Wednesday, February 3, 2016

#499 Johnny James

Johnny James   New York Yankees

Career: Threw a couple of innings in 1958 with the Yanks but had longer stints in 1960 (Yankees) and 1961 (Angels). He wasn't an expansion pick by the Angels but was dealt there a month into the '61 season. In 66 MLB games (3 starts) he won five games and lost three.

In 1960: Went 5-1 with a pair of saves with the Yanks in half a year. He was farmed out near the end of July (see quote below).

WikiFacts: From a interview in 2009:
In 1960 I was doing pretty well. I was 5-1 and had pitched in more games than any other pitcher. Casey comes with a left-handed pitcher who was playing down in Richmond, named Billy Short. He called me into the office after I had pitched the last four innings of a game against the White Sox, and sent me back to Richmond. I had an option left in my contract. The guys told me he didn’t really want to send me back, he wanted to get rid of Duke Maas, but Casey had a thing about, a fear I should say, about giving up a player who might be picked up by another team in the American League, and the possibility of hurting the Yankees later on.Since they had an option on my contract, they didn’t have to ask waivers on me. They sent me back, which really kind of broke my heart, and I didn’t really react to it very well.
The Card: I think he sort of resembles Bobby Shantz but that has nothing to do with the card I guess. Spring training photo and probably the only Topps card to ever reference a spring training no-hitter with a cartoon.

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