James Emory "Jimmie" Foxx (October 22, 1907 – July 21, 1967), nicknamed "Double X" and "The Beast", was a right-handed American Major League Baseball first baseman and noted power hitter. Foxx was the second major league player to hit 500 career home runs, after Babe Ruth; and, at age 32 years 336 days, is the second youngest to reach that mark, behind Alex Rodriguez. His three career Most Valuable Player awards are tied for second all-time.
Born in Sudlersville, Maryland, Foxx played baseball in high school and dropped out to join a minor league team managed by former Philadelphia Athletics great Frank "Home Run" Baker. Foxx had hoped to pitch or play third base, but since the team was short on catchers, Foxx moved behind the plate. He immediately drew interest from the Athletics and New York Yankees. Foxx signed with the A's and made his major league debut in Template:By at age 17.
Major league careerEdit
The A's catching duties were already filled by future Hall of Famer Mickey Cochrane, so by Template:By, Foxx was splitting time between catching, first base, and the outfield. In Template:By, installed as the A's regular first baseman, Foxx had a breakthrough year, batting .354 and hitting 33 home runs.
In Template:By, Foxx hit .364, with 58 home runs with 169 RBIs, missing the Triple Crown by just three points in batting average. Boston Red Sox first baseman Dale Alexander hit .367, but in just 454 plate appearances; he would not have won the batting title under current rules, which are based upon 3.1 plate appearances per team games played. Foxx did win the Triple Crown the following season, with a batting average of .356, 163 RBIs, and 48 home runs. He won back-to-back MVP honors in 1932 and 1933.
Foxx was one of the three or four most feared sluggers of his era. The great Yankee pitcher Lefty Gomez once said of him, "He has muscles in his hair." In Template:By, Foxx hit a ball into the third deck of the left-field stands at Yankee Stadium in New York, a very rare feat because of the distance and the angle of the stands. Gomez was the pitcher who gave it up, and when asked how far it went, he said, "I don't know, but I do know it took somebody 45 minutes to go up there and get it back."
When the Great Depression fully hit in the early 1930s, A's owner Connie Mack was unable to pay the salaries of his highly paid stars and was obliged to sell off a number of them. In Template:By, Mack sold Foxx's contract to the Boston Red Sox for $150,000 following a contract dispute.
Boston Red SoxEdit
Foxx played six years for Boston, including a spectacular Template:By season in which he hit 50 home runs, drove in 175 runs, batted .349, won his third MVP award, and again narrowly missed winning the Triple Crown. Foxx is one of nine players to have won three MVPs; only Barry Bonds (7) has more.
On June 16, 1938, he set an American League record when he walked six times in a game. In Template:By he hit .360, his second best all-time season batting average. His 50 home runs would remain the single-season record for the Red Sox until David Ortiz hit 54 in Template:By.
Chicago Cubs & Philadelphia PhilliesEdit
Foxx's skills diminished significantly after Template:By. Some sources attribute this to a drinking problem, while others attribute it to a sinus condition. He split the Template:By season between the Red Sox and Chicago Cubs, playing mostly a reserve role. He sat out the Template:By season and appeared only in 15 games in Template:By, mostly as a pinch hitter.
He wound up his career with the Philadelphia Phillies in Template:By, filling in at first and third, pinch hitting, and even pitching nine games, compiling a surprising 1-0 record and 1.59 ERA over 22.2 innings. Interestingly, the man who was so often called the right-handed Babe Ruth throughout his career was the opposite of Ruth in this regard. Ruth began his big-league career as a pitcher; Foxx ended his big-league career as one.
Foxx finished his twenty-year career with 534 home runs, 1922 runs batted in, and a .325 batting average. His twelve consecutive seasons with 30 or more home runs was a major league record until it was broken by Barry Bonds in Template:By. At the end of his career, his 534 home runs placed him second only to Ruth on the all-time list, and first among right-handed hitters. He retained these positions until Willie Mays passed Foxx for second place in Template:By.
Jimmy Foxx was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1951.
A series of bad investments left Foxx broke by 1958. He worked as a minor league manager and coach after his playing days ended, including managing the Fort Wayne Daisies of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League for one season in 1952. He took them to the playoffs where they lost in the first round 2 games to 1 against the Rockford Peaches. Foxx did not return for the 1953 season. Tom Hanks' character Jimmy Dugan in the movie A League of Their Own was largely based on Foxx and Hack Wilson, although the producers took a number of liberties in creating the role.
Foxx served as head coach for the University of Miami baseball team for two seasons, going 9-8 in 1956 and 11-12 in 1957.
Foxx died in Template:By at age 59 in Miami, Florida, apparently by choking to death on a piece of meat. He is buried at Flagler Memorial Park in Miami. A statue of Foxx was erected in his hometown on October 25, 1997. In 1999, he ranked number 15 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was a nominee for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.
Foxx is also mentioned in the first stanza of Charles Bukowski's poem "Betting on the Muse."
In Harry Turtledove's alternate history novel Settling Accounts: Drive to the East, Foxx, instead of becoming a Hall of Fame first baseman, was a running back in the U.S. football league. His name was also notably used as a password in US Army general [[Irving