Jimmy Wynn
Jimmy Wynn 2011.jpg
Wynn in 2011
Outfielder
Born: (1942-03-12)March 12, 1942
Hamilton, Ohio
Died: March 26, 2020(2020-03-26) (aged 78)
Houston, Texas
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 10, 1963, for the Houston Colt .45s
Last MLB appearance
September 27, 1977, for the Milwaukee Brewers
MLB statistics
Batting average.250
Home runs291
Runs batted in964
Teams
Career highlights and awards

James Sherman Wynn (March 12, 1942 – March 26, 2020), nicknamed "The Toy Cannon", was an American professional baseball player. He played 15 seasons as a center fielder; he spent ten of his fifteen seasons with the Houston Colt .45s / Astros before playing for four other teams. Wynn was nicknamed "The Toy Cannon" because his bat was described as having a lot of "pop" for his small size at 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) and 160 lb (73 kg).

Professional career

Minor leagues

Wynn's career started in 1962 when the Cincinnati Reds signed him as an amateur free agent after he attended Taft High School. He played that season with the Tampa Tarpons in the Florida State League. He played mostly at third base, batting .290 with 14 home runs. After the season, he was drafted by the then Houston Colt .45s in the 1962 first-year minor league player draft.

Houston Astros (1963–1973)

Wynn began the 1963 season with the Double-A San Antonio Bullets in the Texas League, and while there split his time between shortstop and third base while batting .288 with 16 home runs in 78 games. He was promoted to the major leagues in July, and made his major league debut on July 10. Starting at shortstop, he went 1-for-4 with a stolen base. He split his time during the rest of that initial season between shortstop and the outfield, most often playing left field. He finished the season having played in 70 games, having 61 hits, four home runs, 27 runs batted in, four stolen bases and a .244 batting average.

Having struggled defensively at shortstop, Wynn was converted to a full-time outfielder in 1964. He opened the season as the Colt .45s starting center fielder, but was sent back to the minor leagues in June, with Mike White taking over. He was called up in September, and finished the season starting in center field. He ended the season having played 67 games, with 49 hits, five home runs, 18 runs batted in, five stolen bases, and a .224 batting average.

He played his first full season the following year, playing in 157 games; accordingly, he had 155 hits, 22 home runs, 73 runs batted in, 43 stolen bases and a .275 batting average and a .371 on-base percentage.

His 1966 season ended abruptly after 105 games after breaking his left arm crashing into the outfield wall at Connie Mack Stadium chasing down a Dick Allen fly ball resulting in a game-winning, inside-the-park home run for Allen and the Philadelphia Phillies in the bottom of the 10th inning on August 1, 1966.[1][2][3][4][5] He had 107 hits, 18 home runs, 62 runs batted in, 13 stolen bases, a .256 batting average and .321 on-base percentage.[6]

His 1967 season was a return to form, as he played in 158 games, having 148 hits, 37 home runs (a career high), 107 runs batted in, 16 stolen bases, a .249 batting average and a .331 on-base percentage, was named to his first ever All-Star Game and finished 11th in the MVP voting, being edged out by Hank Aaron (and his 39 home runs) in the home run chase for the season in the final days of the season; it has been speculated Wynn may have lost a substantial number of home runs to the lengthy fences in the Astrodome, while Aaron played in the more homer-friendly Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium. Aaron himself commented he considered Wynn the season's home run champion.[7] Perhaps Wynn's most famous home run came on June 10 of the 1967 season at Crosley Field. The shot, which came in the eighth inning of the Astros' 8–3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, cleared the 58-foot scoreboard in left-center field and landed on Interstate 75 outside the stadium. Five days later, Wynn became the first Houston batter to hit three home runs in one game as his Astros defeated the San Francisco Giants 6–2 at the Astrodome. In the first game of a doubleheader against the Pittsburgh Pirates one month later, on July 23, Wynn hit another tape measure home run, the ball clearing Forbes Field's center-field wall 457 feet (139 m) from home plate.[8]

The following season, he played in 156 games while having 146 hits, 85 runs, 26 home runs, 67 runs batted in, 11 stolen bases with a .269 batting average and a .376 on-base percentage, although he walked 90 times and struck out 131 times.

His 1969 season had its highs and lows, as he played in 149 games while having 133 hits, 113 runs, 33 home runs, 87 runs batted in, 23 stolen bases, 148 walks (leading the major leagues) for a .269 batting average and a .436 on-base percentage, although he struck out 142 times. He finished 15th in the MVP balloting. The following year, he played in 157 games while having 156 hits, 82 runs, 27 home runs, 88 runs batted in, 24 stolen bases, 106 walks, 96 strike outs, and a .282 batting average with a .394 on-base percentage. In the 1971 season, he played in 123 games (his least since 1966), having 82 hits, 38 runs, seven home runs, 45 runs batted in, 10 stolen bases, 56 walks, 63 strike outs, with a .203 batting average and .302 on-base percentage. He returned to form the following season, playing in 145 games while having 148 hits, 117 runs, 24 home runs, 90 runs batted in, 17 stolen bases, 103 walks, 99 strikeouts, and a .273 batting average and a .389 on-base percentage. The 1973 season was his final one with the Astros. He played in 139 games, having 106 hits, 90 runs, 20 home runs, 55 runs batted in, 14 stolen bases, 91 walks, 102 strikeouts with a .220 batting average and a .347 on-base percentage.

