Top 100 Baseball Blog

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Jim Woods: The High School Student Who Was a Major League Baseball Player

Third baseman Jim Woods was a coveted prospect, who first played in the major leagues before he had even turned 18. Unfortunately, his big-league career consisted of several cups of coffee instead of the stardom some had him pegged for, as injuries cut his aspirations short and he was forced to hang it up when he was just 24. 
In what must have been a dream scenario for him, the Chicago native was signed by the Chicago Cubs in 1957 when he was still in high school. With the team on its way to 92 losses, there was more leeway to be creative with the roster, and the 17-year-old right-handed hitting Woods appeared in two games. Although he did not get to bat, he did score a run in a pinch-running appearance.

The Cubs took a wiser approach and let Woods do some developing in the minor leagues. At 19, in 1959, he hit .287 with 20 home runs and appeared to be a budding star. In the winter before the start of the 1960 season, he was the proverbial prospect in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies that netted Chicago star outfielder Richie Ashburn
Woods appeared in a total of 36 games with Philadelphia over the next two seasons, spending the bulk of his time in the minors. His big-league numbers consisted of a .207 batting average, with three home runs and 12 RBIs. Although a year apart, two of his homers came against Bob Friend of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Over the final few years of his career, Woods battled injuries and finding a permanent home. From 1961-1964 he played in the organizations of the Phillies (twice), the Los Angeles Angels, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds. 
His final season came in Double-A for Cincinnati in 1964. After playing in just 65 games and hitting .206, he retired as a player. 
Keep reading for some of his memories from his baseball career.
Jim Woods Questionnaire:
If you could do anything about your career differently, what would that be?: Nothing. It was what it was to be.
What was the strangest play you ever saw as a player?: We were playing in Louisville against a Bob Uecker team. He struck out and threw his bat over his head in disgust; with two hands, directly over his head.
Who was your favorite coach or manager?: Wow, a lot of great guys, but Chuck Tanner and Red Davis stick out. 
What is your favorite moment from your playing career?: Having respect of all the fans, and just having the chance to play. Not many have that chance. 
My first home run. I have the ball.
Signing with the Cubs, but as a Phillie, playing in Wrigley Field. I am a Chicago boy.

You can check me out on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @historianandrew

I have also authored a number of books (eBook and paperback) on topics of baseball that are available on Amazon.

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