Len Yochim

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Leonard Joseph Yochim

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Biographical Information[edit]

Len Yochim was a young left-hander from New Orleans, LA who signed as an amateur free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates before the 1947 season. The Pirates farmed Yochim out to the New Iberia Cardinals of the class D Evangeline League and the young lad went 20-6 with a 3.25 ERA while pitching 219 innings his first year out. He graduated to the Albany Senators of the Eastern League and in 1948, Len went 14-4 with a 3.22 ERA. He was a hrad thrower, but his best pitches were his curveball and his screwball.

Yochim spent the next couple of years (1949-1950) with four minor league clubs, fighting his way up to the 1951 season where he went 11-1 with the Charleston Rebels of the South Atlantic League with a 2.34 ERA. That earned him a late-season invite to Forbes Field. He debuted in the major leagues on September 18, 1951. Len appeared in two games for the Pirates that year, pitching in 8 innings and coming up with a 1-1 record.

Len spent the next three seasons with his hometown New Orleans Pelicans of the Southern Association. The left-hander won 34 games and lost 25 with a 3.91 ERA while pitching 455 innings over these three years. He again was invited to Forbes Field in 1954, where he went 0-1, pitching 19 innings, all in relief for the Pirates; this would be it for Yochim in the major leagues, finishing with a 1-2 record while appearing in 12 games.

Len went back to New Orleans in 1955, winning 12 and losing 9 with a 4.10 ERA. On December 8, 1955, he became the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the Venezuelan League, pitching for the Caracas Lions. He finished out his ten-year run in the minor leagues, in the Southern Association in 1956, when he pitched for the Pelicans and for the Atlanta Crackers, with a 109-68 record and a 3.79 ERA while pitching 1,453 innings. Len, who resided in New Orleans until his death in 2013 from complications of congestive heart failure, remained in baseball as a long-time scout in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. He was the team's East Coast scouting coordinator and later the senior adviser of player personnel, retiring in 2002. After his retirement, he was a regular at New Orleans Zephyrs games and would often join announcers Ron Swoboda and Tim Grubbs on the air.

Len's brother, Ray, was a right-hander who had short trials with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1948 and 1949.


Baseball Players of the 1950s

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