Wednesday, October 21, 2009

1976 Topps #243 - Jim Rooker

  • Jim Rooker pitched in the majors from 1968-1980. He had his best years in the mid-70s with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was originally signed by the Detroit Tigers in 1960. Jim was in the minors from 1960-1968. Rooker was originally an outfielder and was moved to the mound in 1964. Jim pitched in a few games in late June and early July 1968 for the Tigers.
  • In 1968 Jim was purchased by the New York Yankees. He was then selected by the Kansas City Royals in the expansion draft. Jim started the 1969 season in the minors and was recalled in late April. He went 4-16 with a 3.75 ERA for the expansion Royals in 1969. Rooker stayed with the Royals for the entire 1970 season and improved to 10-15 with a 3.54 ERA.
  • In 1971 and 1972 Jim spent time in AAA and with the Royals. He was 2-7 with a 5.33 ERA in 1971. In 1972 Rooker was 5-6 with an ERA of 4.38. After the 1972 season Jim was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Gene Garber.
  • Rooker was a swingman for the Pirates in 1973. He was 10-6 with five saves and a 2.85 ERA in 41 games (18 starts). Jim probably had his best season in 1974--he started 33 games and was 15-11 with a 2.78 ERA. He allowed two runs in seven innings in game 2 of the National League Championship Series but did not get a decision.
  • Jim had a similar season in 1975. He started 28 games and was 13-11 with a 2.97 ERA. He lost game 2 of the 1975 NLCS--he allowed 4 runs in 4 innings. Rooker also had good years in 1976 (15-8, 3.35) and in 1977 (14-9, 3.08).
  • In 1978 Rooker slipped to a 9-11 record with an ERA of 4.24. The Pirates won the World Championship in 1979. Jim missed the first six weeks of the season and started only 17 games. He was 4-7 with a 4.60 ERA. He didn't pitch in the NLCS, but he appeared in two games in the World Series. He was a reliever in game 1. Bruce Kison had allowed five runs in the first inning. Jim pitched until the 5th inning without allowing any runs. He started game 5, which the Pirates won, but he only went five innings and the Pirates scored their runs in the 6th and later.
  • Rooker's last year in the majors was 1980. He started four games (2-2, 3.50) in April and May. He left his last start (May 2) after pitching 1/3 of an inning and allowing two runs.
  • After his playing career Rooker dabbled in politics. He ran as a Democrat for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and for the U.S. Congress. Jim lost both races.
  • Rooker was a Pirates broadcaster from 1981-1993. On June 8, 1989 he gained some noteriety by saying that he would walk home if the Philadelphia Phillies were to come back from a 10-run lead that the Pirates had. The Phillies ended up winning the game 15-11. Jim made good on his promise after the season by doing a charity walk from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh (about 300 miles).
  • Jim now writes children's literature, combining reading and baseball for young children.
  • Liked to face: Lou Brock (.192 in 62 AB); Rick Monday (.216 in 51 AB); Willie Montanez (.157 in 51 AB)
  • Hated to face: Pete Rose (.418 in 55 AB); Dave Kingman (.250 in 48 AB but had 6 HR); Manny Trillo (.400 in 50 AB)

1 comment:

  1. When I saw the Jim Rooker card, I was hoping you'd mention his walk from Philly to Pittsburgh! I can't believe that was 20 years ago.