Jim Whitney

From BR Bullpen

Jim Whitney.jpg

James Evans Whitney
(Grasshopper Jim)

  • Bats Left, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 2", Weight 172 lb.

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

"There were no restrictions placed on (pitchers) as to delivery, and they could double up like a jack-knife and deliver the ball. That was the way Jim Whitney used to do, and he would let the ball go at terrific speed. It was a wonder that anyone was able to hit him at all. He was the swiftest pitcher I ever saw." - Hall of Famer Jim O'Rourke, quoted in Sporting Life of December 4, 1915

Jim Whitney holds the record for most wins in a season with a sub-.500 winning percentage. In 1881, pitching for the Boston Red Caps in his first major league season, he won 31 games but lost 33 and his final winning percentage was only .484. He happened to lead the league in both wins and losses that year too.

Whitney was known for throwing extremely hard and would apparently cheat by throwing overhand before it was allowed in the National League and was know for getting away with it by intimidating umpires. He was also known to be wild and as of 2024 ranks second on the Atlanta Braves all-time list of wild pitches thrown with 162. One fan who recalled seeing Whitney pitch distinctly remembered the loud sound of the ball knocking off the wooden backstop.

In addition to pitching, he also played over 100 games at other positions and was a good hitter, sometimes finishing among league leaders in hitting categories. He also umpired three National League games between 1884 and 1888.

Whitney died young. According to this article [1], quoting Al Maul, Whitney was hit by a batted ball around 1888 (Bill Kuehne was said to be the batter), never was quite the same afterwards, and died a few years later.

See this article [2] for several games Whitney won over the 1883 Beaneaters in September 1883 to "snatch" the pennant away from them.

''Whitney is probably the franchise’s greatest control artist/strike-thrower, which is fairly significant considering that Greg Maddux pitched for this same franchise." - from a blog [3] considering various players from the Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta franchise as Hall of Fame candidates

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL Wins Leader (1881)
  • NL Games Pitched Leader (1881)
  • NL Saves Leader (1883)
  • NL Innings Pitched Leader (1881)
  • NL Strikeouts Leader (1883)
  • NL Complete Games Leader (1881)
  • 20 Wins Seasons: 5 (1881-1884 & 1887)
  • 30 Wins Seasons: 2 (1881 & 1883)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 8 (1881-1888)
  • 300 Innings Pitched Seasons: 8 (1881-1888)
  • 400 Innings Pitched Seasons: 5 (1881-1883, 1885 & 1887)
  • 500 Innings Pitched Seasons: 2 (1881 & 1883)
  • 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 3 (1883-1885)
  • 300 Strikeouts Seasons: 1 (1883)

Related Sites[edit]