Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Jim Bibby passes

Former Indian and Pirate pitcher Jim Bibby passed away yesterday at the age of 65 in his home area of Lynchburg Virginia.
Bibby pitched for the Cardinals and Rangers as well as Cleveland and Pittsburgh before retiring at 39 after a brief second stint with the Rangers in 1984
Bibby spent the next fifteen years as a pitching coach for three affiliates that moved through Lynchburg (Mets,Red Sox and Pirates) before leaving baseball in 2000.
Bibby was a member of the 1979 World Champion Pirates starting rotation and followed that with a 19 win season for the Bucs in 1980.
Bibby also is noted for one of the strangest pitching seasons with a 19-19 record for the 1974 Texas Rangers.
Imagine getting 19 wins AND 19 losses in a season today,but the Rangers manager that season was Billy Martin,who had no qualms at all with allowing his starters to accumulate innings and Bibby notched 264 of them in 1974 for a career high.
Jim Bibby hit the big leagues late as he didn't debut until a six start appearance with the Cardinals in 1972 at the age of 27.
His breakout season was 1973 with the Rangers when he not only tossed a no hitter against the eventual champion Oakland Athletics,but he also a one hitter along with a two hitter.
Bibby had one more interesting note to his career as his downfall came quickly after 1980 in 1981 in a start against the Braves.
Bibby allowed a single to leadoff hitter Terry Harper at Three Rivers Stadium and then mowed down the next 27 Braves to just miss a perfect game.
I met Bibby when he was a pitching coach for Lynchburg in a visit to Hagerstown,I brought two old cards and asked him to sign.
The autograph culture wasn't nearly as active as it is now and Bibby asked if he could show them to a few players and he hollered "you guys want to see what an old ballplayer looked like"?
The 1974 and 1976 cards (76 pictured) featured quite a 70's afro from the big righthander.
Bibby was very nice and very cordial and chatted as he signed both cards.
Bibby's brother Henry was a pro basketball player for nine years and coached for a period at USC,which made him the uncle of NBA player Mike Bibby,who is currently with the Atlanta Hawks.

Photo Credits
Pirates:Walter Iooss Jr-Sports Illustrated


Giancarlo Frison said...

Memorial for Jim. Please, feel free to express your thoughts

Ryan Heimberger said...

Bye bye, Bibby.