LaMarr Hoyt (born January 1, 1955 in Columbia, South Carolina) is a former right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball who won the 1983 American League Cy Young Award. He was a control specialist on the mound and an uncontrol specialist off it, his career destroyed by drugs after it had barely taken off.
Originally a New York Yankees prospect, Hoyt went to the Chicago White Sox with fellow pitcher Bob Polinsky and outfielder Oscar Gamble in the 1977 season-opening deal that sent the Yankees shortstop Bucky Dent. A relief pitcher when he made the White Sox to stay in 1980, Hoyt was switched to the starting rotation in 1982 and tied a club record by winning his first nine decisions. The record was first set by future "Black Sox" pitcher Lefty Williams in 1917 and equaled by Orval Grove in 1943. Hoyt ended up leading the American League with 19 wins and showed devastating control on the mound: he walked a mere 48 batters in 239 2/3 innings.
Hoyt was even better in 1983, leading the White Sox to the American League West title with a 24-10 won-lost record, a 3.66 ERA, and even better control than the year before: this time, Hoyt walked 31 batters in 260 and 2/3 innings' work. He also beat the Baltimore Orioles in the first game of the 1983 American League Championship Series. Unfortunately, it was the only game the White Sox won in the set.
Hoyt wasn't even close to the only reason the White Sox faltered in 1984, though his 13-18 won-lost record with a 4.47 ERA was an alarming enough drop from winning the Cy Young Award, but the White Sox dealt him to the San Diego Padres for 1985. Hoyt began promisingly enough, making the National League's All-Star team - and winning the game's Most Valuable Player award - en route to a 16-8 season with a 3.47 ERA, but he was more reliant on his fielders than on his own work; his walk totals lowered but so had his strikeouts.
There were those who suggested that something was eating the talent and in due course it became apparent enough: drugs. Hoyt was arrested twice in a month between January and February 1986 on drug possession charges, checking into a rehabilitation program nine days after the second arrest. It cost him most of the Padres' spring training, and he was neither a workhorse nor a winner when he did pitch in 1987, his season ending at an 8-11 won-lost record and a 5.15 ERA. Barely a month after the season ended, Hoyt was arrested again, this time on the U.S.-Mexico border for drug possession.
This time, Hoyt's second chances expired. He was sentenced to 45 days in jail on December 16, 1986 and barred from baseball, by then-Commissioner Peter Ueberroth, on February 25, 1987. An arbitrator cut Hoyt's suspension to sixty days in mid-June and ordered the Padres to reinstate him, but the Padres gave him his unconditional release the day after. The White Sox gave him a chance in 1988, signing him after his San Diego release and given time to get back into shape, but Hoyt never threw a pitch in major league baseball again. Thanks to drugs, this talented pitcher's eight-year major league career ended at age 31 with a 98-68 won-lost record, a lifetime 3.99 ERA in 244 games, 172 starts, 42 complete games and eight shutouts, while surrendering 582 earned runs and striking out 681 in 1311 and 1/3 innings pitched.
Hoyt today is reported drug-free and works for the White Sox as a roving organisation instructor. The cruel enough irony is that, when he first left the White Sox, Hoyt brought the team one of the richest dividends in its history: One of the players for whom Hoyt was dealt became the White Sox's longtime shortstop standout and, in 2005, managed the White Sox to an overwhelming conquest of the American League Central division, a division series sweep of the incumbent world champion Boston Red Sox, a striking five-game League Championship Series win over the Los Angeles Angels, and the ChiSox' first Fall Classic victory in 88 years: Ozzie Guillen.