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Jim (Catfish) Hunter

Age: 53

dominating right-handed pitcher of the early 1970s who was baseball's first big-money free agent; won five World Series rings with Oakland and the N.Y. Yankees; his 224 career wins includes five straight 20-victory seasons from 1971-75; pitched a perfect game against Minnesota May 8, 1968; won Cy Young Award in 1974; when A's owner Charles O. Finley failed to follow through on a payment to an insurance company, he became a free agent after the 1974 season and signed a five-year, $3.75 million contract with the Yankees; led A.L. with 30 complete games in 1975; eight-time All-Star; elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987; his nickname was concocted by Finley and was based on a story he made up about Hunter returning from a fishing trip as a child with catfish slung over his shoulder—Hunter played along thinking it would never stick. Hunter was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease in September 1998.

Died: Hertford, N.C., September 9, 1999

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More on Jim Catfish Hunter from Infoplease:

  • Jim (Catfish) Hunter - Jim (Catfish) Hunter Born: Apr. 8, 1946 Baseball RHP won 20 games or more 5 times (1971-75); played ...

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