Sox Great Billy Pierce “Epitomized Class, Not Only as a Ballplayer, but as a Gentleman and Human Being…”
Friday, July 31, 2015
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.
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.
Pierce and his Commitment to Cancer Research
Billy worked tirelessly to raise money for cancer research. Here’s an insight into his generous spirit.
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.
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.