Jack Elmer Urban (December 5, 1928 in Omaha, Nebraska – June 26, 2006 in Omaha, Nebraska) is a former right-handed Major League Baseball pitcher who played from 1957 to 1959 for the Kansas City Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals.
Originally signed by the New York Yankees before the 1949 season, Urban was sent to the Athletics in a trade involving 13 players. The Yankees sent Irv Noren, Milt Graff, Mickey McDermott, Tom Morgan, Rip Coleman, Billy Hunter and Urban (as a player to be named later) to the Athletics for Art Ditmar, Bobby Shantz, Jack McMahan, Wayne Belardi and two players to be named later, who would end up being Curt Roberts and Clete Boyer.
Although not much is known about his minor league career, it is known that in 1954, he tossed a no-hitter for the Birmingham Barons of the Southern League.
He made his big league debut on June 13, 1957 at the age of 28 and came into the league with a bang. Facing the Washington Senators, he tossed a complete, allowing only two runs and five hits. Although the team as a whole finished 59–94 on the year, Urban did exceptionally well compared to that, finishing with a 7–4 record and a 3.34 ERA in 129.1 innings of work. He allowed only 111 hits and 45 walks as well.
Experiencing a sophomore slump, his 1958 season was not so impressive, however. In 30 games - 24 of which were starts - he went 8–11 with a 5.93 ERA. In 132 innings of work, he allowed 150 hits and 51 walks.
He was traded back to the Yankees on April 8, 1959 for Mark Freeman. Urban never appeared in a Yankees uniform however, as he was purchased by the Cardinals in May of that year. Appearing in only eight games for the Cardinals, Urban allowed 18 hits, seven walks and 11 earned runs in 102⁄3 innings for a 9.28 ERA. He played his final game on August 6, 1959 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Although he entered the league with a bang, he left with a disappointing game - in only 1/3 of an inning, he allowed a total of five runs.
Overall, in his three-year career Urban went 15–15 with a 4.83 ERA. In 272 innings, he allowed 279 hits, 103 walks, and he also had 113 strikeouts. A respectable hitter (for a pitcher), he hit .208 in 86 career at-bats.
By Dean Hanley
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