Baseball's Jim Poole dies at 57

October 8, 2023
Robert Ayers

Former Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher Jim Poole has passed away at the age of 57. 

The news of Poole's passing was announced by Georgia Tech, his alma mater, on Friday.

"Georgia Tech athletics mourns the loss of Georgia Tech Hall of Famer and Major League Baseball relief pitcher Jim Poole, who died on Friday. He was 57," The school wrote.

Cause of death

It appears that Poole's passing was the result of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The Mayo Clinic explains:

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (a-my-o-TROE-fik LAT-ur-ul skluh-ROE-sis), known as ALS, is a nervous system disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. ALS causes loss of muscle control. The disease gets worse over time.

Poole's passing comes roughly two years after he was first diagnosed with the disease.

Poole is the second sports figure to die from ALS in the past 10 days. The other was the National Hockey League's (NHL) Chris Snow, who died from the disease at the age of 42. Both men, following their ALS diagnoses, worked hard to raise awareness about the disease.

Remembering Poole

Poole's initial baseball success came at the collegiate level, with Georgia Tech.

The school reports:

Poole arrived on The Flats in 1985 and had an immediate impact, as Georgia Tech baseball would win the first of four-straight ACC Tournament Championships. During his four years, he pitched in 120 games and struck out 263 batters in 188 innings. He still ranks first in the Tech record book with 22 career saves, including 10 as a junior and nine as a senior. He was named all-ACC his last two seasons. Poole would be enshrined into the Georgia Tech Sports Hall of Fame just nine years later in 1997.

After graduating from college, Poole would go on to play in the MLB for 11 seasons. During those seasons, he played for a variety of teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, Detroit Tigers, and Montreal Expos.

Poole retired in 2000. The New York Post reports, "Poole made 431 appearances over his career, all of them out of the bullpen. He finished 22-12 with four saves and a 4.31 ERA."

"It broke my heart"

Several Georgia Tech figures have released statements on Poole's passing, including baseball coach Danny Hall.

"It broke my heart this morning to learn of Jim Poole’s passing. He was a first-class husband, father, and teammate," Hall wrote.

Hall continued, "He loved Georgia Tech and was dedicated to serving our coaches and players for many years. He epitomized the meaning of a Tech Man. God rest his soul.”

Georgia Tech athletics director J. Batt has also released a statement saying, "Jim Poole is a Georgia Tech legend, not just for his incredible achievements on the baseball diamond, but for the way that he attacked ALS over the past two years. He is and will remain an inspiration."

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