James "Jim" Augustus Hunter
Born: April 8, 1946 in Hertford, N.C.
Died: Aug. 30, 1999 in Hertford, N.C.
Debut: 1965 | Pos: P
H: 6' | W: 195 | B: R | T: R
>> Visit the Catfish Hunter biography on Baseball Almanac for complete statistics.
Jim "Catfish" Hunter, who won 224 games in his career and earned a spot in the Hall of Fame, died on Aug. 30, 1999 in Hertford, N.C.
Hunter won 20 or more games five times in his career, leading the AL in victories twice. On May 5, 1968, Hunter pitched a perfect game against the Twins -- the first regular-season perfect game in 46 years.
An event that happened in his career in 1973 would have a far-reaching impact on baseball. Hunter had agree to a $100,000 a year contract with Oakland owner Charlie Finley with half of that amount payable directly to an annuity. During the 1974 season, it was reported that Finley had failed to make the payment. According to reports, Hunter refused to discuss the situation until after the World Series in Los Angeles. Finley even tried to give him a check for $50,000.
As soon as the A's won the World Series, the Players Association claimed that Finley had breached the contract and Hunter won free agency in a hearing before arbitrator Peter Seitz. Other owners were shocked by the decision but they also made offers to Hunter.
He signed with the Yankees for $3 million and, in 1975, won 23 games for New York. He started 39 games that season and complete 30 of those starts.
He pitched for the Yankees until 1979 despite dealing with the effects of diabetes.
He was elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame in 1987.
The "Catfish" nickname is credited to Finley who liked the marketing value and who had been a fan of Catfish Metkovich.