EDWARD A. WOLFE JR. (1929–2009)
Edward Anthony Wolfe Jr. was born on January 2, 1929, in Los Angeles, California, the son of Edward Anthony Wolfe and Anna Luetta Murphy Wolfe. His siblings included James Edward (b. 1921), Julianna A. “Julie” (b. 1923), Margaret Sue (b. 1925), and Jack Frankhobart (b. 1931).
The senior Wolfe was the son of Richard Carey Wolfe, whose parents had immigrated from County Kerry to LaSalle County, Illinois, and then to Clinton County, Iowa, where they farmed. He served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1917 to 1919 and then worked on highway engineering projects in Jerome, Arizona, and Los Angeles, before settling in Escondido, San Diego County.
Ed Wolfe Jr. graduated from Escondido Union High School in 1946 and then served two years as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army, spending a year in occupied Japan. After his discharge, he attended Fullerton Junior College in Fullerton, Orange County, California. In 1949, he signed a contract to pitch for a minor league affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and spent eight years in baseball, playing in California, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Louisiana.
In 1952, he was called up to pitch for the Pirates, making his Major League debut on April 19 against the Cincinnati Reds, a game the Pirates lost 9 to 3. In two-thirds of an inning Wolfe gave up two hits and two earned runs, an inauspicious start for the six-foot-three, hard-throwing right-hander and member of what a local paper dubbed general manager Branch Rickey’s “Pirate kindergarten.”
The Pirates were already showing signs of what would be become a historically bad season. The team ended with a record of 42–112, putting them 54.5 games behind the first-place Brooklyn Dodgers. The team’s .273 winning percentage is the seventh worst in baseball’s modern era.
Wolfe pitched again on April 21 and April 25 before being sent back to the minor leagues. He never pitched in the Majors again, having thrown just three and two-thirds innings and given up seven hits, three earned runs, one home run, and five bases on balls. He struck out one and hit one batter. Wolfe’s brother Jack played three seasons of minor league baseball but never made it to the Major Leagues.
Wolfe married Sally K. Grunning about 1950; the couple divorced in January 1977. He married Diane Marie Doer on May 11, 1980, in Contra Costa, California. Ed Wolfe died on March 8, 2009, and is interred at Oak Hill Memorial Park, in Escondido.