Jack Sanford (sanfoja02)

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John Stanley Sanford

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Biographical Information[edit]

Jack Sanford grew up in Wellesley, MA, where he played baseball for the local high school. Shortly after graduation in 1947, he went to a mass tryout held by the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox did not sign him, saying he was too small, but afterward an observer associated with Philadelphia Phillies scout Joe Labate took his name and address to pass on to his ballclub. Eventually Sanford signed with the Phillies and began his professional career with their Class D affiliate, the Bradford Blue Wings.[1]

He played with Bradford in 1948, ending the season with the Dover Phillies. In 1949, he was with the Americus Phillies and in 1950 with the Wilmington Blue Rocks. He spent the 1951 and 1952 seasons with the Schenectady Blue Jays and in 1953 made it to the International League with the Baltimore Orioles in their last season as a minor league team. In 1954, he played for the Syracuse Chiefs in the same league.

In 1955, Sanford served in the U.S. Army, missing the entire season. After his military service was completed, he pitched in three games for the Philadelphia Phillies in September of 1956, and in 1957 spent the entire year with the big league team, pitching sensationally and winning the Rookie of the Year Award.

After the 1958 season he was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Valmy Thomas and Ruben Gomez. There he enjoyed perhaps his greatest season in 1962, winning 16 straight starts in the middle of the season and finishing second to Don Drysdale in the Cy Young Award voting. His performance was a key factor in the Giants' winning their first pennant in San Francisco.

Sanford had a reputation for having a bad temper. During a minor league game in 1954 he once refused to give up the ball when his manager came to the mound to take him out of the game, drawing a ten-day suspension. [2] He was a hard thrower who found his greatest success when he learned to mix in a slow curve along with the fastball.

After his playing career ended, he was a Cleveland Indians coach in 1968 and 1969. He worked as a golf director at country clubs after retiring from baseball. He died of brain cancer on March 7, 2000.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 1957 NL Rookie of the Year Award
  • NL All-Star (1957)
  • NL Strikeouts Leader (1957)
  • NL Shutouts Leader (1960)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 4 (1957, 1959, 1962 & 1963)
  • 20 Wins Seasons: 1 (1962)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 6 (1957 & 1959-1963)

NL Rookie of the Year
1956 1957 1958
Frank Robinson Jack Sanford Orlando Cepeda


  1. "Baseball's Oldest Youngster", Saturday Evening Post Vol. 230 no. 39, March 29, 1958, p.27.
  2. Jack Zanger, "Jack Sanford: Broth of a Pitcher," in Baseball Stars of 1963 Pyramid Books, 1963. p. 38.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jim Hawkins: Jack Sanford: From Blightville to the Big Leagues, 3 Swallys Press, Cambridge, MA, 2016. ISBN 978-0988230071

Related Sites[edit]