The Forgotten Brewers Series: Part IX

Well, BCBers, we've reached the pinnacle. This week's forgotten Brewer is one of our all-time greats. Jim Slaton is the Brewers' career leader in wins (117), losses (121), games started (268), shutouts (19) and innings pitched (2025.1). He is second all-time in complete games with 69, third with 929 strikeouts and eighth in ERA at 3.86.

James Michael Slaton was born on June 19, 1950 in Long Beach, California. He went to Antelope Valley High School and Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, California. The Seattle Pilots drafted him in the 15th round of the 1969 draft as the 335th overall pick.

Slaton pitched in just a handful of minor league games and threw a total of 140 innings before making his major league debut on April 14, 1971. He went 10-8 with a 3.78 ERA and 1.429 WHIP in 23 starts that year. Slaton spent part of the 1973 season in Triple A, before becoming one of the mainstays of Milwaukee’s rotation during the early years of the franchise. He started at least 31 games in each of the next five seasons and represented the Brewers in the 1977 All-Star game, although he did not make an appearance in the game. 

Following the 1977 season, Slaton and Rich Folkers were traded to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Ben Oglivie. Slaton went 17-11 as a Tiger but didn't stay away for long. He returned to the Brewers as a free agent after just one season with the Tigers. After a few injury plagued years, Slaton returned to the Brewers rotation to help lead them to the 1981 playoffs and the 1982 World Series. Slaton was the winning pitcher in game four of the World Series, a 7-5 come-from-behind victory over the Cardinals.

The Brewers traded Slaton for a second time following the 1983 season. He was shipped to California in exchange for Bobby Clark. Slaton pitched for the Angles and the Tigers before retiring after the 1986 season. In Slaton’s 16-year career, he went 151-158 with a 4.03 ERA, 4.27 FIP and 1.407 WHIP. He compiled a 16.5 WAR (Baseball Reference). 

A few years after retirement, Slaton found himself back in baseball as a pitching coach in the Florida State League. His coaching career now surpasses his playing career. Over 16 seasons, Slaton has worked in a number of capacities for a number of teams, including stints as the Mariners and Dodgers bullpen coach. After spending the previous three seasons as the pitching coach for the Albuquerque Isotopes, Slaton will take over as the Dodgers' pitching coach at Camelback Ranch - Glendale. He will be responsible for overseeing the pitchers in Arizona, Ogden and the Dominican Republic.

If anyone has an "oddest little tidbit" for Jim Slaton, please share it in the comments section.

Jim Slaton, you are no longer forgotten.

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