Billy Pierce was my favorite ballplayer as a kid growing up in Chicago and I was incredibly saddened today to learn of his passing. He was 88. Billy began his career with the Tigers in 1945, and was traded to the White Sox after the 1948 season. So from the time I was seven-years-old, his southpaw was my idol. He was a seven-time American League All-Star, and after playing his last three seasons with the Giants, he retired in 1964 with a 211-169 record, with 1,999 strikeouts. I can’t even begin to the count the number of those games I saw at Comiskey, listened to on the radio or watched on television. He wore #19 for the White Sox, and when I became a Yankee, that’s the number I wanted to wear, as a tribute to my favorite guy. I got to know Billy over the years and there was never a time when I was not in awe of his presence. God Bless You, Billy Pierce, and RIP.