Saturday, February 15, 2014

#738 Jim Merritt

This somber man, never sported a smile in any know photographs…In this spring training picture is no exception... experienced a tremendous come down in 1971…Oh what difference a year makes…In 1970, he a vital cog in the 102 win big red machine the seemingly invincible team until the WS….a 20 game winner and 4th in NL Cy Young voting and 12 complete games….then the crash of 71, as Merritt’s  record collapsed to 1--11 with no complete games ….Similarly the Reds fell too losing 23 more games to a sub .500 79-83 record….Merritt cited arm troubles that developed in 1970 (sound familiar Wayne Simpson?)…argument could be made for this…several late season starts were shaky and the exceptional Reds run support of that year covered up this fact…While Merritt’s ERA increased to 4.37 in 1971 (same as 1969 when he won 17 as a first year Red) Reds run support dwindled to 2.3 runs per Merritt starts..Was 0-11, when he won first game pitching 5 inning of relief on August 21… In 1972 Jim primarily languished in AAA in an unspectacular effort and appeared in 4 games in a Reds uniform…Next season was acquired by Texas and given 19 starts…had an excellent July, 5 out of 6 starts were complete games…but a losing record at 5-13 however his ERA that year was better than his 20 game win season...Started with the Twins organization and won 37 of 78 decisions with 3.03 ERA…traded to Reds for Leo Cardenez.


  1. Besides Merritt and Simpson, other Reds' pitchers of that era developing arm injuries included Gary Nolan, Don Gullett, and Wayne Granger (although the last 2 went down after leaving the Reds).

  2. Hi Douglas. Google image search Jim Merritt and you'll find a few (scant few) pictures of Merritt smiling. Including one rather creepy looking b&w headshot wearing a mustache and a Rangers cap. Keep up the great work.

  3. I see it and you're right ...Merritt does expose his teeth in a few shots..kind of like the 80's actress Morgan Fairchild upside down smile...smiling just seemed to be out of his comfort zone.. My brother is like that (Love ya Larry). Thank you jim and Rumple for imput. You're my biggest fans.