After a stellar pitching performance, David Price celebrates the Red Sox advancing to the World Series. This is not the first time Price has celebrated on the Minute Maid Park mound. Swipe for a Flashback to 2007 and a Vanderbilt celebration on the same spot.
Here lies Jeff Peeples, one of the greatest pitchers in Vanderbilt University history. Signed by the Cardinals, he was injured early in his pro career and never made it to the majors.
Peeples was a four-year letterwinner at Vanderbilt, from 1970-1973, and was the team’s first All-American (2nd team, 1973). He led the SEC in strikeouts (113) and wins (12) in 1973, and Peeples is still the Vanderbilt leader in wins (29) and ERA (1.68). He has three of the Top 4 best season ERAs in the program. Only Jimmy Stephens’ 1.07 ERA from 1949 beat Peeples’ numbers of 1.30 (1972), 1.56 (1971) and 1.64 (1973). He was a two-sport athlete as well, playing for Vandy’s football team from 1969-72.
Peeples was drafted in the 37th Round of the 1973 June Amateur Draft. He reported to the Red Birds of the rookie Gulf Coast League and went 3-1 with an impressive 2.00 ERA in 5 appearances, 4 of which were starts. He struck out 26 batters in 27 innings. He also appeared in two relief outings for the Orangeburg Cardinals, St. Louis’ A-ball team, allowing 4 earned runs in 4 innings.
Around July 20 of that year, Peeples was injured in an auto accident when his car was struck on the side, rolled over and ended up in a ditch. The car was demolished, said his Orangeburg manager, Jimmy Piersall. The initial reports stated that Peeples would miss a few days after suffering cuts, bruises and aggravated a groin injury. The truth was that the injuries were much worse than that. He chipped a bone in his throwing elbow and didn’t pitch at all in 1974. He was released by the Cardinals that May. He returned in 1975 in the Atlanta Braves organization, but he wasn’t the same pitcher. In 9 games for Class A Greenwood, Peeples went 0-1 with 1 save and a 4.97 ERA. He surrendered 5 home runs in 29 innings and struck out just 18. He was released by the Braves on May 18.
Jeff Peeples died of natural causes on November 1, 1997 while on a pheasant hunting trip in Paris, Ill. He was 46 years old. An article from 2010 indicated that he had suffered a stroke in 1996. Peeples was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Vanderbilt Hall of Fame in 2010.