Recently on Twitter someone asked me to create a coach card for longtime Dodgers player and coach Jim “Junior” Gilliam. Well here it is: a 1974 edition celebrating the Major League career of the man:
Gilliam started his MLB career in 1953 when he was named the National
League rookie of the year, batting .278 with 168 hits, 100 walks, 125
runs scored and a league-leading 17 triples while taking over second
base for the eventual league champs. As a matter of fact he would top
100-runs scored his first four seasons in the big leagues, while always
making contact, striking out a mere 416 times over 7119 at-bats.
It was pretty much the same for him throughout his 14-year career, all
with the Dodger organization as he consistently hovered around those
rookie numbers while playing second and third through the 1950’s and
1960’s, giving the team a dependable lead-off hitter who would produce
year in and year out.
In 1964 he took his talents to another level when he became a
player-coach for the team, becoming a full-time coach in 1967 after
retiring as an active player, a position he would have until his
untimely death at the age of 49, just days before his 50th birthday in
A respected member of the Dodgers family, his number “19” was retired by
the organization days after his death, just prior to Game 1 of the
World Series, in honor of his 28-year tenure as both Major and Minor
League player and coach.