Jim Colborn ‘Recounts’ Bullpen Hijinks

“How many fans in Cleveland today?”

What’s better than hanging out at the ballpark with friends?

How about getting paid to hang out in a ballpark bullpen?

Jim Colborn confessed to some major league fun during his career. He wasn’t a starter all his life! He wrote:

“The BULLPEN is always fun — endless pranks and jokes to pass the time and deal with the stress.

  • Once counted every person in attendance in Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium.
  • Often traded balls for hot dogs, etc.
  • Built fires to stay warm.
  • Not as much fun now — too serious — higher standards and expectations for athletes. Good-natured fun too often misconstrued as evil, harmful, politically incorrect, etc. The days of innocence are gone.”

Thankfully, baseball still has colorful characters like Colborn to preserve its wacky, wonderful past.

Brewer Jim Colborn Wins 22-Inning Battle

Do you remember everything you were doing 37 or 38 years ago?

Jim Colborn, an experienced pitching coach, kindly hinted that I had a typo in my letter. I asked him about winning an epic battle against the Twins on May 12, 1972. Not 1973. (http://www.retrosheet.org/ knew the right date, too!) He showed tact and humility, refusing to brag about hitting his team’s only triple in the waning days before the designated hitter.

Colborn wrote:

“Was this game in 1973 or 1972? I remember it well. Seems like Harmon Killebrew kept coming up…I was trying to be careful he didn’t hit one out. Biggest memory besides triple was that victory came the next day! Next day’s starter, Jim Lonborn, pitched bottom of the 21st for save after we scored in top half. We waited half hour or so and he started the next game — AND, as I remember it, that game went 14 INNINGS!”

Tomorrow: Shades of Bull Durham, Batman! Colborn reveals some of his favorite 1970s diversions while hanging out in bullpens.

Cubs Pitcher Jim Colborn Recalls Stormy Times With Manager Leo Durocher

Pitcher Jim Colborn sent me an early Christmas present. I asked about three topics. He sent me true tales from the diamond. Remember the old CBS “You Are There” programs? He’s that good. Why don’t we see the likes of Jim on This Week in Baseball? Baseball broadcast teams, take note. This guy is a classic storyteller.

First, I asked about manager Leo Durocher.

“Leo had an ego problem. He needed strokes so badly he put people down and manipulated them to make himself feel UP. Sad kind of person.”

Tomorrow: Colborn recounts a never-ending game against the Minnesota Twins!

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