Historic Baseball

Historic Baseball

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Art Fowler

John Arthur Fowler
Born: July 3, 1922 in Converse, S.C.
Died: January 29, 2007 in Spartanburg, S.C.
Debut: 1954 | Pos: P
H: 5’11” | W: 180 | B: R | T: R

9 54 51 362 32 1024.0 539 4.03

>> Visit the Art Fowler biography on Baseball Almanac for complete statistics.

Art Fowler, who pitched in the major leagues and later worked as a pitching coach, died Jan. 29, 2007 in Spartanburg, S.C.  He was 84 years old.

“Art had something that many people didn’t have,” said Wayne Tolleson, former Yankee player, in an article in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.  “He had a passion for life, a passion for his career, and a passion for his family.”

“Each brought joy to his life, and I think that’s something a lot of people wish they had. He lived the life he wanted to live.”

Fowler pitched in the major leagues for nine seasons, compiling a 54-51 record and a 4.03 ERA in 1,024 innings pitched. His career numbers include 32 saves and 539 strikeouts.

He signed with the New York Giants in 1944 as a free agent, but it would take nearly 10 years in the minor leagues before he got the shot at the major league level. 

His playing career included stops with Cincinnati (1954-1957), Los Angeles NL (1959), Los Angeles AL (1961-1964).  His most productive season came in his first year, in 1954.  He finished that season with a 12-10 record in 227.2 innings pitched with a 3.83 ERA.

In June 1958, he was traded by Cincinnati, along with Johnny Klippstein and Steve Bilko, to the Dodgers for Don Newcombe.

When Billy Martin took the manager’s job with the American Association’s Denver club in 1970, he used Art Fowler, then 48, as a pitcher-coach. That season, Fowler finished with 15 saves, 9 wins and a 1.59 earned run average.

After that season, Fowler followed Billy Martin to several major league teams and worked as a pitching coach. Those stops included the New York Yankees — two of which were World Series winners (1977 and 1978).

In Fowler’s second season as pitching coach with the New York Yankees, Ron Guidry posted a 25-3 record and a 1.74 ERA to win the American League Cy Young Award.  A statement released by the Yankees following Fowler’s death said, “Yankee legend and current pitching coach Ron Guidry said that Mr. Fowler was the best pitching coach he ever worked under.”

He worked as a pitching coach for 14 years and worked with the Yankees, Minnesota, Detroit, Texas and Oakland. 

Fowler and Martin remained friend until Martin’s death in 1989.  According to published reports, Martin made several trips to South Carolina to spend time with Fowler and his family.

According to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, the license plate on Fowler’s car read NYY42&1 — signifying the New York Yankees and the numbers of Fowler and Martin.

Art’s brother, Jesse, made his major league debut with the Cardinals nearly 30 years before Art made his debut.

He had been married to his wife, Ruth Burch Fowler, for 66 years.