Former big leaguer Jim Poole passed away yesterday at the age of 57. Poole, a left-handed reliever who pitched in 11 big league seasons from 1990-2000, pitched for eight MLB clubs during his career and was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, back in 2021. Beyond his big league career, Poole worked with the MLB Players’ Association for many years as a member of the union’s pension committee, and more recently served as chairman of the Major League Alumni Marketing board.
“Jim Poole left an indelible mark through the years as a teammate, friend, committed advocate for his fellow players, and, most importantly, a loving and devoted family man,” a statement from the MLBPA reads, “He was an inspiration during his playing career and a shining example of courage and grace in his fight against ALS.”
After being drafted in the ninth-round of the 1988 draft by the Dodgers out of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Poole made his MLB debut with the Dodgers in 1990, posting a 4.22 ERA in 10 2/3 innings. In 1991, Poole briefly suited up for the Rangers but made just five appearances before joining the Orioles, with whom he’d stay from 1991-94. During his time in Baltimore, Poole posted a 2.86 ERA that was 55% better than league average by measure of ERA+ with a FIP of 3.65.
Poole moved on to Cleveland in 1995 and posted a 3.75 ERA in 50 1/3 innings before going on to pitch for the club in the World Series that year. After starting the 1996 season with the club, he was moved to the Giants midway through the season and stayed there for three seasons before ultimately returning to Cleveland late in the 1998 season. Though 1996 was among the best seasons of Poole’s career, with a 2.86 ERA in 50 1/3 innings of work, he struggled badly during the 1997 and ’98 seasons. He got back on his feet somewhat in 1999, posting a 4.33 ERA in 35 1/3 innings with the Phillies, though he struggled upon returning to Cleveland late in the year. Poole’s MLB career came to a close in 2000 after 10 2/3 innings of work split between the Tigers and Expos.
After his playing days came to an end, Poole remained active in the MLBPA and also worked as an investment manager for big league players. After being diagnosed with ALS in 2021, Poole became active in raising awareness regarding the disease. He was a board member of the nonprofit ALS Cure Project, which was founded in honor of Gretchen Piscotty, the mother of former big league outfielder Stephen Piscotty after she passed away in 2018. More recently, Poole was honored by the Orioles at Camden Yards last year on Lou Gehrig Day. Poole’s accomplishments off the field add to a resume that includes a career 4.31 ERA and 4.51 FIP in 363 big league innings during the regular season, along with a 2.45 career ERA during the postseason.
We at MLB Trade Rumors extend our condolences to Poole’s family, friends, loved ones and former teammates/colleagues.