James Sloan Baumer (January 29, 1931 – July 8, 1996) was an American professional baseball player, scout, and front office executive. A right-handed-hitting infielder born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Baumer was a graduate of Broken Arrow Senior High. During his active career, he stood 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall and weighed 185 pounds (84 kg).
Baumer had a highly unusual Major League playing career. After reaching the Majors at age 18 with the 1949 Chicago White Sox, Baumer hit .400 (four hits in ten at bats, including a double and a triple). He then disappeared into the minor leagues and would not return to MLB until, as a 30-year-old, he had a brief trial with the 1961 Cincinnati Reds. Baumer appeared in ten of Cincinnati's first 13 games, eight as the Reds' starting second baseman, but collected only three singles and batted .125. The day of his last MLB game, April 27, 1961, the Reds acquired second baseman Don Blasingame in a trade with the San Francisco Giants, and Baumer was benched. He was traded to the Detroit Tigers for first baseman Dick Gernert on May 10, and returned to the minor leagues. Overall, Baumer batted .206 in 18 MLB games and 34 at bats, with two runs batted in. After his big league career, Baumer played for the Nishitetsu Lions in Japan from 1963 until 1967.
When his playing career ended, Baumer became a scout with the Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers, and was promoted to Milwaukee's director of scouting in 1974. The following season, he succeeded Jim Wilson as the Brewers' general manager. Baumer's most successful transaction during his three-year tenure as GM was his acquisition of first baseman Cecil Cooper from the Boston Red Sox following the 1976 season. However, the Brewers struggled on the field, and after their eighth straight losing season in Milwaukee in 1977, Baumer was fired and replaced by Harry Dalton.
He then joined the Philadelphia Phillies as a scout, and was promoted to director of the Phils' scouting and farm system operations in 1981. Two laters later, Baumer was named a team vice president. His role diminished after a front-office purge in 1988, but he remained with the Phillies as an area scout.
Baumer died at age 65 in the Philadelphia suburb of Paoli, Pennsylvania.
By Dean Hanley
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