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Gary Peters, 1963 AL Rookie of the Year, Mercer High, Grove City Grad Dies at 85

Chicago White Sox pitching coach Marv Grissom, left, chats with pitcher Gary Peters (43), who won second game of double header with Boston, when Rocky Colavito, right, walked in the eleventh inning forcing in the winning and only run in Chicago, August 28, 1967. Chicago lost the opener, 4-3. (AP Photo)

CHICAGO – Gary Peters, a Mercer High School standout and Grove City College graduate, who won the 1963 American League Rookie of the Year while playing with the Chicago White Sox passes away at the age of 85.

The White Sox announced Peters’s passing in a Tweet Thursday, Jan. 26.

Peters played for the White Sox from 1959 through 1969 and they concluded his 14-year MLB career with the Boston Red Sox from 1969 through 1972.

After appearing in 12 games from 1959 through 1962, Peters broke in full-time for the Southsiders in 1963 going 19-8 with a league-leading 2.33 ERA. He beat out teammate Pete Ward and Minnesota Twin Jimmie Hall for the AL Rookie of the Year – Pete Rose was the NL Rookie of the Year that season – while also finishing eighth in the AL MVP award voting (Elston Howard of the Yankees won the AL MVP that season).

It marked the first of two times Peters won the AL ERA title, as he also sported the best ERA in 1966 at 1.98. He was also named to the American League All-Star team in 1964 and 1967. and finished his career with a record of 124-103 with five saves and a career ERA of 3.25.

Peters actually signed with the White Sox in 1956 and played basketball at Grove City College while also playing Minor League baseball. In two-and-a-half years of playing for Grove City, Peters scored 725 points before leaving the basketball team midway through his junior season to concentrate on baseball. He continued his studies and graduated from Grove City in 1959.

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