Walter William Pierce is a former American Major League Baseball player who played on three teams for 18 seasons, from 1945 through 1964. A left handed starting pitcher, he was one of the best pitchers in the 1950s. On June 27, 1958, he came within one batter of becoming the first left-hander in 78 years to throw a perfect game. He was a Major League All-Star seven times. He received the The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year Award for 1956 and 1957.
Pierce was one of the major participants in the rivalry between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees, especially his left-handed pitching matchups with left handed starting pitcher Whitey Ford. The two pitchers opposed one another 14 times, from 1955 to 1960. Pierce's record suffered from pitching so much against New York – who he faced more often than any other team – when the Yankees dynasty was at its peak; although his career record against New York was only 25–37, that was still slightly better than the 27–41 mark compiled by National League championship teams over 11 World Series against the Yankees during the same period.
After joining the San Francisco Giants in 1962, Pierce played a pivotal role in helping the Giants win the National League pennant, going 12–0 in home games and getting a three-hit shutout and a save in a three-game tie-breaker against the Los Angeles Dodgers to clinch the title. His 1,999 career strikeouts were the fifth most by a left-hander when he retired, and his AL total of 1,842 ranked ninth in league history. He also ranked tenth among left-handers in career wins, sixth in games started and games pitched, eighth in shutouts and ninth in innings pitched. He holds the White Sox franchise record for career strikeouts, and his club marks of 186 wins, 2,931 innings and 390 starts are team records for a left-hander.