Harold Bentley Jeffcoat
Born: Sept. 6, 1924 in W. Columbia, S.C.
Died: Aug. 30, 2007 in Tampa, Fla.
Debut: 1948 | Pos: OF/P
H: 5'10.5" | W: 185 | B: R | T: R
>> Visit the Hal Jeffcoat biography on Baseball Almanac for complete statistics.
Hal Jeffcoat provided the baseball community the equivalent of a career change. Jeffcoat originally made the Chicago Cubs as an outfielder. Despite his fielding ability, however, his light hitting led the Cubs to suggest a new route -- pitching.
Jeffcoat made the conversion from fielder to pitcher during the 1954 season and became one of the top relievers in baseball at the time.
Jeffcoat debuted with Chicago in 1948, playing in 134 games, hitting .279 with 4 home runs and 42 RBIs. From 1948 until 1953, Jeffcoat, appearing as an outfielder, hit 20 HRs and drove in 165 runs in 529 games.
In 1954, Jeffcoat returned in his new role as a pitcher. In his first season on the mound, he finished at 5-6 with a 5.19 ERA in 104 innings pitched. In 1955, however, Jeffcoat improved to 8-6 with a 2.95 ERA in 100.2 innings pitched.
In 1956, he went to a new team, the Cincinnati Reds. The next two seasons would prove to be his most productive as a pitcher. In 1956, he finished 8-2 with a 3.84 ERA in 171 innings and, in 1957, he finished 12-13 with a 4.52 ERA in 207 innings pitched. Jeffcoat was used more as a starter for the first time in 1956, starting 16 games.
In 1957, he started 31 games and was second on the Reds in wins. He retured to his role as a reliever in 1958, compiling a 6-8 record and a 3.72 ERA in 75 innings pitched.
In his last season in 1959, Jeffcoat pitched in 21.2 innings pitched with the Reds before he was traded to St. Louis. In St. Louis, he pitched 17.2 innings and ended up with a 9.17 ERA.
Jeffcoat wasn't the only member of his family to play Major League Baseball. His brother, George, also pitched in the National League.
Jeffcoat died on Aug. 30, 2007 in Tampa, Fla. He was 82 years old.