Jack Harshman

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John Elvin Harshman

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Biographical Information[edit]

Tall, lanky lefty Jack Harshman began his career as a slugging first baseman but was converted to pitching early in his career, spending most of his big league days on the mound. However, he was always a threat to hit a homer, clubbing 21 round trippers in only 424 at-bats in the majors.

After briefly serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Harshman began his pro career in 1945 with the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League. With the Victoria Athletics in 1947, he hit .306 and led the Western International League with 36 home runs and 142 RBIs. Following that season, he was acquired by the New York Giants, and he earned a big league call-up late in the 1948 campaign, going 2-for-9 in 5 games. After slugging 40 homers for the Minneapolis Millers in 1949, he began 1950 as the Giants' Opening Day first baseman. However, after hitting just .125 in 9 games, he was sent back down to the minors. He hit 47 home runs for the Nashville Volunteers in 1951, leading the Southern Association and setting a SA record with 6 grand slams, but began to see significant playing time as a pitcher the following summer. After going 23-7 for Nashville in 1953, his contract was sold to the Chicago White Sox.

Harshman joined the White Sox staff in 1954, and after struggling to start the year (a 7.80 ERA through May), he soon became a mainstay of the Chicago rotation. Facing the Boston Red Sox on July 25th of that year, he struck out 16 batters to set a franchise record for strikeouts in a game. The record still stands, although it was tied by Lance Lynn in 2023. Less than a month later, on August 13th, he threw a 16-inning shutout against the Detroit Tigers. Overall that year, he went 14-8 with a 2.95 ERA.

Harshman had perhaps his best year in 1956, winning 15 games while hitting 6 home runs (a team record for a pitcher) in 71 at-bats. After going 8-8 for the Sox in 1957, he was dealt to the Baltimore Orioles as part of a seven-player trade. He later spent time with the Boston Red Sox and ended his big league career with the Cleveland Indians in 1960. He briefly returned to the Padres of the PCL in 1961.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (1956)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 2 (1956 & 1958)

Related Sites[edit]