James Alton "Jim" Coates, Sr., 87 of Lancaster, Virginia passed away November 15, 2019.
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He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Callis Hughes also known as Dot Coates and "Boogie"; his children, James A, "Jimmy" Coates, Jr. (Alice), Jane Leigh Pribanic (Carl) and Mickey Charles Coates (Essie), step daughter, Candace Selkirk (Cole); eight grandchildren; five great grandchildren ; a sister Nita Coates Davis (B. J. ) and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, Henry A. Coates, Sr.; his mother, Ilva Lewis Schools; brother, Henry A. "Slim" Coates, Jr. and sister, Grace Norris.
Funeral services will be held 1:00 p. m. Sunday, November 24, 2019 at Corrottoman Baptist Church, Ottoman, Va. Interment will follow the service at Bethel United Methodist Church Cemetery, Lively, Va. Family will receive friends 2-4 p. m. Saturday, November 23, 2019 at Currie Funeral Home, Kilmarnock, Va.
A little country boy with eyes of blue
Jim Coates was born August 4, 1932
Jim's mother was poor; 3 children, with no Dad
She made young Jim a baseball out of the things she had
She tore up old rags stuffed into a sock, so her son could play.
Jim threw it on the roof to play catch, day after day after day.
Later on he used walnuts with hulls and with those he would fire
Pretended he was a big league pitcher, throwing strikes through a tire.
When in high school his love of baseball had anything but diminished.
He walked 7 miles home from practice, to do his chores when he finished.
He pitched for Lively in the Chesapeake League and later for Warsaw he played.
In 49 Coach Billy Walker made a difference in his life by trying to persuade.
Told Jim he should tryout in Norfolk, where there was a NY Yankee camp.
Mr. Walker, son, Billy, Jr. and Jim decided that to Norfolk they would scamp.
In 52 Jim signed a contract with the Yankee scout, H. P. Dawson.
In the NY Penn League he threw 226 strikeouts. This was truly awesome.
Then a couple of more moves Jim made as he was refining his trade.
He made the Richmond Virginians where a 14-11 record he displayed.
He had one of the best arms around and he was 6'4'', strong and lean.
In 54 he signed with the Yankees. This was every boys dream.
The road to success in the majors was not exactly heaven.
Jim broke his arm and was out for 2 years in the summer of fifty-seven.
But in 1959 he was a Yankee starter and his heyday had begun
With an era of .288 and a record of 6-1.
In 1960 his fastball may have been the best around.
100 mph pitches sent him back to the dugout where they had to sit down.
A winning percentage of .813 was best in the league and 13 wins he compiled.
"Northern Neckers" were proud, NY fans too, and even Casey Stingel smiled.
As a boy I recall that team so clearly and for so many #1, it forever ranks.
Jim Coates was there; no one can take that away. He played with the 61 Yanks.
Played with Mickey and Roger Maris and he saw firsthand their homerun race
With Yogi, Whitey, Richardson and Clete; No where else was a more special place.
Two World Series rings, 61 and 62; two all-star games as well.
Jim Coates was a true professional and so many stories he has to tell.
He had a record of 37-15 with the NY Yanks, not shabby by any means.
A poor country boy from the Northern Neck had fulfilled a life of dreams.
The most wins in Yankee Stadium; Jim Coates you probably would not guess.
He was an unsung hero with a fearless will, Jim Coates' record is still the best.
After the Yanks, he played with Washington and then went on to the "Reds".
He even roomed with Pete Rose there. He said they didn't butt heads.
Later , played with the "Angels" for several years and in 1970 decided to retire.
He moved on back to Lancaster Co., his native home, to do whatever he desired.
He worked for many more years at various jobs because he was not the type to sit.
Then he took up golf and we have played so may rounds; in Jim there is not quit.
I've watched him in awe when he smashes a drive of 300 yards and more.
I've seen him drive par 4's in just one shot as we frantically had to yell "Fore".
His love of sports has carried over with a passionate desire to win at any game.
His greatest attribute is his fearlessness and his zest for life most certainly remains.
Elected to the VA Sports Hall of Fame and for many benefits he has played.
His charitable work has been unsurpassed and his "Big Heart" he has displayed. A member of the Major League Baseball Alumni, he travels thousands of miles each year.
To see some old-time teammates and participate in the many benefits he holds dear.
Yes, the good ol' boy made good and he's still the "Pride of the Northern Neck".
His humble pride is evident and for my boyhood hero I have great respect.
Written by: Ficklin Bryant 1/28/2005