Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Jim Northrup (#78)

Here is Jim Northrup, embarking on a banner year in 1968 which would lead to the World Series championship for the Tigers. Jim reached career highs in games, at-bats, and RBI in ’68. He also clubbed 2 homers and collected 8 RBI in the Fall Classic.

Northrup played 4 years (1961-64) in the Tigers’ farm system and made his big-league debut in September 1964. In '65 he was with Detroit for the entire season as the team’s 4th outfielder, primarily playing right field when Al Kaline moved over to center field.

In 1966 Jim’s starts in right field increased to 97 games as he moved up to the #3 spot (behind Kaline and Willie Horton) in the outfield. With Don Demeter shipped out to the Red Sox in mid-June, Kaline spent much more time over in center field than he had in 1965.

The Tigers’ used a 4-man outfield in the late-1960s. With defensively-challenged slugger Willie Horton holding down left field, the other 2 spots were a rotation of Kaline, Northrup, and Mickey Stanley, with the fleet Stanley usually only playing center field.

1968 to 1970 were Jim’s big power years, hitting over 20 homers each season.  His 90 RBI in 1968 was 3rd in the AL.

In August 1974 he was traded to the Expos, who flipped him to the Orioles a month later. Northrup finished his career as a part-time center fielder for the Orioles in 1975.

He passed away in June 2011 at age 71.

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