A new book chronicles for the first time the career of an Iowa native and last great major league spitball pitcher. Brian Cooper, the executive editor of the Dubuque Telegraph Herald , wrote the first biography of Red Faber. Faber, a Cascade, Iowa native, joined the big leagues with the Chicago White Sox.
Faber joined the Sox in 1914 and stayed with them through his entire career that ended with the 1933 season. Cooper says Faber played on some great White Sox teams, and some poor ones. His stint included the 1919 Black Sox scandal in which players threw the World Series. But Faber was not part of the plot.
Cooper says the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918 was winding down and Faber had the flu and didn’t pitch much the last half of the season, and spent the World Series on the bench. The spitball had been legal pitch, but rulemakers decided to outlaw the spitball in 1920. Cooper says the ban did make allowances for Faber and others.
He says the rulemakers recognized that the rule could be devastating to spitball pitchers, and 17 pitchers, including Faber, were grandfathered in and allowed to throw the spitball until they retired. Cooper says Faber kept the spitball alive for 13 years after it was banned.
Cooper says Faber was still pitching in the majors as a 45-year-old, and ended up being the last regular spitball pitcher in the American League. Cooper’s book is called: "Red Faber: A Biography of the Hall of Fame Spitball Pitcher," and is published by McFarland & Company.