Pitcher For Legendary 61 Yankees Coming to Chesterfield
By DANIEL PARKER
Oct 31, 2017, 08:23
Jim Coates pitched for 9 years in the major league.
There are the Yankees and then there are the 1961 Yankees with a roster of legendary players that should fill a spot in any baseball card collection: Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle and Elston Howard. Coming into the area this weekend for a signing is one of the last remaining Yankee’s from that era and a Virginia native – Jim Coates.
Baseball fans in the Tri-Cities get ready; he’s coming to tell stories, sign autographs of pictures and sign his memoir “Always A Yankee” at the Hyundai Dealership in Chesterfield on Oct. 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. In 1961 standing at 6 foot 4 inches on the mound in black and white vertical stripes was Coates, Yankees starting pitcher nicknamed the Mummy by fans.
The Mummy was born in 1932 in Farnham, Virginia and grew up in Lively, Virginia. He grew up playing in the old summer leagues and broke his way through into the Yankee farm league in 1951. In 1956, he pushed himself through to prepare for a major league debut, but the Virginia native was sent back to the farm league. Coates commented that it may have been because there wasn’t enough room.
Back in the farm league for the Virginians, he won the 1st four ball games and then broke his arm on a pitch in 57. But the Yankees pitcher didn’t buckle, he pushed forward with a strong work ethic. What you have to do to get to the major leagues is work, commented Coates.
“The first thing is you got to do is work hard,” said Coates. “Nothing is given to you … you can’t have it on a silver platter ... you have to work for it.”
In 1960, he was on his first run with the New York Yankees. For the small town Virginian, it was strange making his way up the steps to the stadium.
“When you first walk out there, you see all these foot prints ahead of you,” he recalled. “And you think ‘what are you doing out here?’”
After that you pick up and just do your job, added Coates. The Yankees made it to the final game of the World Series, until in the bottom of the 9th the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Hal Smith knocked out a home run and put them ahead 9 to 7.
The next year was arguable the golden age for the Yankees, when they won the World Series. In the next year, they won the World Series again. That’s where Coates got his two championship rings. In 1963, he was traded from the Yankees to the Cincinnati Senators. Commenting on that special time in his life, Coates put it simply: “They were just good ball players. We all pulled together,” said Coates. “We had no individuals on that team, everyone played as a team.”
According to the Major League Baseball, Coates finished his 9 year career with 43 wins, 22 loses, 396 strikeouts and 683.1 innings pitched.