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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Wilhelm becomes first to pitch in 1,000 games
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

May 10, 1970

At 46 and pitching for the Atlanta Braves, Hoyt Wilhelm becomes the first in major league history to pitch in 1,000 games. While the appearance is a milestone, the reliever's performance is a failure.

Wilhelm enters with the bases loaded and nobody out in the ninth inning and tries to protect a 5-3 lead against the St. Louis Cardinals. But the knuckleballer allows one run to score on a groundout and after an intentional pass to Leron Lee refills the bases, he gives up a two-run single to Jose Cardenal. The Braves lose, 6-5, in Atlanta, ending their 11-game winning streak.

Wilhelm will finish his career in 1972, with the Los Angeles Dodgers, with 1,070 appearances, 1,018 in relief. Wilhelm, who will be elected into the Hall of Fame in 1985, will have a 143-122 mark, 2.52 earned run average and 227 saves. His appearances record will last until 1998 when Dennis Eckersley will pitch in his 1,071st game.

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