Saturday, June 4, 2016

Boy, Could That Fish Pitch! 6/4/16

Hey baseball fans!

Hall of Fame pitchers pitch for a long time, on average. Usually, their careers last about 20 years, which is a sufficient amount of time to pick up as many accolades as possible. However, there are a couple of pitchers who have pitched for a lot less than 20 years and are still immortalized in Cooperstown, one of them being the great Catfish Hunter.

Jim Hunter, better known as Catfish for his love of catching catfish, was awesome. His career from 1965-1979 with the Kansas City/Oakland A's and New York Yankees may have been short for a Hall of Famer, but it featured so many accomplishments, it's hard to remember all of them. Hunter actually didn't start off too well, as he began his career with five straight seasons of a .500-or-less winning percentage. Nonetheless, he still made two All Star appearances in 1966 and 1967 as a member of the Athletics. In 1970, his numbers started to look good, posting an 18-14 record and getting another All Star appearance. From that season on, he was unstoppable.

From 1971-1975, he never won less than 21 games in a season and his highest ERA during the 5-year span was 3.34. He even led the league in ERA in 1974 with a 2.49 ERA. That season, Hunter won 25 games and the AL Cy Young Award. After the 1974 season, Hunter became one of the first must-have pitchers in the free agent era. He ended up signing with the Yankees and played for them for five seasons. His first season with the Yanks saw his last year of 20 or more wins, but he still led the league with 23 of them. He would continue to dominate on the mound until his retirement in 1979. He finished his career with a record of 224-166 with a 3.26 ERA.

Hunter's playoff performances were also pretty solid. He appeared in six World Series, three with the A's and three with the Yankees, and posted a record of 5-3 with a 3.29 ERA. His best World Series was in 1974. After saving Game One, he started Game Three and put up a masterful performance. Hunter went 7 1/3 innings, allowed only one earned run, and struck out four in an eventual 3-2 A's win over the Dodgers. Because of his great pitching and the juggernaut teams he played with, he won five World Series championships during his career. Oh, and I haven't even gotten to his best career accomplishment: his perfect game! Hunter started for the A's on May 8, 1968 at home against the Twins. That day, he didn't allow a single runner to reach first base and struck out 11 batters. He was just 22 years old when he pitched the perfecto, making him the youngest pitcher even to throw a perfect game in the World Series era.

Hunter, deservedly so, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987 and has his #27 retired by the A's. I hope you enjoyed this post and thanks for reading it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

1 comment:

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