Saturday, May 27, 2017

#330 Jim Hunter

Known to all as “Catfish” because a myth made up by huckster owner Charlie O Finley....Hall of Famer a study in contrasts...Career spent with two clubs enshrouded in controversy....Joined the KC Athletics out of high school never played a day in the bush leagues....instantly pressed into rotation....wins were periodic as KC/Oakland collected prospects and Catfish was on a prolonged mend  from a teenage hunting accident to his foot....gave a glimpse of future dominance with a perfect game against Twins in 1968....Win totals doesn’t hit overdrive until 1970 logging 18....Joins the 20 win club in 1971 aiding himself with .350 BA....repeats 21 wins two more times ...Takes AL Cy Young with 25 wins as the A’s become three peat World Champs 1974....Bid farewell to the bay area as Hunter and the Players Union declared that Charlie O defaulted on Catfish’ two year contract by failing to pay promised insurance annuities....declared agent and wooed by nearly all teams....Donned Yankee pinstripes for 1975 by virtue of persuasion of the ex KC  then Yankee scout who got Catfish to sign as a teenager....The move spelled the end of A’s rule of baseball, next season many would follow by letting their contracts run out....Hunter took to NYY like a catfish to bayou water winning 23 games...No 2 in Cy Young voting....helped Yankees to WS in 1976 with 17 wins....contributed for two more years with a handful of wins as he lost out in the numbers game with new imported free agent arms....struggled thru a 2-9 record in 1979 which finished out his career at age of 33....In post season went 7-2 for Oakland,  2-4 with NYY....five consecutive year run of 20+ win seasons....sadly died from  complication of ALS at age 53.

1 comment:

  1. He was "instantly pressed into service", but not until spending a year on the DL because of a foot injury (I think it was a hunting accident.)