Charlie Hough

Charles Oliver Hough (/ˈhʌf/; born January 5, 1948) is an American former Major League Baseball (MLB) knuckleball pitcher and coach who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, and Florida Marlins from 1970 to 1994.

Charlie Hough
Hough with the Texas Rangers
Born: (1948-01-05) January 5, 1948
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
August 12, 1970, for the Los Angeles Dodgers
Last MLB appearance
July 26, 1994, for the Florida Marlins
MLB statistics
Win–loss record216–216
Earned run average3.75
Career highlights and awards

Playing career


Hough was drafted out of Hialeah High School in the 8th round of the 1966 Major League Baseball draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers.[1] While in high school, he had spent the summer of 1964 pitching against collegiate competition for the Chatham A's of the Cape Cod Baseball League where he was named a league all-star.[2][3]

Minor leagues

After pitching in the low minor leagues from 1967 to 1969 with the Ogden Dodgers, Santa Barbara Dodgers and Albuquerque Dodgers with limited success, Hough's career and fortunes changed dramatically when he learned how to throw a knuckleball in spring training in 1970, leading to a successful season with the Spokane Indians in AAA, where he led the Pacific Coast League in saves and posted a 1.95 ERA.

Los Angeles Dodgers

He made his major league debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1970 but did not join the Dodgers bullpen full-time until the 1973 season. He became a top reliever for the Dodgers from 1973 until he was sold to the Texas Rangers in 1980. With the Dodgers, he was one of the pitchers who served up one of the three home runs that New York Yankees slugger Reggie Jackson hit on three straight pitches in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series.

Hough with the Los Angeles Dodgers

Texas Rangers

He was converted into a starting pitcher in Texas, where he pitched from 1980 to 1990, making his only All-Star team in 1986. He left Texas as the franchise leader in wins (139), strikeouts (1,452), innings pitched (2,308), complete games (98), and losses (123), which all still stand as club records as of 2023. He was famous for his "dancing knuckleball" pitch that he threw around 80% of the time. Hough complemented his knuckleball with a fastball and slider. Hough was well known for throwing a large number of complete games each season and led the league in 1984 with 17. In his last complete game of the season, the opposing pitcher, Mike Witt of the California Angels, hurled a perfect game.

In 1987, Hough, in battery with Geno Petralli, put Petralli in the record books as Petralli committed four passed balls in one inning to tie the major league record of Ray Katt, catching knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm in 1954.[4] The record was later tied by Ryan Lavarnway of the Boston Red Sox in 2013, catching knuckleballer Steven Wright in his first major league start.[4]

Chicago White Sox

He pitched for the Chicago White Sox from 1991 to 1992, where, at 43 years old, he was teammates with 43-year-old Carlton Fisk.

Florida Marlins

He joined the expansion Florida Marlins for the 1993 season and started the first regular season game in team history, on April 5, pitching six innings for the win as the Marlins defeated the Dodgers 6–3. He retired at age 46 after the 1994 season. He was the last active player to have been born in the 1940s.

Career totals

During a 25-season career, Hough compiled 216 wins, 2,362 strikeouts and a 3.75 earned run average. His 216 wins rank 86th all-time on the all-time win list, tied with Wilbur Cooper and Curt Schilling. However, Hough also recorded 216 losses, making him the winningest pitcher in history to have lost as many games as he won.

Coaching career

See also


  1. "1966 Major League Baseball draft Round 8". Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  2. "Major League Baseball Players From the Cape Cod League" (PDF). Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  3. "Lower Cape All-Stars". Cape Cod Standard-Times. Hyannis, MA. July 14, 1964. p. 7.
  4. "Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway ties big league record with four passed balls". Retrieved September 27, 2013.
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