On This Date In History: Catfish and Sweet Billy Arrive in Cooperstown

On July 26, 1987, two of our favorite ball players were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

James Augustus Hunter, or "Catfish" as he is more readily known, spent 14 years in the majors.  He started out with the Kansas City Athletics in 1965 and remained an Athletic when they moved to Oakland in 1968.  It was that year, 1968, when he pitched a perfect game against the Twins.  In 1974 Hunter won both the Sproting News Player of the Year Award and the American League Cy Young Award. 

In 1975 George Steinbrenner made Hunter the highest paid pitcher in baseball when he signed him to play for the Yankees.  In his first year in the Bronx Catfish led the league with 23 wins.  He played in three consecutive pennants for the Yankees, from 1976 - 78.  Hunter retired from the game in 1979.

Did you know that Hunter's nickname was completely made up by Charlie Finley?  Finley simply thought that his pitching ace needed a nickname and chose "Catfish".  Finley even created a fictional story that the nickname originated from Hunter's childhood when he caught a large catfish while fishing.

Look for that 1968 vest that is pictured above on our site in a couple of weeks.

 

Along with Huner, Billy Williams entered the Hall of Fame in July of 1987.  The six time All Star played the majority of his career in a Cubs uniform, with the exception of his final two seasons which were spent in Oaklnad.  In 1961 Williams was named the Rookie of the Year.  He received the Sporting News Player of the Year Award in 1972, which was statistically his best season.  He led the league with a .333 batting average and hit 37 home runs and knocked in 122 RBI's.  

With the Athletics Williams was a designated hitter and helped them to the 1975 AL West Championship.  He retired the following year.

Williams was known to have one of the purest and sweetest swings in baseball, which is why he was often called "Sweet Billy" or "Sweet Williams".  On September 7th of this year the Cubs will honor their legendary outfielder by unveiling a statue of him outside of Wrigley Field.

 

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