Saturday, August 31, 2019

Joe Coleman (#127)

Joe Coleman Jr. was a starting pitcher for the Senators (1965-70) and Tigers (1971-76), then spent his last 2 ½ years bouncing around to 5 different teams.

Coleman (whose father pitched for the Philadelphia Athletics and others from 1942-55) was the Senators’ 1st-round pick in the June 1965 draft. He made his major-league debut that September, with 2 complete-game wins at age 18.

After spending much of 1966 back in the minors, Joe made the Senators on a permanent basis in April 1967. He started 22 games and posted 8 wins in his rookie season.

Coleman won 12 games in 1968 and 1969 – not bad for a perennially bad team. He also had an identical 3.27 ERA both years, and struck out 139 and 182 batters.

After an off-year in 1970, Joe was part of an 8-player trade with the Tigers. Coleman, along with shortstop Ed Brinkman, 3rd baseman Aurelio Rodriguez, and pitcher Jim Hannan were exchanged for pitchers Denny McLain and Norm McRae, 3rd baseman Don Wert, and outfielder Elliott Maddox. With McLain’s career crumbling, the Tigers got the better of that deal.

Joe put in 5 full seasons with Detroit, including winning 20, 19, and 23 games from 1971-73. He also struck out over 200 batters each of those seasons, and made the All-Star team in 1972.

In June 1976 he was sold to the Cubs, which started the slow unwinding of his career, as he bounced from the Cubs to the Athletics, Blue Jays, Giants, and finally the Pirates in 1979.

Coleman has been a minor and major-league pitching coach for the Angels, Cardinals, Rays, Tigers, and Marlins since 1980.

Joe Jr was the middleman in 3 generations of ballplayers. His son Casey pitched for the Cubs and Royals from 2010 to 2014.