July 3, 1922|
Converse, South Carolina
|Died: January 29, 2007
Spartanburg, South Carolina
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|April 17, 1954 for the Cincinnati Reds|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 4, 1964 for the Los Angeles Angels|
|Earned run average||4.03|
John Arthur Fowler (July 3, 1922 – January 29, 2007) was an American pitcher and pitching coach in Major League Baseball. The 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m), 180 lb. right-hander was signed by the New York Giants as an amateur free agent before the 1944 season. He played for the Cincinnati Redlegs (1954–1957), Los Angeles Dodgers (1959), and Los Angeles Angels (1961–1964), and went on to be associated with manager Billy Martin as a coach with five major league teams, including four stops with the New York Yankees.
Fowler was born in Converse, South Carolina. His brother Jesse pitched for the 1924 St. Louis Cardinals. Jesse was nearly 24 years older than Art, and the Fowlers hold the record for the largest age difference between brothers who played Major League baseball. Art Fowler pitched 10 years in the minor leagues with a record of 140–94. He led Southern Association pitchers in games pitched (54), innings pitched (261), hits allowed (273), and ERA (3.03) while playing for the Atlanta Crackers in 1953, and led Carolina League pitchers with 23 wins while playing for the Danville Leafs in 1945.
Finally reaching the major leagues at the age of 31, Fowler made his major league debut in relief on April 17, 1954 against the Milwaukee Braves at Milwaukee County Stadium. His first big league win came in his first start, a 3–2 victory over the Chicago Cubs on April 25 at Crosley Field. He had a good rookie season, finishing 12–10 with a 3.83 earned run average. He ranked ninth in the National League with 227-2/3 innings pitched. In 1955 and 1956, his last years as a regular starter, he combined for a 22–21 record with an ERA of 3.97. He started seven games for Cincinnati in 1957, and then appeared almost exclusively in relief thereafter.
After a poor year with the Dodgers in 1959, Fowler resurfaced in the major leagues in 1961 at age 38 with the expansion Los Angeles Angels. He, along with Tom Morgan, and later Jack Spring and Julio Navarro, were the Angels' most reliable pitchers out of the bullpen during their first three seasons. Fowler's combined record from 1961 to 1963 was 14–14 with 26 saves and a 2.96 ERA in 158 games. He was released by the Angels on May 15, 1964 at age 41, the oldest player to appear in an American League game that season.
His major league career totals include a 54–51 record in 362 games pitched, 90 games started, 25 complete games, 4 shutouts, 134 games finished, 32 saves, and an ERA of 4.03. Fowler continued to add to his minor league numbers when his major league playing career was over.
Fowler had a close friendship with manager Billy Martin, and was his pitching coach with the Minnesota Twins (1969), Detroit Tigers (1971–1973), Texas Rangers (1974–1975), Yankees (1977–79, 1983, 1988), and Oakland Athletics (1980–1982). Under his tutelage, Ron Guidry won the Cy Young Award in 1978.
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