Chester R. “Chet” Nichols spent nine years as a major league pitcher. As a rookie with the Boston Braves, he led the National League in 1951 with the lowest earned run average. Chet was a schoolboy pitching star and all-state selection at Pawtucket East High School. He was signed as a young left-hander with the Braves in 1949 making the big club in 1951 at the age of 20. In his rookie year, he won eleven games and had an earned run average of 2.88 finishing second in the rookie-of-the-year voting to Willie Mays. Chet also pitched for the Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds before leaving the major leagues to become a banker. After a productive financial career, Chet retired in 1987 as vice president and senior lender at Rhode Island Hospital Trust.
Chet was one of the driving forces in obtaining financing for the creation of the Pawtucket Red Sox and had been the head of a search committee which explained the benefits of Triple-A baseball to owner Ben Mondor. Chet was a charter member of the Pawtucket Hall of Fame and a life member of the Association of Professional Ball Players of America. In 1989 he was appointed pitching coach of the Baltimore Orioles Class A rookie team in Bluefield, West Virginia.
Chet’s teammate, Hall of Fame pitcher Warren Spahn, said of Chet: “He was smart, you could see that even when he was twenty. Great control. He had it all.” Another teammate, Russ Gibson, said “he looked like a big Leaguer. He was tall, handsome, a good looking guy who dressed well. And he always had a smile; he was pleasant; that was what the Big Leagues were all about back then. He was a Hall of Fame person.”