Hold Em, Not Win Em-Jeffcoats Aim: Spotless Mark of Six Wins Surprises Cub Righthander, Majors No. 1 Relief Artist, Daily Racing Form, 1955-06-07


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♦ : : Hold "Em, Not Win Em— Jeffcoats Aim Spotless Mark of Six Wins Surprises Cub Righthander, Majors No. 1 Relief Artist By MILTON RICHMAN United Press Sports Writer NEW YORK, N. Y., June 6.— Hal Jeff-coat of the Cubs is merely aiming to "hold em, not win em" — so his spotless record of six victories and no defeats comes as much a surprise to him as it does to you. "I didnt set out to win ball games particularly this season," says Jeffcoat, whose record qualifies him as .the No. 1 relief pitcher in the majors. "My chief aim was to help other pitchers on our staff out of a jam. What I was trying to do was hold em, not win em." Jeffcoat, a converted outfielder who posted a so-so 5-6 record in his first year as a pitcher last season, insists he owes ■ his current perfect mark to the hitting of "the other fellows on the ball club." "My roomie, Ransom Jackson, has won four games alone for me with the long ball in the late innings," Jeffcoat says, "and Bob Speake has done real gooa by me, too." Manager Stan Hack, however, claims Jeffcoat, who switched from the outfield to the pitching mound in the spring of 1954, owes the bulk of his success to himself. "Hal has worked like a Trojan out there in the bullpen," declares the Chicago skipper. Control Greatly Improved "He always had a fine sinking fast ball and his big problem last year was getting it over the plate. Notice how much his control has improved? Thats no accident. He worked on it every time he was sent down to the bullpen." Hack, who held down third base for the Cubs during the era that Bucky Walters of Cincinnati made his successful conversion from third baseman to pitcher, points out a distinct similarity between him and Jeffcoat. "Walters had an excellent sinker and so has Jeffcoat," he said. "Bucky did so well because he kept the ball low; so does Jeffcoat. Hal is faster than Walters, though." Another factor in Jeffcoats success was the development of a screwball, which he picked up from the Giants Ruben Gomez while they played for Santurce of the Puerto Rican League last winter. Jeffcoat used to yearn to be a starting pitcher, but he no longer does. "Im happy where I am," he says. "For a while, I thought Id like to be a starter, but it looks like the club has found a round peg for a round hole and Im glad to be able to do anything to help." Jeffcoat, whose .older brother, George, pitched briefly for Brooklyn, admits he still feels "a little anxiety" on the mound, but hes confident hell be a better pitcher with added experience. "Id like to be as smooth and as reserved in a jam as Marv Grissom of the Giants," he said. "Its a pleasure to watch a fellow like him pitch." Take it from the Cubs, though, theyd much rather watch Jeffcoat pitch any time.

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1950s/drf1955060701/drf1955060701_2_6
Local Identifier: drf1955060701_2_6
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800