By Steve LaMontia, MSBL Director of Communications
James Hixon is the president of the Central Coast MSBL located in San Luis Obispo, California and is the most recent member of the 2014 MSBL Honor Roll, as nominated by MSBL founder and president Steve Sigler. Hixon is an electrical contractor who lives in the central coast town of Arroyo Grande and grew up in nearby Paso Robles.
“I am 51 years young and have reconnected with the girl I fell in love with after my freshman year in high school. We are to be married this fall,” explained Hixon. “My only son, James Patrick, is 21 years old and a professional musician.He is also the best young man I know.”
Hixon has been a pitcher all of his life and set a youth league record as an eleven year old by striking out all 18 batters he faced while surrendering only three foul balls! After high school the only alternative was fast pitch softball. “I missed the game and played fast pitch for three years,” said Hixon. “I then moved to Montana for two very cold years and when I returned home in 1993 I saw a newspaper article promoting MSBL baseball.The love affair with baseball was back in my life.”
“I became a real baseball junkie. When I wasn’t playing in our summer league I would sit in the stands, just like a kid, and see if anyone needed a fill-in,” Hixon further explained. “When I was younger I could really bring it on the mound, but as the thousands of innings have caught up with me I have learned to pitch smarter.
James is also an MSBL World Series veteran, having traveled in October to Arizona to play in the big arena. He stated that his most memorable MSBL pitching performance came in the2011 World Series. “I was playing for the Central Coast Tigers and I started our final round robin game with a victory sending us to the playoffs,” Hixon said. “I went the distance while giving up only four hits but got zero strikeouts. I made them hit into six double plays and we won the game 4-0 and went on to win our one and only World Series ring. I also got a hit off of Oil Can Boyd in 2008 down there so I am batting a thousand on Dennis!”
Hixon is currently managing the 35+ California Hogs in his league but they only have two 35 and over teams in the league so they have to play teams in the 18+ division on occasion.”We managed to beat one of them and have held our own against the others so we didn’t do too badly this year,” added Hixon.
“The funniest thing I’ve ever seen on a ball field was when our player stole second base but thought the ball was fouled off so he started walking back to first base,” said Hixon.”Their catcher threw to second base so our guy ran back to first and dove back in safely. I guess you could say he stole first base.”
Sandy Koufax is his favorite player ever but is followed closely by Jackie Robinson. He also joins the majority by thinking that Mike Trout is the best all-around player on the field right now with Clayton Kershaw the best pitcher today. His take on the best pitcher ever, however, may surprise you. It is a player so well-respected yet widely unacknowledged as a pitcher. “I think if Babe Ruth would have been allowed to pitch longer he may have been the best,” he said. “But since he didn’t, I have to go with Koufax as the best ever.”
Any additional MSBL thoughts? “If someone had told me that I would be playing baseball in my fifties when I was eighteen I would have laughed,” said Hixon. “But thanks to Steve Sigler and all the people who make up and keep the MSBL strong, I may make it into my sixties!”
On a final note, James has pitched in a tournament in Cooperstown while throwing a complete game win in the championship game. While there, he remembers a quote from George Goodall, a 90 year old player who is as active as anyone many, many years his junior.”Baseball is a disease that old age cannot cure.” Hear, hear, my friend…James Hixon