Former White Sox pitcher LaMarr Hoyt dies at 66 after lengthy illness

The right-hander won the AL Cy Young Award with the 1983 division-champion ‘Winning Ugly’ White Sox.

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Members of the 1983 Division champion White Sox LaMarr Hoyt (left), Harold Baines (center) and Tony LaRussa after Hoyt and LaRussa threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Sox played the Oakland Athletics in Chicago on Sunday, June 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Cherney)

LaMarr Hoyt, the 1983 American League Cy Young Award winner who helped the “Winning Ugly” White Sox capture the AL West that season, died Monday in Columbia, South Carolina, after a long illness, the Sox confirmed Wednesday. He was 66.

Hoyt, who had a 98-68 record and a 3.99 ERA with 48 complete games during an eight-year career, went 24-10 with a 3.66 ERA in 1983, winning 13 straight games in one stretch in the second half. He walked only 31 batters in 260‰ innings. After a 13-18 record and 4.77 ERA in 1984, Hoyt was traded to the Padres in a multiplayer deal that brought shortstop Ozzie Guillen to the South Side.

“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 that 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.”

Said Sox manager Tony La Russa, who managed Hoyt during the pitcher’s years with the Sox: “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.”

Born Dewey LaMarr Hoyt Jr. on Jan. 1, 1955, in Columbia, Hoyt was drafted by the Yankees in 1973, traded to the Sox in 1977 with Oscar Gamble and Bob Polinsky for shortstop Bucky Dent and made his major-league debut with the Sox on Sept. 14, 1979, against the Athletics. He opened the 1980 season in the rotation and in 1982 led the AL with 19 wins.

“We brought him up, and nothing bothered him,” La Russa said. “He had this impressive cool where he believed if he made his pitches, he would get hitters out. What a great competitor.”

With the Padres in 1985, Hoyt was the starting and winning pitcher for the National League at the All-Star Game in Minnesota and was named the game’s MVP.

He finished the season with a 16-8 record and 3.47 ERA in 31 starts.

Hoyt fell victim to drug problems and was out of baseball by 1987. In his last season in 1986 with the Padres, he had a 5.15 ERA in 35 games.

He was arrested twice on drug-possession charges after the 1985 season and was arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border after the 1986 season. He was sentenced to 45 days in jail on Dec. 16, 1986, and suspended by commissioner Peter Ueberroth.

The Sox signed Hoyt after the Padres released him, giving him a second chance, but he was arrested a fourth time, ending his return.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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