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Hal Jeffcoat

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Harold Bentley Jeffcoat

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[edit] Biographical Information

Hal Jeffcoat played 12 seasons in the major leagues, split roughly 50/50 between playing outfield and being a pitcher. His older brother George Jeffcoat had previously been a major league pitcher.

Born in South Carolina, Hal was signed by the Chicago Cubs in 1946. By 1948, he was a regular outfielder for the Cubs, hitting .279.

Although he had some speed and hit .273 in 1951, mostly he had low batting averages and was gradually relegated to backup status. He had a strong arm in the outfield, however, and tried pitching.

His first appearance as a major league pitcher was in 1954, at the age of 29, when he went 5-6. Primarily a reliever, he started some games for the Cincinnati Redlegs in 1956, and was mostly a starter for them in 1957. His best ERA was in 1955 when it stood at 2.95.

Whereas he had been prone to strike out as a rookie outfielder, being 5th in the National League with 68 strikeouts as a batter, by the mid-1950s he was striking out other people, and had a high of 63 strikeouts as a pitcher in 1957.

Lifetime in the majors, he appeared in 559 games as an outfielder, and 245 as a pitcher. He hit .248 with 114 stolen bases as a batter, and had a record of 39-37 as a pitcher.

Virtually all his career was spent with the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Redlegs; he finished his career with 11 games for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1959. As a rookie outfielder with the Cubs, his fellow outfielders were Bill Nicholson and Peanuts Lowrey. When he converted to pitching in 1954, the Cubs' catcher was Joe Garagiola, and it was the first full season of Cubs shortstop Ernie Banks. He was with the Redlegs, going 8-2, when Frank Robinson was a 20-year-old rookie hitting 38 home runs in 1956.

It is quite interesting to look at the similarity scores for Jeffcoat. The most similar player to Jeffcoat as a batter is actually a pitcher - Bucky Walters, who hit .243 lifetime (and orginally broke into baseball as a third baseman). However, all the others of the ten most similar batters to Jeffcoat were position players, with the most similar being Danny Heep, the outfielder and first baseman from the 1980s who also pitched a couple of games in the majors. The most similar player to Jeffcoat as a pitcher is Tex Clevenger, the American League pitcher primarily from the 1950s.

He is the younger brother of George Jeffcoat. His brothers William and Charles were minor league pitchers, and his son Harold Jeffcoat pitched in the minors.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (1957)

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