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James "Jim" Dunegan, Jr.

A four-sport star in high school, James “Jim” Dunegan, Jr. had the proverbial cup of coffee for the Chicago Cubs in 1970 – his only season in Major League Baseball.

The Cubs signed the Burlington, Iowa native as an outfielder in the second round of the 1967 amateur draft. Two years later, he helped Tacoma capture the Pacific League championship and set PCL records for double plays by an outfielder (10) and strikeouts (122). He concentrated on pitching entirely the next season, having pitched in only 14 pro games previously – all in Class A.

He made his major league debut as a pinch-runner in the eighth inning of the Cubs’ 8–7 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field on May 28, 1970. After appearing in 23 games for Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tacoma that season, he was brought up in September and appeared in seven games as a reliever. In 13 and 1/3 innings he compiled a 0-2 record with a 4.73 ERA. He gave up 13 hits, seven earned runs, and two home runs while walking 12 and striking out three. He also went 1-for-4 at the plate with a double and two RBIs.

As a youth, he played Little League, Pony League, and American Legion baseball. He was a multi-sport star at Burlington High School, qualifying 12 times for the state track meet in field events. During his junior year at BHS, he broke the district discus record and reset the mark as a senior with a toss of 154½ feet. He was the BHS football team’s starting quarterback his junior year, then played mostly fullback his senior season. Dunegan was named to the first all-conference football team as a senior and finished second all-time at BHS in total offensive yardage. He also led his school’s baseball team in hitting his sophomore and junior seasons.

Dunegan was born on August 6, 1947, in Burlington, the son of James Sr. and Mary Ann Dunegan. He had three sisters, Chris, Deb, and Ronda. He passed away on October 20, 2014, at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa.

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