The ace of the 1967 “Impossible Dream” Boston Red Sox, Lonborg enjoyed a long 15-year career in the majors, winning 157 games for three teams. He came up with Boston in 1965 and was a 10-game winner in 1966. The following year would be the best of his career. Lonborg went 22-9 in 1967, helping the Red Sox reach the World Series. He led the American League in wins, strikeouts (246) and starts (39). His numbers were good enough to win the Cy Young Award that season. He also made his only All-Star Game and finished sixth in the MVP vote.
Unfortunately, Lonborg’s career was derailed by a knee injury he suffered while skiing following that season. He won just 17 total games over the next three years for Boston, before putting together a 10-win season in 1971. The Red Sox dealt him to the Milwaukee Brewers prior to the 1972 season in a deal that brought Lew Krausse and Tommy Harper to Boston. Lonborg won 14 games that year for Milwaukee but was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies after the season ended. He had a solid run for the Phillies, winning 17 games in 1974 and 18 more in 1976. Lonborg’s career ended in 1979 after he appeared in four games for Philadelphia.
Lonborg was almost as good in the 1967 World Series as he was during the season for Boston. He made three starts, going 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA. He pitched a shutout in Game 2 and out-dueled Hall of Famer Steve Carlton in Game 5. However, he took the loss in Game 7, after surrendering seven runs (six earned) in six innings.
Jim Lonborg – career stats