James William Colborn, Class of 1963

December 08, 2000
Santa Paula High School
By B. J. Harding, President, SPUHS Alumni Association “Jim” is the oldest child of Bill and Carolyn Bamesberger Colborn, the others being “Jake” (‘65), Jane (‘68), Merry (‘70), John (‘75) and Doug (‘83).At SPUHS Jim was an outstanding student and a more outstanding athlete. He lettered in baseball, basketball and football. He served as captain of teams, and was voted Most Valuable Player. Additionally, he found time for science, math, Pep and Letterman Clubs, served on the student council, was prom chairman, and was student body president. He received the Roger Boles Award for outstanding senior boy, as well as the Harvard Book Award.Following graduation, Jim went to Whittier College and continued playing basketball and baseball. In his senior year he spent a semester at the Whittier College Copenhagen, Denmark branch. He then went on to the University of Washington for his master’s degree and, to his delight, was chosen for the Rotary Foundation Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.On return from Scotland Jim and his college sweetheart, Jennifer Sands, were married. Together they embarked on his dream career, baseball.Jim signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1966, and compiled an 83-88 lifetime record. His best season was in 1973, when he won 20 games for the Milwaukee Brewers and finished fourth in the Cy Young Award balloting and made the American League All-Star Team. His greatest thrill was in 1977 when he pitched a no-hitter in a 6-0 win for the Kansas City Royals over the Texas Rangers, earning himself a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Jim ended his pitching career with the Seattle Mariners, and later became a coach and manager for them.
Jim decided to retire, and went into real estate in Ventura, but he returned to baseball as pitching coach for the Chicago Cubs, followed by four years in Japan where he coached a Japanese major club. He then managed two minor league clubs, one in Grand Rapids, Michigan and one in Modesto, California, both teams affiliated with the Oakland A’s.Jim then took a job with the Seattle Mariners as director of the Pacific Rim operations, which had him traveling often to Asia. The crowning jewel of his baseball career came recently when he was named the pitching coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He will report for work with them on January 1, 2001.Jim has been honored, in addition to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, by the Whittier Hall of Fame and the Ventura County Hall of Fame.Jim and Jennifer have four children - Daisy, Rose, Holly and Jimmy - and have been able to take the family with them for all these moves around the world. Daisy and hubby Scott have given them an adorable grandbaby to spoil. Jim and Jennifer are now living in Ventura, and Jim plans to commute to Dodger Stadium for his new position in January.

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