Gerry Staley, a two-time all-star pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1950’s who ended up winning won 134 major-league games over a 15-year Major League career, has died at the age of 87. Staley passed away on Wednesday at his home in Vancouver, Washington due to natural causes.
Staley was born in Brush Prairie, Washington on August 21, 1920. The right-hander was drafted by the Cardinals in 1942, then served in World War II in a U.S. Army evacuation hospital unit in the South Pacific. That helped delay his arrival in the majors, with him not becoming a full-timer until 1949 at the age of 28, a season in which Staley finished second in the National League in ERA at 2.73.
Relying on a sinker and knuckleball, Staley went 89-76 overall as a starter for some decent, but not great early-50’s St. Louis clubs. He won 19 games in 1951 and was selected to the NL All-Star team in 1952 and 1953. Staley was traded to Cincinnati following the Cards' disappointing 72-82 1954 season.
After pitching for the Reds and New York Yankees, he joined the White Sox in 1956 and was converted to a reliever by Chicago manager and Cardinals Hall of Famer Marty Marion. With the Sox, Staley appeared in the 1959 World Series and eventually earned two more all-star nods. Overall, Staley went 134-111 with a 3.70 ERA over 15 major league seasons with six clubs.
After his retirement from baseball, Staley became a parks and recreation superintendent. Staley was a member of the State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame and the Clark County Hall of Fame. Once a pitcher, always a pitcher, he was also inducted into the Washington State Horseshoe Pitchers Hall of Fame.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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