James Augustus “Catfish” Hunter(April 8, 1946 – September 9, 1999), was a Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher. During a 15-year baseball career, he pitched from 1965-1979 for both the Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987. Hunter was an effective pitcher, not because he overpowered batters with his speed, but because of the precision of his pitching. Cy Young, Christy Mathewson and Catfish Hunter are the only Major League pitchers to win 200 games by the time they were 31 years old. Along with Billy Williams, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987. At the time a player was allowed to choose which team’s cap would be memorialized on his Hall of Fame Plaque. Before and after his induction, Hunter spoke highly of his experiences with both the Athletics and Yankees and his appreciation for both team owners, Charlie Finley and George Steinbrenner. For this reason, he refused to choose a team and thus the plaque depicts him with no insignia on the cap. Hunter died at his home in Hertford, North Carolina, in 1999 after he fell down the stairs at home. He had been suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”, at the time. An annual softball event is held in Hertford in memory of Hunter. All proceeds from the weekend benefit ALS research. The tournament has raised over $100,000 since 1999.
Boyhood Photo of the Stars – Jim "Catfish" Hunter – 1973 Topps #344