James Sanford "Jimmy" Lavender (March 25, 1884 – January 12, 1960) was an American professional baseball player who played in Major League Baseball as a pitcher from 1912 to 1917. He played a total of five seasons with the Chicago Cubs of the National League from 1912 to 1916; after being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, he played an additional season in 1917. During his playing days, his height was listed at 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m), his weight as 165 pounds (75 kg), and he batted and threw right-handed. Born in Barnesville, Georgia, he began his professional baseball career in minor league baseball in 1906 at the age 22. He worked his way through the system over the next few seasons, culminating with a three-season stint with the Providence Grays of the Eastern League from 1909 to 1911.
Lavender primarily threw the spitball, and used it to win 16 games as a 28-year-old rookie in 1912. In July 1912, he defeated Rube Marquard, ending Marquard's consecutive win streak at 19 games, which at the time tied the record for the longest win streak for a pitcher in MLB history. Lavender's early success as a rookie soon turned to mediocrity as his career progressed, winning no more than 11 games in any season afterward. On August 31, 1915, he threw a no-hitter against the New York Giants.
He was traded to the Phillies before the 1917 season, and he played one season for the team, winning six games before retiring from major league baseball. Lavender returned to Georgia, worked on his farm in Montezuma, Georgia, and played professional baseball in an independent league. He died in Cartersville, Georgia at the age of 75.
By Dean Hanley
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