Posts Tagged ‘Happy 70th Birthday’

Jimmy Wynn Celebrates 70th Birthday with SABR

March 13, 2012

March 12, 1970: Jimmy Wynn celebrates 70th birthday at SABR meeting in Houston with two fans of the Toy Cannon.

Astros icon and SABR member Jimmy Wynn turned 70 years old yesterday, March 12, 2012, and we are grateful that he chose to spend the evening with his fans and fellow members of SABR, the Society for American Baseball Research. Meeting for the first time in the Yankee Stadium room at the Inn at the Ballpark downtown next to Minute Maid Park, about 35 members of the Larry Dierker Chapter welcomed the Toy Cannon with open arms for all he’s done, and still does, to make and keep Houston Astros baseball on the credible side in the public mind and trust.

This is special milestone year in the life and career of Jimmy Wynn. – It’s also been 50 years since Jimmy Wynn started in his professional career at Tampa in the Cincinnati Reds system; 49 years since he broke into the major leagues with the Houston Colt .45’s and hit the first of his 291 career big league home run off a New York Mets pitcher named Don Rowe; and 35 years, half his lifetime ago, that Jimmy Wynn hit his last major league long ball off Bill Travers of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Jimmy’s book end homers, first and last, both happened in two of baseball’s now vanished green cathedrals. His 1963 opening volley off Rowe came about in the old Polo Grounds, the immortal setting of Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard Rounds the World.” The closer bash left the deepest part of the field in center at old Yankee Stadium on Opening Day 1977 during Jimmy’s last season as a short-time member of the Yankee “Bronx Zoo” cast.

And last night was not only a time for memories of all the amazing things that Jimmy Wynn did with the bat and in in the field in between those two amazing times of his first and last big league seasons. Jimmy also quietly informed some of us last night too that he had been summoned to Minute Maid Park last Friday at the last minute. As it turns out, President Obama was in Houston to speak at Union Station that evening and had wanted to meet Jimmy Wynn.

Mission accomplished. – President Obama has now had the pleasure of meeting one of Houston’s finest: Jimmy “The Toy Cannon” Wynn.

I have to say what I mentioned to someone who asked me about it last night: Working with good friend Jimmy Wynn on his autobiography, “Toy Cannon,” was the most joyous writing experience of my life. We went into the journey (and all writing projects are journeys of some kind) as good friends, and, in spite of the fact that we had to deal in print with some not so pretty things that were part of Jimmy’s total life experience, we came out of it knowing that he had dealt with them all as honestly and forthrightly as possible and that Jimmy Wynn had still found room in the forever unfolding end to stand and walk tall into these now celebratory later years.

Spiritually today, I value Jimmy Wynn as though he were my blood brother. There is nothing to the good that I would not do for the man, if it were something in my power to deliver. He has every ounce of love and loyalty from me that any brother should expect to have from his own.

God Bless you, Brother Jimmy! And may we all get to inhale the fresh cut grass smells of spring training and a brand new baseball season for as long as possible – no matter how old we get to be.

One More Time: Happy 70th Birthday, Jimmy Wynn!