On December 6, 1973, he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for David Culpepper and Claude Osteen.

Los Angeles Dodgers (1974–1975)

Wynn at Minute Maid Park, 2010
Wynn at Minute Maid Park, 2010

In his first season with the Dodgers, he played in 150 games, having 145 hits, 104 runs, 32 home runs, 108 runs batted in (a career high), 18 stolen bases, 108 walks, 104 strikeouts, with a .271 batting average and a .387 on-base percentage. He was named to the All-Star Game that season, while finishing 5th in the MVP balloting and being awarded by The Sporting News with the Comeback Player of the Year Award in helping the Dodgers win the National League pennant. In the 1974 NLCS, he had just two hits in 10 at-bats, although he walked nine times and had two runs batted in and scored four runs while they beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in four games. In the 1974 World Series, he went 3-for-16 while having two runs batted in and his only postseason home run was off Rollie Fingers in the 9th inning of Game 1 in a losing cause.

Wynn started 1975 well, although a bad shoulder injury limited his effectiveness at the plate and making throws from center field, thus he was moved to left field. In his second (and last season) with the Dodgers, he played in 130 games, having 102 hits, 80 runs, 18 home runs, 58 runs batted in, seven stolen bases, 110 walks, 77 strikeouts with a .248 batting average and .403 on-base percentage. He was named to the All-Star Game, his third and final selection. Wynn homered in the 2nd inning of the All-Star Game that year, leading the National League to a 6-3 victory.

On November 17, 1975, he (along with Lee Lacy, Tom Paciorek and Jerry Royster) was traded to the Atlanta Braves for Dusty Baker and Ed Goodson.

Atlanta Braves (1976)

In his only season with the Braves, Wynn played in 148 games, having 93 hits, 75 runs, 17 home runs, 66 runs batted in, 16 stolen bases, 127 walks (leading the major leagues), 111 strikeouts, a .207 batting average and a .377 on-base percentage.

On November 30, he was purchased by the New York Yankees.

New York Yankees / Milwaukee Brewers (1977)

Wynn spent the final year of his playing career mainly as a designated hitter for the New York Yankees and Milwaukee Brewers, having been released by the Yankees on July 14, then was signed as a free agent by the Brewers 12 days later. He played in 30 games for the Yankees and 36 for the Brewers, for a total of 66 games, garnering 34 total hits, one home run, 13 runs batted in, four stolen bases, 32 walks, 47 strikeouts, with a .175 batting average and a .289 on-base percentage.

On October 28, he was released by the Brewers.

Career statistics

In 1,920 games over 15 seasons, Wynn had 8,011 plate appearances and compiled a .250 batting average (1,665-for-6,653) with 1,105 runs, 285 doubles, 39 triples, 291 home runs, 964 RBI, 225 stolen bases, 1,224 base on balls, 1,427 strikeouts, .366 on-base percentage and .436 slugging percentage. Defensively, he posted a career .980 fielding percentage. Among players with a batting average of .250 or lower, he has the third highest wins above replacement (WAR) at 55.8, with only Graig Nettles and Darrell Evans having a higher WAR. He also had eight seasons with an Adjusted OPS+ of 130 (100 is considered league average) eight times.[9][10]

Following retirement

AstrosRet 24.PNG
Jimmy Wynn's number 24 was retired by the Houston Astros in 2005.

Wynn's number 24 was retired by the Astros on June 25, 2005, when the Astros played the Texas Rangers. Jason Lane, who wore Wynn's 24 before the ceremony, changed his number to 16 as a result.

Wynn previously served as a post-game analyst on Houston Astros television broadcasts on FSN Houston. He also served as a community outreach executive for the team.

In popular culture

In the 1995 film Apollo 13, television footage of Wynn rounding third base is shown as the Apollo astronauts broadcast what they erroneously think is a live feed to a national audience.

Death

Wynn died on March 26, 2020, two weeks after his 58th birthday, in Houston, Texas. No cause of death was given. He is survived by his wife Marie, his daughter Kimberly, and his son James Jr.[11]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Philadelphia Phillies 6, Houston Astros 5". retrosheet.org. August 1, 1966. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
  2. ^ "Phillies Sneak by Astros". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press (AP). August 2, 1966. p. 2, part 2. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
  3. ^ "Phils Nip Astros On Allen's HR: Callison Raps Pair In 6-5 Victory; Jim Wynn Hurt". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press (AP). August 2, 1966. p. 16. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
  4. ^ "Allen's Home Run Keeps Astros Losing". Milwaukee Journal. August 2, 1966. p. 14, part 2. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
  5. ^ "Wynn 11th Astro to Be Injured". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press (AP). August 3, 1966. p. 4, part 2. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
  6. ^ "1966 Batting Gamelogs". baseball-reference.com. sports-reference.com. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
  7. ^ "Jim Wynn Tribute". astrosdaily.com. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
  8. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Wynn hits tape-measure blast at Forbes Field". YouTube.
  9. ^ "Remembering Jimmy Wynn, the Toy Cannon (1942-2020)". April 2020.
  10. ^ "Best low batting average players MLB history". MLB.com.
  11. ^ "Ex-Astros slugger Jimmy Wynn, nicknamed 'Toy Cannon,' dies at 78". ESPN.com. Bristol, Connecticut: ESPN Internet Ventures. Associated Press. March 26, 2020. Retrieved March 26, 2020.