07/20/2011 8:51 AM
Hall of Fame Pitchers Mitchell and Jabar are named Honorary Captains
By: Joe Sherman
07/20/2011 8:51 AM
Joe Jabar, Chatham 1966
CAPE COD, Mass. - They are enshrined in the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame for their exploits more than four decades ago, and each was a two-time selection as the league’s Outstanding Pitcher. One was a first-round draft choice who pitched for six seasons on four big league teams. The other signed as a free agent but hung up his spikes after one year in the minors to return to law school.
On Friday evening, July 29, Paul Mitchell and Joe Jabar, two of the most dominant pitchers in Cape League history, will return to the diamond as honorary captains for the West and East squads, respectively, in the 2011 Jordan’s Furniture Cape League All-Star Game at Fenway Park.
“Over the years, there have been many great pitchers in this league,” said Commissioner Paul Galop, “but these two guys were among the very best. We are absolutely delighted to have them with us again at Fenway Park on a very special night.”
Mitchell, a Worcester native and Worcester Academy graduate, pitched collegiately at Old Dominion University in Virginia. For three seasons, from 1969 to 1971, he was the ace of manager Bill Livesey’s Falmouth staff, setting records that still stand four decades later. No one has matched his total of 126 strikeouts in 1969, or his run of seven consecutive games with 10 or more strikeouts in 1970.
Paul Mitchell, Rochester Red Wings
The Cape League’s modern-era (since 1963) career leader in wins (25), strikeouts (317), games started (31), complete games (28) and ERA (1.53), Mitchell parlayed his Falmouth success into a big league career that started on July 1, 1975, when he was called up by the Baltimore Orioles, and ended on April 1, 1981, when he was released by the Milwaukee Brewers. In between were stints with the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners and many priceless memories.
In 162 major league appearances, Paul won 32 games and lost 39. He pitched 621.1 innings, all in the American League, striking out 277 batters and walking 191 while compiling a 4.45 ERA. His best season was his first, with Baltimore, as the rookie right-hander was 3-0 with a 3.63 ERA, striking out 31 and walking only 19 in 57 innings. But his time in Baltimore was short-lived. In April 1976, the Orioles traded Mitchell, fellow pitcher Mike Torrez and outfielder Don Baylor to Oakland for pitchers Ken Holtzman and Bill Van Bommell, a minor leaguer, and an outfielder named Reggie Jackson.
Mitchell was at his best in Cape League all-star games. He was the winning pitcher in 1970 at Yankee Stadium against the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League, and he duplicated that feat the following summer, beating the ACBL stars at Veterans Field in Chatham. He remains the only pitcher in league history to win two CCBL all-star games.
Inducted into the Cape League Hall of Fame with the class of 2002, Paul now lives quietly in Berlin, Mass., where he runs a family business.
Like Mitchell, Jabar excelled in All-Star Game competition. The Colby College right-hander first came to the Cape in 1965 to pitch at Yarmouth, recommended by his coach, the legendary John Winkin. He started 14 games for the Indians, going the distance in nine of them en route to a 7-4 season and a starting assignment for the Lower Cape against the Upper Cape in the All-Star Game at Wareham. Moving to Chatham in 1966, he was again named a Lower Cape All-Star and was credited with the win over the Upper Cape at Fuller Field in Falmouth.
Jabar’s two seasons at Chatham were nearly perfect. He posted successive 7-0 won-lost records for a powerful ball club managed by CCBL Hall of Famer Joe “Skip” Lewis and became the first two-time winner of the Outstanding Pitcher award. He remains one of only four men to accomplish this feat. The others are Mitchell (Falmouth, 1969-1970), John Caniera (Bourne, 1972; Chatham, 1973) and Bill Wissler (Bourne, 1990-1991). Wissler will be inducted into the Cape League Hall of Fame this November.
In 1966, with Tom Weir, another CCBL Hall of Famer, as his batterymate, Jabar carved out a 1.53 ERA. In ’67, with CCBL Hall of Famer and future New York Yankee captain Thurman Munson calling the pitches, he finished with a 1.23 ERA, another all-star season and Chatham’s first Cape League championship in decades. Counting his last win at Yarmouth in ’65, Jabar won 15 consecutive regular-season games, a Cape League record.
Munson, who had hit .420 to win the Cape League batting title in ’67, was the Yankees’ first-round draft choice the following June and received a signing bonus of $100,000, a small fortune in those days. Jabar, who had just received his degree in economics from Colby and was pitching in a summer league in Portland, jumped at an offer of $1,000 from the Seattle Pilots. The 22-year-old rookie was assigned to the Newark Co-Pilots of the Class-A New York-Penn League, where he posted an impressive 10-4 record and a 3.99 ERA. He also held his own at the plate, batting .235 well before the designated hitter was introduced.
When he learned that he would not be promoted to a higher level in ’69, Jabar decided that his baseball career was over. He returned to Portland and the University of Maine Law School, where he received his JD in 1971. Since then, his distinguished career has taken him to Washingon, D.C., where he served as a federal prosecutor for the Justice Department, and back to Maine, where he has been an imposing figure in the state’s political, civic and judicial circles.
He was elected to two terms in the Maine State House of Representatives, serving from 1996 to 2001, and has been a state Workers’ Compensation Commissioner, a member of the Waterville Board of Education and a district attorney for Kennebec-Somerset Counties. For 25 years he was a partner with the Waterville law firm of Jabar, Batten Ringer and Murphy.
His first judicial appointment was to the Maine Superior Court by Gov. Angus King in 2001. He was re-appointed in 2008 by Gov. John Baldacci and while sitting on the Superior Court he served on the Family Law Advisory Commission, Criminal Law Advisory Commission, Media and the Courts Committee and State Sentencing and Corrections Council. Gov. Baldacci appointed him to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Sept. 1, 2009. His term ends in 2016.
Judge Jabar was inducted into the Cape League Hall of Fame in 2003.
Plenty of good seats remain for the 2011 All-Star Game. All tickets are general admission, priced at $10 each, and they can be purchased at any Cape League ballpark, online through the Cape League’s web site, www.capecodbaseball.org., or from the Red Sox. A portion of the proceeds from each ticket sold at a CCBL park goes directly to the home team. On game day, all tickets will cost $12 at Fenway Park.