Born: January 7, 1940
Town: Jersey City
James John Hannan was born January 7, 1940 in Jersey City. A good all-around athlete, he followed in the footsteps of his older cousin, John Clune, and starred for St. Peter’s Prep, a Catholic school with a strong sports program. Among its graduates were basketball star George Blaney and football star Mickey Murtagh. Jim was the star of the baseball team. He stood 6’3” and had a smooth delivery and a heavy, sinking fastball. Jim accepted a scholarship to Notre Dame, where he became a teammate of Carl Yastrzemski. The Irish went to the College World Series his freshman year and reached the NCAA Regionals the next three.
Jim followed Yaz to the Boston Red Sox, signing with Boston in 1961. After going 17–7 in his first pro campaign and being named Rookie of the Year in the NY-Penn League, he was drafted by the expansion Washington Senators. In 1962, he became the last player to make the jump from Class-D to the majors. Jim actually split the season between AAA Syracuse and the big club. Working primarily out of the bullpen, he strung together 23 scoreless innings as a rookie and also saved 4 games.
In 1965, the Senators converted Jim into a starter. He spent most of the year in the minors but threw his first major league shutout at the end of the year against the Kansas City A’s. In 1968, Jim went 10–6 for a Washington team that went 65–96, with a 3.01 ERA and allowed just 4 home runs in 140 innings. In a game against the Indians that season he retired 26 batters in a row. In 1970, Jim just missed a no-hitter against the Royals when rightfielder Frank Howard missed a shoestring catch on a Paul Schaal liner. It was the only hit Jim allowed that day. After the 1970 season, Jim was included in a multiplayer deal with the Tigers that brought Denny McLain to the capital. The Tigers turned around and traded Jim to the Brewers a month into the 1971 season.
Milwaukee released Jim after 1971. He went to spring training with the Braves in 1972 but did not make the cut. At 32, he decided it was time to move on. He had worked as a stockbroker in the off-seasons and continued in that business. He earned his MBA at NYU and became an executive with Morgan Stanley in Washington DC. Jim was politically active during his major league career, serving as a team player rep and an American League player rep, as well as a member of the pension committee. He was also one of the founders of the MLB Players Alumni Association. In 2005, St. Peter’s started a sports Hall of Fame. Jim was one of its original inductees, along with Blaney and his cousin George .