1971 Pittsburgh Pirates Profiles- Jim Nelson- pitcher.
- Who started and won the final game at Forbes Field for the Pirates? Jim Nelson.
- Jim Nelson was a right-handed pitcher who pitched parts of two seasons for the Pirates- 1970 and 1971. The 6 foot 180 pound Nelson was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1947 and graduated from high school in Sacramento, California. The Pirates drafted him in the 31st round of the 1965 June draft- the first draft ever.
- In 1970 Nelson broke into the majors with the Pirates at the age of 22. He started 10 of the 15 games he appeared in- with a record of 4-2 with a 3.42 ERA. In the championship season of 1971 he pitched in 17 games-starting 2 with a 2-2 record with a 2.32 ERA.
- In July of 1971 he was demoted to the minor leagues- his main issue seemed to be control he walked 26 batters in 34 innings in 1971. Nelson did something that certainly looks like a mistake for a 24 year old to do in 1971- he refused to report to the minors. At the end of the season the players on the Pirates did award him a half share of their World Series money- but Pirate management refused to give him a World Series Championship ring.
- He did return to the Pirates minor leagues in 1972- and pitched in 17 games at their AAA Charleston, WV club- it would be his last season in organized baseball due to a career ending injury.
- Jim Nelson’s career ended when he underwent rotator cuff surgery- he never appeared in another MLB game. Rotator cuff problems were a big problem back in the 70’s and 80’s- ended many a career. Nelson was 24 when he made his last MLB appearance. His career stats 6-4 with a 3:06 ERA -indicted he was a decent pitching prospect before the injuries.
- Jim Nelson was a fair hitter for a pitcher- overall in the 1970’s Pirate pitchers handled the bat well- Nelson in his short career had a .269 batting average- going 7-26.
- Jim Nelson died unexpectedly in 2004 at the age of 57.