team.
- He completed 388 of his 471 Major League starts.
- Willis is the last pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the 19th century, doing so on August 7, 1899 against the Washington Senators of the National League (not to be confused with later incarnations of the team with the same name).
- While with the Pirates from 1906 to 1909, he averaged over 22 wins per season.
- He was a World Series champion while with the Pirates the 1909.
- He won 20 or more games 8 times.
- He twice led the National League in complete games and shutouts.
- After his retirement, he bought and operated the Washington House, a hotel in his hometown of Newark Delaware.
- He was inducted into the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame in 1977.
- A youth baseball league in Delaware is named in his honor.