Saturday, June 6, 2009

1976 Topps #102 - Jim Willoughby

Jim Willoughby pitched mostly out of the bullpen for the Giants, Red Sox, and White Sox between 1971 and 1978

  • Jim started in the San Francisco Giants organization in 1967. He bounced around a lot between the parent San Francisco team and the AAA Phoenix Giants. I probably saw him pitch a few times, but I probably was too young to remember it. He was mostly a starter with Phoenix, although the parent club used him mostly as a reliever.
  • After a cup of coffee in 1971, Jim had a pretty good year for the Giants in 1972. He was 6-4 with a 2.36 ERA in 11 starts. Willoughby didn't fare as well in 1973 (4-5, 4.68 in 39 games) or 1974 (1-4, 4.65 in 18 games). He was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Tom Heintzelman after the 1974 season. Jim spent the beginning of the '75 season pitching for AA Tulsa, then the Cards traded him to the Boston Red Sox for Mario Guerrero on July 4. Jim went 5-2 with a 3.54 ERA in 24 games for the Red Sox. Jim took the loss in game 2 of the 1975 World Series on an unearned run in the bottom of the 10th inning.
  • Jim went 3-12, got 10 saves in 1976 and had a 2.82 ERA in 54 games in 1976.
  • Jim was part of the "Buffalo Heads" in Boston during the mid to late 1970s. His SABR baseball biography page has more information about that.
  • He went 6-2 with a 4.84 ERA in 1977 and then was purchased by the Chicago White Sox after the season.
  • In his last season (1978), Jim was 1-6 with a 3.86 ERA for the White Sox. He pitched for two AAA clubs in 1979 but never made it back to the majors. Unknown to him at the time, he was pitching with type 1 diabetes.
  • Jim had problems with alcohol and drugs during his career and after his career. Here is his website (there isn't much on there right now).

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