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Cornelius News

Cornelius fields new name for park


Dec. 6. The new baseball fields behind Cornelius Elementary School have been named in honor of former Major League pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm, who grew up in Huntersville but played many games on an older baseball diamond at the same site. The Cornelius Town Board approved the name at their meeting last night.

The famous knuckleballer grew up on a farm that is now in Huntersville, but attended schools in Cornelius back when places east and west of the center of Cornelius and Huntersville were unincorporated Mecklenburg County.

The New York Times says the modest, God-fearing pitcher “twisted Yankee hitters into knots.” Wilhelm pitched a total of 1,070 games; he was an All Star five times.

A humble, down-to-earth athlete, his knuckleball baffled hitters with its strange twisting motion. WIlhelm mastered the pitch while playing for a number of major league teams, including the Giants.

Nicknamed “Old Sarge,” Wilhelm also pitched for the New York Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, California Angels, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, and Los Angeles Dodgers between 1952 and 1972.

Wilhelm, who fought in World War II, was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.

He was the first pitcher to reach 200 saves, and the first to appear in 1,000 games.

Wilhelm passed away in 2002.