||thenewyorkyankeesfanclub Yahoo! Group|
||Catfish Hunter Birthday (1946)|
||Sunday April 8, 2012|
||This event repeats every year.|
||James Augustus "Catfish" Hunter (April 8, 1946 - September 9, 1999), was a Major League right-handed starting pitcher between 1965 and 1979. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987.|
Charles O. Finley, owner of the Kansas City A's, gave Hunter the nickname "Catfish". The investment that Finley and the Athletics made in "Catfish" was returned many times over. Following the 1967 season, Charles Finley moved the Athletics from Kansas City to Oakland, and on May 8, 1968, against the Minnesota Twins, Hunter pitched the first perfect game in the American League since 1922.
He continued to win games, and in 1974 received both The Sporting News's "Pitcher of the Year" award and the American League Cy Young Award after going 25-12 with a league leading 2.49 earned run average. After a contract dispute with Finley in 1974, Hunter left the Athletics in 1975 for the New York Yankees. Catfish's statistics while he was with the Athletics were impressive: four consecutive years with at least 20 wins, and four World Series wins without a loss.
Hunter became the highest paid pitcher in baseball when he signed with the Yankees in 1975. He led the league in wins (23) for the second year in a row, and also led the league in innings pitched (328) and complete games (30) to finish second to the Baltimore Orioles' Jim Palmer in the American League Cy Young balloting. Hunter also became only the fourth (and last) American League pitcher to win 20 games in a season for five consecutive seasons (1971-1975).
In 1976, Hunter won 17 games, led the Yankees in complete games and innings pitched, and was again named to the All-Star team. The Yankees won three straight pennants with Hunter from 1976 to 1978. However, the years of arm strain and the effects of diabetes had begun to toll on the pitcher and in 1979, Hunter retired from baseball.