On April 8, 1946, famed baseball player James “Catfish” Hunter was born in Perquimans County.
Though Hunter excelled in a variety of sports in high school, his pitching skill was what stood out. Word spread fast, and soon major league scouts began to make the trip to Hertford to see him play. Though wounds from a hunting accident jeopardized Hunter’s prospects in the eyes of many professional scouts, the Kansas City Athletics had faith in the young pitcher and signed him to a contract.
Hunter was an immediate success with Kansas City, earning his first major league victory in July 1965 in Fenway Park in Boston. He pitched a perfect game against the Minnesota Twins after the Athletics moved to Oakland in 1968. After a contract dispute in 1974, he left the Athletics for the New York Yankees. He was the highest paid pitcher in baseball when he signed with the team in 1975. After retiring from baseball in 1979, Hunter returned to his native Herford, where he lived until his death in 1999.
Hunter’s numerous accolades include spots in the National Baseball and North Carolina Sports Halls of Fame, five World Series titles, and eight All-Star team appearances.
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