James William Colborn (born May 22, 1946) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher. The right-handed Colborn pitched for the Chicago Cubs (1969-1971), Milwaukee Brewers (1972-1976), Kansas City Royals (1977-1978) and Seattle Mariners (1978).
After graduating from Whittier College with a degree in sociology, Colborn studied for his masters degree at Edinburgh University in Scotland, where he also starred in basketball as well as baseball, being named all-Scotland. He was planning on becoming a sociology professor until baseball lured him away. In 1966, while in college, Colborn struck out 21 batters in a College All-Star Game in the Netherlands.
In 1967, the Chicago Cubs signed Colborn as an amateur free agent. He found himself in Leo Durocher’s doghouse after struggling as a young relief pitcher for three years. At the end of the 1971 season, Colborn was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for José Cardenal.
1973 was Colborn’s best season; he became the Brewers' first-ever 20-game winner, posting a 20-12 record with a 3.18 ERA. He also was named to the American League All-Star team, but did not pitch in the game.
Over the next three seasons, however, Colborn posted losing records (10-13 in 1974, 11-13 in 1975 and 9-15 in 1976) before being traded, along with Darrell Porter, to the Kansas City Royals. In 1977, Colborn won 18 games for a Royal team that won the second of three consecutive American League West titles (all three times, however, the Royals lost to the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series; Colborn did not pitch in the 1977 ALCS). On May 14 of that year, Colborn no-hit the Texas Rangers 6-0, the first no-hitter by a Royal at Royals Stadium and second overall in that park, after the first of Nolan Ryan's seven career no-hitters (1973).
For eight seasons, Colborn was on Jim Tracy's staff as a pitching coach: from 2000 to 2005, when Tracy managed the Los Angeles Dodgers, and in 2006 and 2007, when Tracy managed the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In 2008, Colborn became the Texas Rangers bullpen coach.
In his career, Colborn won 83 games against 88 losses, with a 3.80 ERA and 688 strikeouts in 15971⁄3 innings pitched.
By Dean Hanley
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