James Ray McDaniel
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 181 lb.
Jimmie McDaniel was a minor league outfielder who played from 1950 to 1963 in the Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros farm systems. He hit 30+ home runs at the AAA level three times yet never made it to the major leagues.
He began his career in 1950 at the age of 17, playing for the Reno Silver Sox (five games) and Riverside Rubes (seven). It is known that he hit .235 with the Rubes, though his average with the Silver Sox is unknown. In 1951, he played another abridged season, appearing in five games for the Bakersfield Indians (who were affiliated with the Indians), four for the Yuma Panthers and five for the Tacoma Tigers. In those 14 games, he hit .278 in 18 at-bats.
He blossomed in 1952 at the age of 19 while playing for the Visalia Cubs in the Chicago Cubs organization. With them, he hit .293 with 23 home runs and 30 doubles in 134 games. He led California League outfielders with 17 errors but also had 20 assists, second-best. His 134 RBI were second in the Cal League to Ben Downs and he tied for 4th in the loop in long balls.
The next year, he played for the Des Moines Bruins, hitting only .225/~.298/.355 with 12 home runs and 15 doubles in 422 at-bats. He slugged 19 home runs for the Bruins in 1954 and 24 in 1955. In '55, he was 4th in the Western League in homers and 5th in strikeouts (101).
He split the 1956 season between the Bruins and the Topeka Hawks in the Braves organization, hitting a combined .297 with 26 home runs and 95 RBI. He was 4th in the Western League with 19 swipes and 5th with 109 strikeouts but was 11 shy from making the loop's top five in the high-flying loop; he was 40 long balls behind leader Dick Stuart. Again with Topeka in 1957, he hit .312 with 36 home runs in 141 games. He was third in homers, 4th with 116 RBI (17 behind leader Alfred Pinkston), was 4th with 295 total bases, 5th with 122 runs and 5th with 107 walks. He made the WL All-Star team as a utility man.
For the 1958 season, he moved on to the Salt Lake City Bees in the Pirates organization, hitting .293 with 37 home runs and 100 RBI. Jimmie led the Pacific Coast League in homers (two ahead of George Freese) and tied Dusty Rhodes for the RBI lead. Still only 25 years old, he had made an amazing debut in AAA; unfortunately, Pittsburgh's outfield was too crowded to crack with Roberto Clemente, Bob Skinner and Bill Virdon.
He split the 1959 season between the Denver Bears (81 games, 24 home runs, 79 RBI, .287 average) and the Columbus Jets (64 games, nine home runs, 34 RBI, .250 average), hitting a combined .271 with 33 home runs and 112 RBI in 145 games. Despite only having spent half the year with Denver, he was 5th in the American Association in homers, six behind leader Ron Jackson. He joined the Denver Bears again - as well as the Tigers organization, as the Bears became affiliated with them for the season - in 1960, and hit .288 with 19 home runs and 92 RBI (4th in the AA). With the Bears in 1961, he batted .282 with 30 home runs and 114 RBI in 150 games. He was two homers behind AA leader Cliff Cook and five RBI behind him, finishing second in both departments.
He split the 1962 season between the Bears and the Oklahoma City 89ers in the Astros system, hitting .248 with 17 home runs and 70 RBI. He struck out prodigiously, fanning 135 times in only 379 at-bats (he also walked a lot, taking a free pass 117 times). 1963 was his final season, spent with the 89ers. He hit .230 with four home runs and 19 RBI in 46 games.
Overall, McDaniel played 14 years in the minor leagues, hitting about .273 with 280 home runs and 1,444 hits. He was strike out prone, whiffing 180 times in 1959, 164 times in 1960 and 174 times in 1961.