James Sanford “Jimmy” Lavender
Born: May 26, 1884 - Barnesville, GA
Died: January 12, 1960 - Cartersville, GA
MLB Pitching Record: 63–76
Chicago Cubs NL (1912–1916)
Philadelphia Phillies NL (1917)
After a late start to baseball, Georgia native Jimmy Lavender enjoyed a few moments of fame over a fairly lackluster career. As a Minor Leaguer, Lavender threw plenty of innings with plenty of wins and losses. Over a five-year span from 1907 through 1911, he won 82 games, lost 94 and pitched somewhere in the vicinity of 1,500 innings. Primarily a spitball pitcher, Lavender’s durability is what finally got him to the majors. After a 19-win season in 1911 for the Providence Grays in the Eastern League, the Chicago Cubs took a chance on Lavender. The 28-year-old rookie had a good first year posting a 16–13 record, throwing over 250 innings in 1912.
On the mound on July 8, 1912, against New York Giants’ ace Rube Marquard, Lavender made a name for himself when he threw a five-hitter to end Marquard’s 19-game winning streak. At the time, that was the longest winning streak by any pitcher in baseball history. This marked the high point of Lavender’s career. Over the next four seasons, Lavender would go 41–55. One other notable bright spot in his career was on August 31, 1915, when he tossed a 2–0 no-hitter against the New York Giants. Jimmy Lavender ended his career with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1916 at 33 years old and never looked back. After baseball, he retired to his home in Georgia and worked in a textile mill, living comfortably to the age of 75.
– Tom and Ellen Zappala, The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players. For more information on their book and/or to order a copy at a special PSA discount, visit http://crackerjackplayers.com/PSA_order.html