West, Weldon

Player Name: West, Weldon
Primary Position: Relief pitcher
Birthplace: Gibsonville

First, Middle Names:  Weldon Edison
Nickname: Lefty

Date of Birth:  Sept. 3, 1915   Date and Place of Death: July 23, 1979, Hendersonville, NC
Burial: Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hendersonville, NC

High School: Undetermined
College: Did Not Attend

Bats: R Throws: L        Height and Weight: 6-0, 165
Debut Year: 1944        Final Year: 1945          Years Played: 2
Team and Years: St. Louis Browns, 1944-45

Career Summary
G          W        L          Sv        ERA     IP         SO       WAR
35        3         4          0         4.29     98.2     49        -0.5

Weldon “Lefty” West lost almost twice as many games as he won down in the low minors, but he got his shot in the major leagues as World War II ground on and depleted team rosters. When the war ended, West finished his career back in the bushes.

The fourth of William and Almeda’s five children, Weldon Edison West was born in Gibsonville in Guilford County in 1915. The family moved to nearby High Point, North Carolina, by 1930 where William was a foreman in a furniture factory.

West signed his first professional contract eight years later with the Indians, a Class D team in Lexington, North Carolina.  He would play nine seasons mostly in the low minor leagues, compiling a 59-94 record. He had his best year in 1938, winning 18 games for the Class D Pioneers in Americus, Georgia.

Like all major-league clubs in 1944, the St. Louis Browns were desperate for pitching. They took a chance with West. He had lost 16 games with the Class AA Oakland Oaks the previous season, but his 3.63 earned-run average, or ERA, offered promise. He appeared in only 11 games as a reliever before the World Series-bound Browns released him in August. He was back the following year, however, and showed that he could be a useful pitcher in the big leagues. He appeared in 24 games, eight as a starter, and gave up about 3.5 runs a game.

The Browns, though, released West at the end of the 1945 season. He played one more year in the low minors before retiring.

He and his wife, Mae, lived in Kernersville, North Carolina, where they raised a daughter and West worked in a mill that made silk. He died in 1979 in Hendersonville, North Carolina.