James Edward Gentile
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 3½", Weight 215 lb.
- High School Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory
- Debut September 10, 1957
- Final Game September 30, 1966
- Born June 3, 1934 in San Francisco, CA USA
"What do you think of this Italian kid?", asked a reporter. "I think he's a diamond in the rough", responded Roy Campanella in 1956.
Jim Gentile, who played nine years in the majors, is best remembered for his monster year in 1961, when he hit 46 home runs, drove in 141 RBI, and had an Adjusted OPS of 187 for the Baltimore Orioles. Even so, his performance was somewhat obscured by Roger Maris' 61 home runs, Mickey Mantle's 54 home runs, and Norm Cash's great year. He was third in the MVP voting that year.
Gentile signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1952. He led the 1953 Western League in home runs with 34 and the Southern Association in RBI with 109 in 1955. He came up with the Dodgers in 1957, their last year in Brooklyn, NY, and 1958, their first in Los Angeles, CA, but had little chance of playing regularly on a team that featured Gil Hodges at first base and had youngster Norm Larker looking for playing time. Steve Bilko was also on the team in 1958.
Gentile was an All-Star from 1960 to 1962 and continued to play well from 1963 to 1965 before dropping off somewhat in 1966.
Jim had gone on a winter tour to Japan with the Dodgers in 1956 and later returned in 1969 to play for the Kintetsu Buffaloes. Three decades later, he managed the hapless Mid-Missouri Mavericks of the Frontier League for a season and a half.
Gentile is often thought of as similar to his contemporary Dick Stuart, but Gentile's Adjusted OPS is much higher while Stuart had a longer career, and of course, was famous as Dr. Strangeglove, one of the worst fielding first basemen of all time. The two are not on each others' similarity scores lists.
In 2010, researchers from SABR found an error in the game records from the 1961 season; an extra RBI had been credited to Roger Maris, on a run which had in fact scored on an error. This reduced Maris's RBI total for the season to 141, and gave Gentile a tie for the American League RBI lead that year.
- 1960 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
- 3-time AL All-Star (1960-1962)
- AL RBI Leader (1961)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 5 (1960-1964)
- 30-Home Run Seasons: 2 (1961 & 1962)
- 40-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1961)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1961)
Year-By-Year Minor League Managerial Record
|2001||Fort Worth Cats||All-American Association||37-35||4th||Independent Leagues||Lost in 1st round|
|2002||Fort Worth Cats||Central Baseball League||--||Independent Leagues||replaced by Marty Scott|
|2004||Mid-Missouri Mavericks||Frontier League||24-40||12th||Independent Leagues||replaced Jack Clark (4-26)|
|2005||Mid-Missouri Mavericks||Frontier League||31-63||12th||Independent Leagues|