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jim barbieri, 1967 topps #76, dodgers

Player: Barbieri, Jim

Card: 1967 Topps #76

Position: OF

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playerbio

James Patrick Barbieri (born September 15, 1941 in Schenectady, NY) is an American former outfielder in Major League Baseball (MLB) who played for the 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers and appeared in the World Series. He later played in Japan with the Chunichi Dragons in 1970. Jim is one of only a few players in baseball history to win the Little League World Series, and later appear in a major league World Series (and the first to do so).

Barbieri played in two Little League World Series for Schenectady, New York. In 1953, his team lost the championship game to Birmingham, Alabama. In 1954, his team won the championship, defeating Colton, California, in the final. As captain of the championship team, Barbieri became the public face of Schenectady’s young hardball heroes. In addition to receiving the squad’s trophies, the 4-foot-9 outfielder appeared on The Perry Como Chesterfield Show and The Today Show, and was interviewed on national radio by baseball announcer Mel Allen. He also received congratulatory kisses from singer Dinah Shore and the Albany Tulip Queen.

Most famously, Barbieri received the honor of tossing the first pitch of the 1954 World Series. He later commented that in every city he played with the Dodgers, “there would be a story in the local newspaper that I was the kid who threw out the first ball at the ‘54 World Series and now I’m a pro ballplayer myself."

Barbieri signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1960, and spent that season with two of their lower level farm teams. From 1963 through 1969, Barbieri played for the Triple-A Spokane Indians, appearing in a total of 759 games while batting .279 with 60 home runs and 321 RBIs during seven seasons.

In July 1966, Barbieri was called up to the Dodgers, making his MLB debut on July 5 against the Cincinnati Reds as the starting left fielder; he went 0-for-2 at the plate while collecting a walk and a stolen base. His first major league hit came the next day, a lead-off single off of Milt Pappas of the Reds. Barbieri appeared in a total of 39 regular season games with the Dodgers, including eight starts in right field and nine starts in left field. He batted .280 (23-for-82) while collecting three RBIs and scoring nine runs.

At 5-feet-7-inches tall and weighing just 155 pounds, Jim Barbieri was the smallest player on almost every team he played for. His stature was the subject of frequent clubhouse ribbing, but Barbieri took it all in stride: “Guys called me Mighty Mouse and Rat and Dingle for years; everybody had a nickname in baseball, but they weren’t meant to be offensive, they were part of the game. I always figured as long as guys were getting on you, they liked you.” Sportswriters, too, joined in on the act. He was often compared to Albie Pearson, the notoriously diminutive (5-feet-5) California Angels outfielder. One columnist even wrote that Barbieri was “approximately the size of a fungo bat.

The Dodgers won the National League pennant with a 95–67 record, and faced the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series. Barbieri made one appearance; pinch hitting in the pitcher's spot in the fourth inning of Game 1, he struck out against Moe Drabowsky. The Dodgers fell to the Orioles in a four-game sweep.

After returning to Triple-A Spokane for the 1967 through 1969 seasons, Barbieri played for the Chunichi Dragons of Nippon Professional Baseball in 1970, his last season in professional baseball. He played in 93 games for the Dragons, batting .188 with nine home runs and 31 RBIs. A teammate on the Dragons was John Miller, also a former MLB player.

Shortly after his return from Japan, Barbieri worked in sporting-goods sales, followed by a longer stint working for a friend’s beer distribution company. Retired, he began to spend time in his garden, growing vegetables for another of his passions: Italian cooking. He was an inaugural inductee to the Capital District Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011.

(excerpted from SABR, Baseball Almanac, BR Bullpen & Wikipedia)

morecards

1990 Target Dodgers 100 Anniversary #32

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Jim is part of the LA/Brooklyn Dodgers Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop


See all Jim’s baseball cards at TCDB


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