December 28, 2015

Jim O'Toole

With Jim O'Toole's passing today, just a moment to note his quiet excellence at a moment in time.

The year before I was born, the Cincinnati Reds won the National League pennant behind their young pitching aces, Joey Jay (25) and O'Toole (24).

Jay and O'Toole were basically the difference for the Reds in 1961.  In modern sabermetric terms, both men were five wins above replacement value, a large enough margin to turn an average team into a pennant winner.

O'Toole is not remembered much because his career was short - he was really outstanding for just five years, 1960-1964.  But during that period he was as good as anyone.  In 1963 he started the National League All-Star game ahead of Koufax, Marichal, Spahn, and Drysdale.

Pitchers looked different then.

He is mentioned frequently in Jim Brosnan's outstanding diaries of the 1960 and 1961 seasons, The Long Season (here) and Pennant Race (here).  His SABR biography is here.


Post a Comment

<< Home