Sunday Remembrance of Rangers Past…Jim Bibby

* The Rangers, presumably at the urging of manager Whitey Herzog, acquired Jim Bibby on July 6, 1973 from the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Mike Nagy and outfielder John Wockenfuss.

* Herzog had previously been the Mets director of player development. Bibby was signed by the Mets as a non-drafted free agent on July 19, 1965.

* "I had him for five years in the minors," Herzog said. "With the exception of Nolan Ryan, he throws harder than anybody in this league."Bibbytex

* Bibby, while he was in the Mets Minor League system, missed two years (1966-67)  because of military service that included a tour of Vietnam and another year (1970) because of a back injury that required spinal fusion surgery. Bibby was a truck driver in Vietnam.

* Said Bibby about his back surgery, "Some days lying in bed, I wondered if I’d walk again and I was sure I’d never pitch again."

* Other interesting quote from Herzog at the time of the trade: "We’ve got to keep trying to strengthen our pitching staff. I’ll try anything. I’ve known Bibby for years. He can throw smoke. He’s always been wild but when he pitches frequently he can be very effective because no one digs in on him and he strikes out a ton of hitters."

* Bibby immediately went into their rotation and almost threw the first no-hitter in Rangers history on June 29, 1973 against the Kansas City Royals. In his fifth start for the Rangers, Bibby walked five and struck out seven and the only hit in the game was a double by Royals catcher Fran Healy in the seventh inning.

* That was the Royals fifth straight loss and Mike Shropshire wrote in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "Frustrated Kansas City sportswriters were offering bets that the Rangers would sweep the remaining three games of the series…They found some takers."

* Bibby did throw the first no-hitter in Rangers history on July 30, 1973 against the World Champion Oakland Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum.

* Bibby was making $15,000 in 1973 but owner Bob Short gave him a $5,000 raise for throwing the no-hitter and said, "This is my biggest thrill in sports."

* Bibby walked six and struck out 13 in his no-hitter and Reggie Jackson said afterward about a strike three pitch in the ninth inning, "That’s the fastest ball I ever saw. Actually I didn’t see it. I just heard it."

* Carl Yastrzemski said of Bibby in 1973, "He throws harder than Vida Blue."

* His brother was Henry Bibby, an All-American guard at UCLA who played for the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers and coached at USC. His nephew is Sacramento Kings guard Mike Bibby.

* Bibby and Ferguson Jenkins were the top two pitchers on the 1974 Rangers, a team that had went 84-76 after going 57-105 the year before.

* Bibby and Jenkins both started 41 games, still a club record. Bibby was 19-19, setting a club record for most losses in a season.

* Bibby had 18 wins on Aug. 21 but won just one more game. That win came on Sept. 11, leaving him 19-16. He lost his last three starts, missing a chance for his 20th victory. Apparently he was scratched from his last start because he was ill.

* Billy Martin wrote this in his autobiography Number 1: "When Elliott (Maddox) got to the Yankees he started badmouthing me real bad, and in one of our games against the Yankees one of the Rangers front-office officials told Jim Bibby that if he beaned Maddox, he’d give him some money. Right away I got the blame, of course, but I asked Bibby, and he told me about what the official had offered him, and I jumped all over Bibby’s *** about it. It didn’t sit right with me, and I told him he better not do something like that again."

* Bibby walked 4.37 batters per nine innings while with the Rangers. Only Bobby Witt (5.36) had a higher ratio as a Ranger.

* Despite having a reputation as a hard-thrower, Bibby struck out just 5.80 batters per nine innings during his time with Texas.Bibby_188x250

* Bibby started out 1975 with a record of 2-6 with a 5.00 ERA in 12 starts when he was traded on June 13 to the Cleveland Indians along with pitchers Rick Waits and Jackie Brown for Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry.

* Bibby was with the Indians for 21/2 years, then spent six productive seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was 12-4 with a 2.81 ERA in 1979 when the Pirates won the Word Series.

* Bibby had a 2.08 ERA in three post-season starts for the Pirates that year although he did not get a decision. He started Game 7 of the World Series but trailed 1-0 after four innings and was lifted for a pinch-hitter. The Pirates beat the Orioles, 4-1.

* Bibby won 19 games for the Pirates in 1980 and was named to the All-Star Game for the first and only time of his career. This time he was 4-1 in September and won his last start to get to 19 wins.

* He made eight relief appearances for the Rangers in 1984 but was released on June 1 and never pitched again in the Major Leagues.

* The Royals won two of three from the Rangers immediately after Bibby’s one-hitter.

1 Comment

Thanks for the history lesson….I love it! Being a younger Ranger fan, I’ve never heard of the guy. Very interesting stuff indeed.

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