Wednesday, February 13, 2013

HOF Sketch Card Project: Jim "Catfish" Hunter

A great regular-season pitcher and an even better hurler in the playoffs, Jim "Catfish" Hunter starred for the Kansas City/Oakland A's and New York Yankees between 1965 and 1979. The recipient of the 1974 American League Cy Young award, Hunter compiled a lifetime record of 224 wins and 166 losses with a 3.26 ERA. On May 8, 1968, Hunter became the first American League pitcher since 1922 to hurl a perfect game - the ninth in Major League history- when he victimized the Minnesota Twins. In total, he led his teams to 5 World Series championships - 3 with Oakland and 2 with New York. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987.

I completed this sketch card in December 2012.

10 random facts about Jim "Catfish" Hunter
  • As a rookie, he was given his nickname "Catfish" by Athletics owner Charles Finley in 1965, for no reason other than that he thought his new pitcher needed a flashy nickname.
  • Hunter's perfect game in 1968 was the first no-hitter for the A's since Bill McCahan's gem in 1947.
  • In 1974, he was named Pitcher of the Year by The Sporting News, as well as the AL Cy Young Award winner, after going 25-12 with a league-leading 2.49 ERA.
  • While with the A's, Hunter won at least 20 games in four consecutive years, and he had a perfect 4-0 pitching record in World Series contests.
  • Hunter signed with the Yankees in 1975, becoming the highest-paid pitcher in baseball in the process.
  • In 1975, his first season with the Yankees, Hunter became the fourth, and last, American League pitcher to win 20 games for 5 consecutive seasons.
  • Hunter joined Cy Young and Christy Mathewson as the only pitchers in history to win 200 games by the time they were 31 years old.
  • When Hunter was inducted into the Hall of Fame, he chose to be inducted with a blank cap on his plaque instead of being forced to choose induction as an Athletic or a Yankee.
  • His death in 1999 was a result of ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease.
  • While in high school, he was wounded in a hunting accident, leading him to lose one of his toes.

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