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Jimmy Wynn (1942–2020), former Houston Astros All-Star

by Linnea Crowther

Jimmy Wynn was a center fielder for the Houston Astros and other Major League Baseball teams from 1963 to 1977. Nicknamed “The Toy Cannon” for his powerful hit and short stature, Wynn was a three-time All-Star.

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Died: March 26, 2020 (Who else died on March 26?)


Details of death: Died at the age of 78.

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MLB career: When Wynn first stepped on an MLB field in 1963, it was for the Houston Colt .45s, the year before they changed their name to the Astros. He played 11 seasons with the team, though his 1966 season was cut short when he broke his arm while chasing a fly ball. The following year, Wynn was an All-Star for the first time and hit a career high 37 home runs — he was two runs short of Hank Aaron, the year’s home run leader. Wynn was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1973 and went to the World Series with them in 1974. He only played with the Dodgers for two seasons, but he was an All-Star both seasons before being traded to the Atlanta Braves for the 1976 season. In 1977, his last year as a player, Wynn played for the New York Yankees and the Milwaukee Brewers. He had a career batting average of .250, 291 home runs, and 964 RBIs. After his retirement, Wynn joined the Astros front office and did TV commentary as well as community outreach. His number 24 was retired by the Astros in 2005.

Wynn on his years with the Astros: “Playing in the Astrodome, playing in the years I played, I love it because I played against nothing but Hall of Fame pitchers, outfielders and infielders.” —from a 2014 interview with Baseball: Past and Present

What people said about him: “Sad news about the passing of Jimmy Wynn. He took part in every Astros community event we sent his way. He loved the fans and the game of baseball. He was a true Astros icon. Jimmy was an All Star on the field as well as off of it. 78 years well lived. Honored to know you!” —former Astros president Reid Ryan

“My favorite Astro. I’m truly heartbroken. I got to know Jimmy Wynn soon after getting the job with the Astros. Before fans were filling the seats, I often made my way to LF where he would watch the games. He was sassy and would tell it like it is.” —Astros field reporter Julia Morales

“RIP to one of the very best, Jimmy Wynn. The Toy Cannon was a wonderful person and a great friend, as he was to many. I greatly appreciate all the times spent with him and everything he taught me about the Astros and Colt .45s. I recently completed a painting dedicated to him.” —Astros historian Mike Acosta

Full obituary: Houston Chronicle

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