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Jim Sundberg

Jim Sundberg

Position(s):
C, DH, LF, OF
Born:
May 18, 1951
Bats:
Right
Throws:
Right
Height:
6'
Weight:
190 lbs
Major League Debut:
4-04-1974 with TEX
Allstar Selections:
1976 GG, 1977 GG, 1978 GG, 1979 GG, 1980 GG, 1981 GG

Jim Sundberg

The best defensive catcher in the American league in the 1970s, squeeky-clean Jim Sundberg won six Gold Glove Awards. A poor offensive player, Sundberg stayed in the lineup because of his amazing defensive attributes, including his strong arm, ability to block pitches, and knack for handling pitchers. An indication of his value came in 1977 and 1978, when he had his best offensive seasons and recieved votes for AL MVP, despite playing for the low-profile Texas Rangers. Late in his career, Sundberg provided vetran leadership to the Kansas City Royals as they won the 1985 World Series. He homered in Game Five of the ALCS that year, helping the Royals to overcome a 5-1 deficit.

Career Batting Stats
G AB H R HR RBI SB AVG SLG OBP OPS OPS+
1962 6021 1493 621 95 624 20 .248 .348 .327 .674 93.9

Quotes From Jim Sundberg

"I'm sure there are fans, good baseball fans, too, over in the National League who still never have heard of Jim Sundberg." — Sundberg in 1978

 

Where does Jim Sundberg rank among baseball greats?

Jim Sundberg ranks among the Top 50 all-time at C. Rankings ?

Best Season: 1977
There's no indication that he changed his batting stance in mid-season, or that he had an injury in the first-half of the year, but Sundberg suddenly started hitting in July. He batted .383 with 39 RBI in July and August. He finished with career-high marks in batting, HR and RBI, and won the Gold Glove Award.

 

Born
James Howard Sundberg was born on May 18, 1951, in Galesburg, IL.

 

Batted:  Right
Threw:  Right

 

College:  Iowa

Major League Debut
Aoril 4,1974

Nine Other Players Who Debuted in 1974
Robin Yount
Gary Carter
Jim Rice
Keith Hernandez
Fred Lynn
Jim Sundberg
Kent Tekulve
Dennis Leonard
John Montefusco

According to TSN, teammates called Sundberg "Sunny Boone" (as in Pat Boone) because of his squeeky-clean image. Ditto "Sunny Garvey" after Steve Garvey.

 

Hall of Fame Voting
Year Election Votes Pct
1995 BBWAA 1 .2%

Post-Season Appearances
1985 American League Championship Series
1985 World Series

 

Awards and Honors
1976 AL Gold Glove
1977 AL Gold Glove
1978 AL Gold Glove
1979 AL Gold Glove
1980 AL Gold Glove
1981 AL Gold Glove

 

Notes
Sundberg was a notoriously streaky hitter, with a few exceptions. For example, through June in 1977, Sundberg was hitting .217 with one home run and 19 RBI. He hit a blistering .397 with a .482 OBP in July, .374 with 26 RBI in August, and .258 in September, having caught 149 games. His final batting marks stood at .291 with six homers and 65 RBI, all career-highs. Then, showing it was no-fluke, he batted .324 through the first three months of 1978. He tailed off, tiring under the strain of more than 140 games behind the plate, and hit .278 for the season. The following year, in 1979, he reversed the trend, getting off to a dismal start (.218 through June), and finishing fast: batting .356 in July, .294 in August, and .338 in September. In 1980, he had his most consistent season, batting .290 or better in four months, but he hit an abysmal .152 in June... In 1976, he was hitting .185 in the first two months of the season, but his defense kept him behind the plate and he eventually hit .228 for the year... He also tired under the wear-and-tear of his workload behind the mask. In 1975, when he hit .199 for the season, he batted .180 from July 1 until the end of the season.

 

Hitting Streaks
22 games (1978)
17 games (1981)

All-Star Selections
1974 AL
1978 AL
1984 AL

Replaced
Ken Suarez and Dick Billings, the platoon combination the Rangers used in 1973.

Replaced By
His last starting job was with the Royals in 1986. In '87 he was traded to the Cubs. Would you believe the Royals replaced him with veteran role player Jamie Quirk?

Best Strength as a Player
Handling the Tools of Ignorance.

Largest Weakness as a Player
Streakiness at the plate.

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Tagged:
1985 World Series, Gold Glove, Jim Sundberg, Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers

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