Boston Red Sox: 50 greatest players of all-time
The Red Sox signed Stanford University standout right-hander Jim Lonborg in the summer of 1963 and by April 1965, he was in the majors.
He took some early lumps, but was 10-10 for the ninth-place Red Sox in 1966. No one knew what was on the horizon.
Lonborg emerged as the ace of the staff in 1967, leading the American League with 22 wins and 246 strikeouts, cruising to the AL Cy Young Award while leading Boston to its first pennant in 21 years.
In the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Lonborg won Games 2 and 5 before coming back on short rest in Game 7 to match up with Bob Gibson. He didn’t have his best stuff, giving up seven runs, six earned, in six innings and the Cardinals cruised to the title.
For the series, Lonborg was 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA and 0.667 WHIP in 24 innings, having completed his first two starts while allowing just one run.
After the season, Lonborg took a trip to Lake Tahoe, California for some skiing, a decison that would change his career.
He wiped out while attempting to stop, per the Society for American Baseball Research, and tore ligaments in his left knee. He returned in May, as he had set his goal to do so, but compensating for the bad knee led to shoulder problems, problems that plagued him the remainder of his career.
By 1970, Lonborg had been exiled to Triple-A Louisville before being sent home for the season in August.
In October 1971, after something of a bounce-back season, Lonborgwas dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers in a 10-player blockbuster, along with George Scott, Ken Brett, Billy Conigliaro, Joe Lahoud and Don Pavletich, with Tommy Harper, Marty Pattin, Lew Krausse and Patrick Skrable coming to the Sox.
In seven seasons with Boston, Lonborg was 68-65 wth a 3.94 ERA and 1.305 WHIP, striking out 784 in 1,099 innings. He started 163 of his 204 appearances with 38 complete games.
Lonborg would end his career with a seven-year stint with the Philadelphia Phillies, retiring after his release in 1979.
After retirement, he completed his education and became a practicing dentist in Hanover, Massachusetts.