Profiles of Valor
Early “Gus” Wynn, born on January 6, 1920, became a Major League pitcher while also serving in the Army. He grew up watching his father play semipro baseball and always dreamed of being a professional baseball player himself. He turned his dream into a reality through years of hard work and dedication to the sport.
Wynn was signed by the Washington Senators in 1937, with his debut coming in 1939. While pitching in Washington, he began to establish himself as a serious pitcher through his aggressive play and mental toughness: he was not afraid to rough up a hitter if necessary. Ted Williams once said that Wynn was “the toughest pitcher [he’d] ever faced”. Wynn intended for his competitors to see him this way on the mound, saying “A pitcher has to look at the hitter as his mortal enemy”.
During his time with the Senators, Wynn was sent to Fort Meyer, Virginia with the army. He subsequently missed the 1945 season and part of the 1946 season. After his training, he was posted in the Philippines and played baseball with the Manila Dodgers. However, he rarely pitched with that team but played shortstop because of the depth that thepitching had.
Wynn returned to the Senators in 1946 after he was discharged but was traded to the Cleveland Indians after two years. His pitching career began to flourish with the Indians. He received the American League All- Star title a total of fiveteams, won the Cy Young Award in 1959, and had multiple 20-win seasons.
His retirement came in 1963 after Wynn had won his 300th game. Wynn was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972. He went on to be a pitching coach with the Indians and the Minnesota Twins. He even pursued a career in broadcasting: he broadcasted for the Toronto Blue Jays from 1977-1980 and the Chicago White Sox from 1982-1983.
Wynn is remembered as an All-Star pitcher, one of the best there is, but also as a courageous man who fought for hiscountry. His legacy lives on through all of his accomplishments on and off the field.