Hall of Fame Retrospective: Urban “Red” Faber

Urban “Red” Faber relied on his powerful right arm to establish a Hall of Fame baseball career. He showed off that asset at Loras College and set a pitching record that still stands today.

Born on Sept. 6, 1888, in Cascade, Iowa, Faber would attend St. Joseph Academy in Dubuque then St. Joseph College, now known as Loras College. During the 1909 season, he would mow down the competition, highlighted by a 24-strikeout performance against St. Ambrose that remains a Loras record to this day.

Red Faber shakes hands with Babe Ruth (Source: Library of John T. Pregler)

Faber would stay in Dubuque after signing a contract to play with Class B Dubuque Miners. After bouncing around the minor leagues and suffering an arm injury, her would learn to throw and spitball and would quickly catch the attention of scouts. He was signed by the Chicago White Sox would play his first game in the Major Leagues in 1914.

Faber spent 20 seasons pitching for the Chicago, during which he won 254 games and pitched 273 complete games. His career 3.15 ERA and 4,086 innings pitched were products of his low pitch counts. Faber once threw only 67 pitches in a complete game and three times retired the side on three pitches.

Faber won three out of the four decisions to help the White Sox win the 1917 World Series against the Giants, and he won 20-or-more games in a season four times. In 1920, Major League Baseball outlawed the spitball, but Faber was “grandfathered in” and was soon the last legal spitballer in the American League.

Faber led the American League in appearances in 1915 with 50, then led the league in earned-run average in both 1921 (2.48) and 1922 (2.81) – pitching more than 330 innings in both seasons. In 1920, Faber was one of four White Sox hurlers who posted 20-win seasons – the first team to ever boast four 20-game winners.

Faber retired in 1933 and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1964. That same year, Loras renamed the baseball field on lower campus to Faber-Clark to recognize his accomplishments, as well as those of Msgr. Arthur M. Clark, a former librarian and donor of the property.