Members of the 1983 Division champion White Sox LaMarr Hoyt (left), Harold Baines (center) and Tony LaRussa after Hoyt and LaRussa threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Sox played the Oakland Athletics in Chicago on Sunday, June 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Cherney)
Right-hander won Cy Young Award with 1983 division champion ‘Winning Ugly’ White Sox
LaMarr Hoyt, the 1983 Cy Young Award winner who helped the “Winning Ugly” White Sox win the American League West Division championship that season, died Monday in Columbia, S.C. following a lengthy illness, the Sox confirmed Wednesday. He was 66.
Hoyt, who posted a 98-68 record and 3.99 ERA with 48 complete games during an eight-year career, went 24-10 with a 3.66 ERA in 1983, winning 13 straight games in one stretch in the second half while walking only 31 batters over 260 2/3 innings. After posting a 13-18 record and 4.77 ERA in 1984, Hoyt was traded to the Padres in a multiplayer deal that brought shortstop Ozzie Guillen to the South Side.
“My dad passed away from cancer with me by his side early in the morning of the 29th,” said Mathew Hoyt, LaMarr’s oldest son, in a release from the Sox. “He genuinely loved being a part of the White Sox organization, and I can say without a doubt those were the best years of his life. All he talked about in his final days was baseball, the White Sox and all of his former teammates.”
Said Sox manager Tony La Russa, who managed Hoyt during the pitcher’s years with the Sox: “My first impression of LaMarr was, ‘Here is a pitcher’. He had average stuff but amazing command and tremendous confidence, and he never showed fear.”
Hoyt made his major-league debut on September 14, 1979 against the Oakland Athletics and opened the 1980 season in the starting rotation. He faced the minimum 27 batters in a victory against the Yankees on May 2, 1984 at old Comiskey Park, allowing a seventh-inning single to Don Mattingly, who was retired on a double play. Hoyt led the AL with 19 wins in 1982.
“We brought him up to the big leagues in 1979 and nothing bothered him,” La Russa said. “He had this impressive cool where he believed if he made his pitches, he would get hitters out. He faced teams multiple times in a season but could change up his looks and keep them off balance. What a great competitor.”
With the Padres in 1985, Hoyt started and was the winning pitcher for the National League at the All-Star Game in Minnesota and finished the season with a 16-8 record and 3.47 ERA over 31 starts.
Hoyt fell victim to drug problems and was out of baseball by 1987. He was 31 when he pitched his final season in 1986 with the Padres, pitching to a 5.15 ERA in 35 games. He was arrested twice on drug-possession charges following the 1985 season and was arrested on the U.S.-Mexico border after the 1986 season. He was sentenced to 45 days in jail on December 16, 1986, and suspended by commissioner Peter Ueberroth.
The Sox signed Hoyt after he was released by the Padres, giving him a second chance, but he was arrested a fourth time, ending his return.
Hoyt was born Dewey LaMarr Hoyt Jr. on Jan. 1, 1955 in Columbia, S.C. He originally was selected by the New York Yankees in the fifth round of the 1973 draft and traded to the Sox on April 5, 1977 with outfielder Oscar Gamble and pitcher Bob Polinsky in exchange for shortstop Bucky Dent.
Funeral arrangements are pending.