Jim Pendleton

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Jim Pendleton.jpg

James Edward Pendleton

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 185 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Jim Pendleton played in the Negro Leagues, then in the minors for several years, then had eight years in the major leagues, and ended up with some more years in the minors. He had been signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949 but didn't come to big leagues until after a four-team trade in 1953, which brought him to the Milwaukee Braves.

Jim was born in St. Charles, MO in 1924 and served in the army in World War II. After the war he was in a Negro minor league [1] and then played in the 1948 Negro American League for a few games.

The Dodgers, upon signing him, sent him to play for the St. Paul Saints for three seasons. He was not that young at the time (ages 25-27). He played outfield the first year, under manager Walter Alston, and his hitting was below the team averages. In his second and third years, under manager Clay Hopper, he played shortstop and he became one of the top hitters on the team. In 1952 he was placed with the minor-league Montreal Royals at age 28, and while he was the only shortstop the team used all year, his hitting did not stand out. Among the infielders who were stronger hitters were 23-year-old second baseman Jim Gilliam and 24-year-old third baseman Don Hoak.

It would have been difficult for Pendleton to become the Dodgers' shortstop as future Hall of Famer Pee Wee Reese held down the position. Gilliam became Rookie of the Year with the Dodgers in 1953 while Pendleton was traded to Milwaukee to become a frequently-used outfield backup with the team, who finished second behind the Dodgers in the pennant race. He got somewhat less playing time in 1954 as the Braves had a good-looking rookie outfielder named Henry Aaron.

Jim spent most of 1955 and 1956 in the minors, but was up in the bigs again for the 1957 season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. At this point, at age 33, he was used mostly as a pinch-hitter, and came through, hitting .305 with a good on-base percentage. In spite of that, he spent most of 1958 in the minors, hitting well with the Columbus Jets, leading the team in batting average and slugging.

He was again in the majors with the Cincinnati Reds in 1959, playing left field, third base, and pinch-hitting. At age 35, he was twelve years older than teammate Frank Robinson. The Reds put him in the minors in both 1960 and 1961, where he hit well, and in the fall of 1961 he was bought by the new Houston Colt 45s. Jim got into 117 games with the expansion team in 1962, hitting .246 with moderate power on a team which also hit .246. He was 38, and the oldest man on the team.

He was back in the minors in 1963 in the Houston organization.

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