CHICAGO – LaMarr Hoyt, who won the American League Cy Young Award with the Chicago White Sox in 1983, passed away on Monday in Columbia, S.C., following a lengthy illness. He was 66.
Hoyt spent eight seasons in the Major Leagues with the White Sox (1979-84) and San Diego (1985-86), going 98-68 with a 3.99 ERA (582 ER/1,311.1 IP) and 48 complete games (eight shutouts) in 244 appearances (172 starts). He went 74-49 with a 3.92 ERA (410 ER/942.0 IP) and 39 complete games in 178 games (116 starts) with the Sox, all under Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa.
“My first impression of LaMarr was, ‘Here is a pitcher.’ He had average stuff but amazing command and tremendous confidence, and he never showed fear,” said La Russa. “We brought him up to the big leagues in 1979 and nothing bothered him. He had this impressive cool where he believed if he made his pitches, he would get hitters out. He faced teams multiple times in a season but could change up his looks and keep them off balance. What a great competitor.”
“LaMarr was a great pitcher and a great teammate. We would sit around and talk pitching for hours,” said Richard Dotson, who won 22 games with the White Sox in 1983 and finished fourth in the Cy Young award voting. “He really knew how to pitch. His stuff was never great, but he had a great sinker and exceptional command. LaMarr, Britt Burns, Harold Baines and I all came up to the big leagues around the same time and grew up together, which eventually led to that memorable 1983 season. We are all going to miss him.”
“My dad passed away from cancer with me by his side early in the morning of the 29th,” said Mathew Hoyt, LaMarr’s oldest son. “He genuinely loved being a part of the White Sox organization, and I can say without a doubt those were the best years of his life. All he talked about in his final days was baseball, the White Sox and all of his former teammates.”
Hoyt led the AL with 19 victories in 1982, winning his first nine decisions of the season, and became the second pitcher in franchise history to win the Cy Young Award in 1983 when he went 24-10 with a 3.66 ERA (106 ER/260.2 IP), just 31 walks and 11 complete games over 36 starts. He led MLB that season in wins and ranked eighth in IP. Both marks remain the highest totals by a White Sox pitcher since 1983. Hoyt threw a complete game in Game 1 of the 1983 ALCS at Baltimore, allowing five hits with no walks in a 2-1 victory.
He made his Major League debut on September 14, 1979, vs. Oakland and opened the 1980 season in the starting rotation. Hoyt faced the minimum 27 batters in a victory against the Yankees on May 2, 1984 at old Comiskey Park, allowing only a seventh-inning single to Don Mattingly, who was then retired on a double play.
Hoyt was traded to San Diego on December 7, 1984, as part of a seven-player deal that brought shortstop Ozzie Guillén to the White Sox. He started and was the winning pitcher for the National League at the 1985 All-Star Game in Minnesota.
He was born Dewey LaMarr Hoyt Jr. on January 1, 1955 in Columbia, S.C. Hoyt originally was selected by the New York Yankees in the fifth round of the 1973 draft and traded to the White Sox on April 5, 1977 with outfielder Oscar Gamble and pitcher Bob Polinsky in exchange for shortstop Bucky Dent.
Funeral arrangements are pending.