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Monday, April 25, 2005
Wilson succumbs to heart attack

DETROIT -- Former major-league pitcher Earl Wilson has died at the age of 70, the Detroit Tigers said Monday.

Wilson died of a heart attack Saturday in suburban Detroit, said Jim Martin, executive director of the Baseball Assistance Team charity, for which Wilson was a volunteer board member since 1988. He served as president from 2000-04.

Wilson pitched for three teams in an 11-season career, finishing 121-109 in 338 games. The right-hander broke in with Boston in 1959 and saw limited action that season and in 1960. He reached the majors for good in 1962 and won at least 10 games for the next eight seasons.

He was traded to the Tigers in 1966 and went 22-11 the following year, when Detroit fell just short of beating his former team for the American League pennant.

In 1968 he was the third starter on Detroit's championship team, going 13-12 in the regular season and 0-1 in the seven-game World Series victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Wilson, who finished his career with the San Diego Padres in 1970, was one of the best power-hitting pitchers in baseball history. He finished with 35 homers in 740 career at-bats, two short of Wes Ferrell's major-league record.

After retiring, Wilson settled in the Detroit suburb of Southfield, Martin said.

"If you want someone with a heart of gold, that's the person," Martin said. "As a personal thing I'm going to miss him greatly."

Martin said Wilson is survived by his wife, Roslin, and son, Greg, as well as his wife's other two sons. Funeral arrangements were being finalized Monday night.

A moment of silence was held in Wilson's memory before Monday's game between the Tigers and Minnesota Twins.

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