Nicholas Strincevich (Jumbo)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 180 lb.
- Debut April 23, 1940
- Final Game June 11, 1948
- Born March 1, 1915 in Gary, IN USA
- Died November 11, 2011 in Valparaiso, IN USA
Nick Strincevich was in the majors eight years. In his best years, he went 14-7 with two saves for the 1944 Pirates and 16-10 with two saves for the 1945 Pirates. Both teams were managed by Frankie Frisch.
Nick was born in 1915 in Gary, IN, in northwest Indiana. He pitched in the minors from 1935-39, mostly in the New York Yankees organization, before the Boston Bees drafted him away in October 1939. During 1936-38 he had gone 10-8, 11-8 and 11-4 in the minors.
He pitched for Casey Stengel's Boston Bees in 1940 and early 1941 before getting traded to the 1941 Pittsburgh Pirates for the 35-year-old Lloyd Waner. He had been injured in spring training of 1941 when a ball fractured his skull. He spent some time in the majors in 1941 and 42 with the Pirates, but was also in the minors with Milwaukee and Toronto in 1941-43, going 4-2 for Milwaukee and 12-10 and 15-7 for Toronto.
1944 and 1945 were his best years, and then in 1946 his ERA stayed almost the same, 3.58, but his record dropped to 10-15, primarily because the team went 63-91. His ERA was better than the team ERA of 3.72.
In 1947 he struggled, going 1-6 with an ERA of 5.26. After brief stints with the 1948 Pirates and the 1948 Phillies, his major league days were over. He continued to pitch in the minors for Toronto in 1948-50. He then left baseball and went to work for the Budd Company in Gary, retiring as a safety supervisor in 1980.
The book Hardball on the Home Front has a chapter on him. His father was from what is now Bosnia, and was called "Jumbo", so the two got called "Big Jumbo" and "Little Jumbo". Nick played baseball as a youngster and also worked long days in the sheet mill after his sophomore year in high school during the Depression. He also played on the mill team and another semi-pro team. He was discovered by a former minor leaguer, Bob Prysock, against whose team Nick got 18 strikeouts.
Prysock told the Yankees about him and they signed Nick after Nick threw batting practice to Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and others. Nick continued to work sometimes in the mill, and earned a wartime deferment as a result for part of the war.