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The winningest left-handed pitcher in the history of the storied St. Louis Cardinals baseball franchise is the latest person selected for induction into the York Area Sports Hall of Fame.

William ("Wee Willie") Sherdel was the lone person picked for induction into the 2019 class.

Sherdel was a 21-year resident of York County and pitched for, and graduated from, Hanover High School.

Sherdel pitched in the major leagues from 1918 through 1932, spending the vast majority of his career with the Cardinals.

He finished with a major-league record of 165-146 with a 3.72 ERA. For the Cardinals, he was 153-131 with a 3.64 ERA. He also pitched for the Boston Braves late in his career, going 12-15 with a 4.45 ERA.

His best season came in 1928, when he finished 21-10 with a 2.86 ERA. He helped the Cardinals reach the World Series that season. He was a member of the 1926 World Series championship team for the Cards, going 16-12 that season with a 3.49 ERA. He received his World Series ring from Charles Lindbergh just after Lindbergh made his historic trans-Atlantic solo flight and became a national hero.

In all, Sherdel had six seasons with 15 or more wins. During a seven-year stretch from 1922-1928 he notched 109 victories and won the pennant-clinching games for the Cardinals in 1926 and 1928.

After leaving Hanover High School, Sherdel pitched for the minor league Hanover Hornets, soon to be the Hanover Raiders, in the newly-formed Class D Blue Ridge League. In 1915, as the youngest pitcher in the league, Sherdel went 15-3, while also leading the league in hitting at .368. The next year he went 14-9 before being sold to the Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association.

With the Brewers, Sherdel caught the attention of legendary baseball man Branch Rickey, who worked for the Cardinals at the time. He eventually earned a roster spot with the Cardinals in 1918, beginning a long major league career.

Sherdel died in 1968 in McSherrystown, where he spent his adult years after baseball. He was 72. In 1977 he was inducted posthumously into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.

Sherdel was nominated for the honor by John G. Coulson of Hanover, who recently wrote a book about the Cardinals great.

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.

 

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