Wednesday, November 6, 2013

#101 Jim Bullinger

About the Front: Despite what you think, the shadow obscuring Jim Bullinger's face is not being cast by his cap. It's being cast by his eyebrows. Also, the odds are pretty good that the blurry infielder hovering to the right is Ryne Sandberg.

About the Back: What have we here? Yes, the Cubbies drafted Jim as a shortstop, and he converted to pitching in 1989. With good cause: he peaked with a .723 OPS in 78 games in the New York-Penn League in his pro debut.

Triple Play:

1. His younger brother Kirk pitched a total of 49 games from 1998-2000 and 2003-2004 with the Expos, Red Sox, Phillies, and Astros. The Bullingers never did face off in a big league game.

2. Jim had a 25-inning scoreless streak spanning from July 24 to August 11, 1995, helping boost him to a 12-8 record and 4.14 ERA at season's end.

3. In addition to homering in his first career at-bat as mentioned above, Bullinger went deep twice in 1996 and once in 1997. Incidentally, none of his home runs came at Wrigley Field.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: Just looking at the Cubs' early-1990s road grays reminds me of "Rookie of the Year", perhaps the best movie ever made about a pre-pubescent baseball fan who breaks his arm and is miraculously able to throw MLB-caliber heat when it heals.

Bill James Said: "A year ago I thought he had little chance, but after a season as a Triple-A closer he was more aggressive, and his curve ball seemed sharper."

On This Date in 1993: November 6. Ed Sadowski, a backup catcher in the 1960s for the Red Sox, Angels, and Braves, died at age 62. He had been suffering from ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease.

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