Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 68 Weight: 155
Born: Monday, February 20, 1928 in Stephentown, NY USA
Died: in ,
Last Game: 8/15/1969
Full Name: Elroy Leon Face
Elroy Face, pitcher for the 1953, 1955-68 Pirates. He joined the Pirates in December, 1952 after he was taken in the Rule 5 draft. He had played four seasons in the minors with the Phillies and Dodgers, winning at least 14 games every year. In his rookie season he pitched 40 games, getting 13 starts from June 17th until the end of the year. He was clearly not ready for the majors, but as a Rule 5 pick he had to stay. In 119 innings he posted a 6.58 ERA. He spent the entire 1954 season in the minors, where he developed his famous forkball and also worked on a slider. Prior to that he was throwing a fastball and curveball. Face returned to the majors for 1955 and cut his ERA to 3.58, down exactly three runs.
By 1956 he was being used strictly out of the pen. After making 23 starts his first two seasons, he started just four more games his entire career (none after 1957). In 1956 he threw 135.1 innings and led the league with 68 games pitched. In 1958 he posted a 2.89 ERA and recorded 20 saves, although it wasn’t official stat at the time. In 1959 Face compiled an amazing 18-1 record in his 57 appearances. He made his first of three straight All-Star appearances and finished seventh in the MVP voting. During the 1960 season, the Pirates won the World Series and he contributed with ten wins, 24 saves and a league leading 68 appearances. He also pitched 10.1 innings of relief in the series.
Face had perhaps his best season in 1962. He posted a career low 1.88 ERA and career high 28 saves. His numbers dropped down to a 5.20 ERA in 1964 at the age of 36, but he rebounded for four more strong seasons with an ERA between 2.42 and 2.70 each year. Before his sale to the Tigers in late August 1968, the Pirates kept him long enough so that he could tie Walter Johnson’s record for most games pitched with one team, getting his 802nd appearance on the same day he was shipped to Detroit. Among the Pirates all-time leaders he ranks first in games pitched and saves with 186. Face finished his major league career with the Expos in 1969 and even pitched briefly in the minors in 1970 before retiring.