Born on September 15, 1913 in Catskill, New York, Edsall Elliot “Big” Walker was a left handed pitcher for the Homestead Grays from 1936 – 1945. At 6’0, 215 pounds, Edsall was nicknamed “Big” by teammates. They nicknamed George Walker, 5’11”, 185 pounds who also pitched for the Grays during that time “Little”.
Having what opponents called a wickedly sinking fastball he consistently threw at 100 miles per hour; “Big” Walker was one of the best southpaw pitchers in the Negro Leagues during his time. He was wild enough with his pitches to caused batters to fear being hit, but also able to throw enough strikes when needed. That combination made him an effective pitcher. In eight of the Homestead Grays nine straight years of winning the Negro National League pennant (1937 – 1945), Walker was one of the team’s key starting pitchers and its top reliever. He skipped the 1942 season to work fulltime in the Baltimore shipping yards after the United States became embroiled in World War II.
Walker’s only appearance in the Negro League All Star Game was 1938 as the starting pitcher for the East squad. In the first three innings, he gave up five runs on four hits, three walks, and was the losing pitcher in the West’s squad 5 – 4 win. It was a performance Walker hesitated discussing later in life because he was a better pitcher than he showed that day.
What Hall of Famer was the winning pitcher for the West squad in that 1938 East-West All Star Game?