Sam Jones was an intimidating pitcher. He was big (6 feet 4 and 200 pounds), threw hard, had a massive sweeping curveball, and could be quite wild. Three times he led the National League in both strikeouts and walks (1955, 1956, and 1958). He narrowly missed this feat a fourth time in his finest season, 1959, when he was the NL’s Pitcher of the Year. In 1955, Jones became the first African-American major leaguer to throw a no-hitter. He could have had at least two more, barring a dubious scoring decision and a fierce storm.
“Toothpick Sam”—he always had one in his mouth—gave no quarter on the mound.