Services Scheduled For Long Time Culver Resident and Chicago White Sox Star
Jim McAnany Played in the 1959 World Series
January 7, 2016
Longtime Culver City resident James (Jim) McAnany died on December 16 at the age of 79.
A memorial mass is scheduled for Saturday, January 9 at 11 am at St. Peter Cleaver Catholic Church, 2380 Stow St. in Simi Valley.
A devoted Grandfather. he moved to Simi Valley to be closer to his Grandchildren.
He owned and operated Norman Eck Insurance for many years then joined his son Jimmy McAnany at Neilson/McAnany Insurance in Simi Valley which is owned by his son.
McAnany was active with youth sports with the Babe Ruth Little League and hosting families for the tournaments. He supported LMU and Loyola high school booster clubs along with supporting sports programs at Cal State Northridge.
Mel Marmer, writing for Society for American Baseball Research, appreciates McAnany's baseball talent.
After playing in the minor league recalled Jim McAnany, who was batting .315 at Indianapolis, in hope of providing an offensive spark. Writes Marmer..
"Mac" did an outstanding job – within three weeks, he was batting .382, with 14 RBI in 15 games. Jim was a complete player: in addition to his timely hitting, he ran well, and racked up six outfield assists.
In his book, '59 Summer of the Sox, author Bob Vanderberg quotes New York Yankees manager Casey Stengel addressing the White Sox beat reporters about McAnany after a game: "They've been a real ballclub since that McSweeney come up.
" First time I see him, he throws one of my men out at the plate in Chicago. He makes catches, he runs, he hits good. You ain't had a bit of trouble in right field since he got there. Before that, you had nothing else but trouble."
Jim McAnany's baseball career ended prematurely because of nagging injuries. Jim had few regrets, however; he considered himself fortunate to do what he loved best: play Major League Baseball, and to have earned a World Series ring in the process. "Mac" has enjoyed a "good life" after baseball.
James McAnany was born September 4 1936, in Los Angeles and grew up in the city's Westside district. His father, Clifford, was a sales manager for Picksweet/ Swanson Frozen Foods and his mother, Stella, nee Pociask, a housewife. There were four children – two boys and two girls.
He and his brother first played baseball in nearby Rancho Park. At Loyola high school Jim played the outfield and the team became the California Interscholastic Federation champion
He was also a halfback on the football team. As he grew up Jim followed the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League on the radio. The first professional baseball game he saw was between the Angels and the Hollywood Stars.
Jim attended USC for two years, playing the outfield before leaving during his sophomore year. He was signed by White Sox scouts Hollis Thurston and Doc Bennett, the same pair who signed Johnny Callison a year later.
McAnany was called up to Chicago at the end of the 1958 season and made his major-league debut in Kansas City's Municipal Stadium on September 19, appearing as a pinch hitter for Early Wynn. He struck out swinging against Ralph Terry.
He started three games in right field in 1958. He finished the year with a batting average of .000, having made outs in each of his 13 at-bats. Five of the outs were strikeouts. It was a disappointing finish to the year.
McAnany began 1959 in Indianapolis and found a lot more success when the White Sox called him up late in June. He recalled, "I was on a plane to Denver. They notified me to say I was going to Chicago. I got to Chicago and took a cab to Comiskey Park. I got there in the third inning of a Yankee game. The next day, I was in the starting lineup!"
That day, Sunday, June 28, Lopez sat left-handed batter Harry Simpson, who had gotten two hits off right-hander Bob Turley the day before, and started McAnany in right field against lefty Whitey Ford. McAnany responded with the first Sox hit of the game, a single. He hit safely in his first four starts, all of them games in which the opposing team started left-handers.
McAnany's hot streak continued well into July. One example: he had only three triples in his career, but two of them came on the same day, July 12, 1959, one in each game of a doubleheader against Kansas City. Both triples came with the bases loaded. Six of his 27 career RBIs came on that one day.
On July 17, McAnany "returned the favor" to Ralph Terry, who had struck him out in his first major-league at-bat in '58, by breaking up Terry's no-hit bid in the ninth inning with a line single into center field. The White Sox went on to defeat the Yankees, 2-0, before their largest road crowd of the season, 42,168. It was an important win, putting Chicago ahead of Cleveland by a game and 6½ up on the Yankees.
McAnany wound up starting a team-high 58 games in right field for the White Sox in 1959. He also started two games in left field, and played three innings in center field. He accumulated 210 at-bats with a .276 batting average, driving in 27 runs and doing his part to help Chicago reach the World Series.
After the 1959 fall classic, in which McAnany walked once and made five outs in six plate appearances for another .000 batting average, he entered the Army Reserve and completed basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. In February, while stationed there, he was able to get leave long enough to come home for a weekend and marry his sweetheart, Rosemary.
Back at Fort Leonard Wood, working in the snow and 10-degree temperatures, he injured his shoulder. As spring approached, Jim tried to work out to prepare for spring training. The shoulder problem recurred and began to nag him. It eventually led to his retirement from baseball.
McAnany recalled: "I was released from duty late and was late getting to spring training in 1960. It was a big disappointment coming off a World Series 'high.' Then, in 1961, I was recalled to active duty because of the Berlin Crisis and spent most of the year at Fort Lewis, Washington.
"It was a big disruption to my baseball career. But I have no regrets; I felt that it was my duty to serve my country. I just wish that it had not played such a large part in ending my baseball career prematurely."
On his hitting: "I had difficulty hitting fastballs and curves, especially those thrown by Sandy Koufax. Fortunately, no pitcher seemed to have had my number; I didn't strike out that much (38 whiffs in 241 big-league at-bats). I'm glad Early Wynn was on our side; I'd have hated to hit against him in a game. Ryne Duren was a tough pitcher – we thought that he was mean-spirited. In retrospect, he was probably using his control problems – lack of it – to intimidate us.
Jim and Rosemary'son, Jim (James Emmot), played in the College World Series for Loyola Marymount University and was drafted by the Angels. He played 271 minor-league games before joining his father full time in the insurance business.
Daughter Michele, a teacher, played baseball for Phil Niekro's Colorado Silver Bullets. Jim and Rosemary live near their children and five grandchildren.
Portions of this article originally appeared in the book Go-Go To Glory--The 1959 Chicago White Sox (ACTA, 2009), edited by Don Zminda.