Sox Great Billy Pierce “Epitomized Class, Not Only as a Ballplayer, but as a Gentleman and Human Being…”

Friday, July 31, 2015

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Beloved Pierce Passes Away at 88

Billy Pierce, the classy, diminutive yet hard-throwing lefty who followed an elite career on the pitching mound with 46 years spent raising money to fight cancer, passed away this morning at 88 after a battle with gall bladder cancer.

“Generations of White Sox fans lost one of their heroes today,” said Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. “It was an absolute privilege to consider Billy a friend. He epitomized class, not just as a ballplayer on those great Go-Go White Sox teams of the 1950s, but as a gentleman and human being who devoted so much of his life to helping others.”

Pierce spent 13 seasons with the Sox and was a seven-time All-Star. The first Sox pitcher to start an All-Star Game, his number 19 was retired in 1987.

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No. 19’s Career Chronicled

The baseball history books are filled with facts about Pierce’s extraordinary accomplishments. Here are a biography and statistical summary from Baseball-Reference.com, a bio from the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) and a story from SABR about Billy’s near perfect game in 1958.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Billy_Pierce

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/p/piercbi02.shtml

http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/9e29afb8

http://sabr.org/gamesproj/game/june-27-1958-billy-pierces-near-perfect-game

Pierce and his Commitment to Cancer Research

Billy worked tirelessly to raise money for cancer research. Here’s an insight into his generous spirit.

http://www.chicagobaseballmuseum.org/files/CBM-Billy-Pierce-20130528.pdf

What They’re Saying About Billy…

Former teammate Jim Landis: “He is the greatest pitcher I played behind in so many ways.”

Ex-teammate Jim McAnany: “Billy was a fiery competitor, but quiet about it. He let his pitching speak for itself.”

@TheBigHurt_35: RIP Billy Pierce!! A True White Sox Legend! We Will Miss You!

@scottmerkin: Very sad news about the passing of Billy Pierce, but what a life lived and what a great man. One of the more upbeat people I’ve ever met.

@MLBBruceLevine: Billy Pierce was class personified. He was a great pitcher and better human being. A privilege to call him a friend.

@ChuckGarfien: Billy Pierce loved the White Sox. The team and fans loved him back for decades.  Legendary player and person.

@robneyer: Terribly sorry to hear about passing of #WhiteSox legend Billy Pierce. I was lucky enough to write his @sabr bio.

@SouthSideSox: First Minnie Minoso, now Billy Pierce. This is a bad year.

@SoxNerd: Billy Pierce was one of the nicest men I have ever met.

Picture Perfect

Here’s a selection of photos that represent Pierce’s outstanding career: Billy holds a treasured memento; is honored with a group of his 1959 American League Champion teammates along with members of the 2005 World Series champs; His No. 19 included among the pantheon of retired Sox numbers; the ace left-hander getting ready to pitch to Ted Wlliams at old Comiskey Park; and shown on one of his many baseball cards.

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And Finally…

Billy remembered.

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7 Comments

I am so sorry to hear that Billy Pierce has passed away. I had the privilege of going to the 1959 World Series. He and Nellie Fox who passed away at 48 were very close. Rip Billy Pierce.

My first baseball uniform i asked for number 19 in Little league. I was a lefty pitcher and Billy was my star. When he pitched i was at Comiskey park most of the time. Many good memories and good times when he was on the mound.

billy was a great pitcher and will always be in die hard sox fans heart rip billy you will be missed

The 1959 World Series was a highlight in my life. My dad’s cousin, Ed Short, was manager, and he got us tickets in the press box. I was just a little kid, but it was such a neat experience for me! RIP Billy.

Pierce and Whitey Ford. 1-0 so many times You knew this was going to be a pitchers game. Great memories as a young White Sox fan.

I grew up with the white sox in the 50’s,i remember the world series in 1959 between the sox an L.A an Billy Pierce was the ace of the staff.Billy an whitey Ford of Yankees were epic battles

It has been one year today since Billy Pierce passed away. He was Nellie Fox’s roommate in the late 50’s.
I saw him in the 1959 World Series game. Rip Billy Pierce

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