With a nickname like Babe, you better be a good baseball player. Thankfully, Babe Adams was just that.
The right-handed hurler had an interesting career, which began more than 100 years ago. After some struggles early on, he put together his first full season in MLB at 27 years old in 1909. Adams went 12-3 with the Pirates with a franchise-record 1.11 ERA over 130 innings. I don’t care what era it was. This was amazing.
Adams continued to pitch well for the Pirates over the next few seasons. However, a horrible 1916 campaign, which included a 5.72 ERA, put a temporary stop to it. He was demoted to the minor leagues and didn’t play a full year with Pittsburgh again until 1919. At this stage, he was already 37 years old.
Against the odds, Adams won 17 games for the 1919 Pirates and another 17 the following season. He was a good pitcher for several more seasons, eventually winning 194 games for Pittsburgh over parts of 18 seasons. Even until today, he has the highest WAR for a pitcher at 49.8.
Among other accomplishments, Adams is second in Pirates wins (194) and first in shutouts (44). He is not in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, but he is one of only a few Pirates to have won more than one World Series with the team.
Adams pitched in both the 1909 championship and again in 1925. He was a far more important piece in 1909 when he went 3-0 against Ty Cobb the Detroit Tigers with a 1.33 ERA. In Game 7, he tossed a six-hit shutout and kept Cobb off the bases.