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Jim Coates
Born: August 4, 1932 (1932-08-04) (age 77)
Farnham, Virginia
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
September 21, 1956 for the New York Yankees
Last MLB appearance
September 30, 1967 for the California Angels
Career statistics
Win-Loss     43-22
Strikeouts     396
Earned run average     4.00
Career highlights and awards

James Alton Coates (born August 4, 1932 in Farnham, Virginia) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher.

A right-hander, Coates pitched for the New York Yankees (1956, 1959-62), Washington Senators (1963), Cincinnati Reds (1963) and California Angels (1965-67).

Coates was signed by the Yankees as an amateur free agent in 1951. He spent seven years in the Yankees’ farm system with a call-up in 1956, during which he made his major league debut. Coates reached the majors for good in 1959 and pitched in 37 games, all but four in relief, winning six games against one loss, with a 2.87 earned run average in 100 1/3 innings pitched. The season, however, was disastrous for the Yankees as a whole—after winning seven World Series and nine American League pennants in ten seasons, and winning 103 games in 1954, the one year they didn’t win the pennant (the Cleveland Indians won 111), the Yankees, beset by injuries all season, finished third, 15 games behind the American League champion Chicago White Sox. The lowlight of the Yankees’ season was falling to dead last on May 20.

In 1960 Coates went 13-3 as a spot starter in Casey Stengel’s much-maligned rotation. After winning his last five decisions in 1959 and his first nine this season, Coates finally had his winning streak broken against the Boston Red Sox on July 9, a 6-5 loss in which Vic Wertz drove in four of the runs. Coates was also named to the All Star team, pitching two scoreless innings in the first of two games played that year (between 1959 and 1962, Major League Baseball had two All-Star games).

Coates was a member of the Yankee team that regained the American League pennant in 1960 but lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series in seven games. In Game One, Coates gave up the first of Bill Mazeroski’s two home runs for the deciding runs in the Pirates’ 6-4 victory. Before Ralph Terry gave up the other, the walk-off home run in Game Seven that ended the Series (the Pirates won 10-9), Coates himself was almost the scapegoat in the Yankees’ loss. With the Yankees ahead 7-5 with no outs in the eighth inning of that seventh game and Bill Virdon on second and Dick Groat on first, Coates relieved Bobby Shantz and got Bob Skinner out on a sacrifice bunt, which advanced the runners. Rocky Nelson then flew out to Roger Maris in right field, and when Virdon declined to challenge Maris’ throwing arm, Coates was one out away from getting the Yankees out of trouble.

However, a lapse by Coates allowed the Pirates to keep their inning alive. After stopping Roberto Clemente’s ground ball, first baseman Moose Skowron turned and prepared to flip the ball to Coates covering first—but Coates was not there. Thinking Skowron would make the play himself, the pitcher had stopped midway to the base. Skowron was forced to hold on to the ball, and Virdon scored to cut the Yankee lead to 7-6. Coates then gave up a home run to Hal Smith to give the Pirates a 9-7 lead. Terry then relieved Coates and retired Don Hoak to finally end the inning. The Yankees got Coates off the hook by scoring twice in the top of the ninth to tie the game, only to lose on Mazeroski’s home run off Terry in the bottom of the 9th.

In 1961 Coates went 11-5 as a spot starter for perhaps the Major Leagues' greatest-ever team. Led by the hitting of Maris, Skowron, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and Elston Howard, the infield defense of Clete Boyer, Tony Kubek and Bobby Richardson, and Whitey Ford’s 25-4 season, the now-Ralph Houk-led Yankees (Stengel had been fired immediately after the 1960 World Series) won the World Series over the Cincinnati Reds in five games. Coates relieved Ford in Game Four of the Series and pitched four scoreless innings for the save in a 7-0 Yankee win; Ford had left the game with an injury, but not without first breaking Babe Ruth’s World Series record of 29 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings.

In 1962 Coates went 7-6 for a Yankee team that repeated as World Champions. Coates was the losing pitcher in Game Four of this Series, which the Yankees won over the San Francisco Giants in seven games.

In his career, Coates, whose nickname, “The Mummy,” came from his funereal visage on the mound, won 43 games against 22 losses, with a 4.00 ERA and 396 strikeouts in 683 1/3 innings pitched. He was also well-known for throwing at opposing batters. Jim Bouton, in his book, Ball Four, said Coates, after throwing at the opposing hitters, “would not get into the fights that followed.”

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