All-Time Indians: Jim McCormick

 

Name: James McCormick       Position: Starting Pitcher    
Tribe Time: 1879-1884           DOB: 11/03/1856        
Stats W L W% ERA G GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP K/9 BAA
Best Season (1880) 45 28 0.616 1.85 74 74 72 7 657.2 585 274 135 2 75 260 1.00 3.6 .229
Career 174 162 0.518 2.28 348 341 328 20 3,026.2 2,874 1,480 766 40 476 1,162 1.11 3.5 .240

Jim McCormick pitched for the Blues from 1879 to 1884, in an era that cannot be compared to modern baseball. McCormick played through the entire franchise history of the original Cleveland Blues and he was the only pitcher they needed over those six years. The first season of the Blues, they used two total pitchers for the teams 82 games, McCormick and Bobby Mitchell. Apparantly, Mitchell didn't pull his weight as McCormick started 60 of those 82 games and had to relieve Mitchell twice.

Over his time with the team, he averaged more than 500 innings per season (only Jersey Bakley passed 500 IP after), a feat that seems impossible in this age. Included in his gaudy statistics are the pre-AL Cleveland records for single season wins, losses, ERA, games, starts, IP, strike outs and WHIP. In consecutive seasons (1879 and 1880) he lost 40 games, then won 45. Since then, no pitcher has come close to 40 in either decision (although Cy Young passed 30 a few times. Even when the Blues picked up a few more pitchers, McCormick maintained as the work horse, throwing 359 innings in his final season with the team. 

In his career, McCormick is second to Young in almost every pre-1901 Cleveland pitching stat, except ERA, WHIP, BAA and strike outs, where he was number one. During his career he completed 98% of his games averaging more than 8.2 innings per game. Not only was he an ace for the Blues, but he also was the top in the league as well, leading the NL in wins, starts and innings twice each and complete games three times. In 1883, in what was possibly his most impressive feat, he lead the NL in ERA (1.84) and winning percent (.700) in over 300 innings. He was, by far, the best Cleveland pitcher prior to the advent of the Spiders and is still of the best in Cleveland history.

McCormick was just the third pitcher in American baseball history to be born in the United Kingdom, coming out of Glasglow. He died in 1918 at the age of 61.

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona.

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