James Edward Pendleton (January 7, 1924 — March 20, 1996) was an American professional baseball player, an outfielder in the Major Leagues between 1953 and 1962. The native of St. Charles, Missouri, played for the Milwaukee Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, and Houston Colt .45s. He was a right-handed batter and thrower, measured 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and weighed 185 pounds (84 kg).
At the age of 29, on April 17, 1953, Pendleton made his Major League debut with the Milwaukee Braves. He had been a top shortstop in the Negro National League in the late 1940s. Upon signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers, he took two years off his age. But Hall of Famer Pee Wee Reese was entrenched as the shortstop for Brooklyn, and Pendleton found himself stuck at the Triple-A level of the minor leagues for four years, even though he was an excellent hitter.
In 1953, he was traded to the Braves as part of a four-team transaction (involving the Reds and the Philadelphia Phillies, as well as the Braves and Dodgers). He played more than 100 games in the outfield for Milwaukee, and batted .299 in a part time role, which increased his popularity. In 1957, he hit .305 in 46 games for the Pirates, but after three at bats in 1958, he was sent back to the minors for the rest of 1958 campaign. He was a member of the first Houston Colt .45s team in 1962 and played in 117 games at the age of 38.
In his MLB career, Pendleton appeared in 444 games over eight seasons, hitting 19 home runs. He died in Houston, Texas, at age 72.
By Dean Hanley
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