Jimmy Wynn, who earned the nickname of Toy Cannon, passed away on Thursday at the age of 78. The former Houston Astros star's cause of death was not revealed by the team. Wynn played in Houston from 1963-1973 and returned to the team as a community outreach executive following his retirement.
"Today, we lost a very big part of the Astros family with the passing of Jimmy Wynn," the Astros said in a statement. "His contributions to our organization both on and off the field are too numerous to mention. As an All-Star player in the 1960s and 70s, Jimmy's success on the field helped build our franchise from its beginnings. After his retirement, his tireless work in the community impacted thousands of young people in Houston."
Jimmy Wynn #24 pic.twitter.com/9xus6Q42Mr— Houston Astros (@astros) March 28, 2020
"Although he is no longer with us, his legacy will live on at Minute Maid Park, at the Astros Youth Academy and beyond," the statement continued. "We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Marie, daughter, Kimberly, son, James, Jr., to the other members of his family and to his many fans and admirers."
Wynn was the first player in Houston Astros history to ever hit three home runs in a single game, which helped him earn the nickname of the Toy Cannon. Additionally, he was also the first to hit more than 30 home runs in a season, and he hit at least 20 in seven others. Wynn's 223 home runs with the franchise stood as a team record for 26 years, and he currently sits in fourth place all-time.
The future Houston Astros Hall of Famer originally began his professional baseball career with the Cincinnati Reds in 1962, but the team did not protect his professional rights. He was later selected by the Houston Colts .45s in 1963. The team was rebranded as the Astros two years later.
The 5-foot-9-inch Wynn appeared in 1,920 games throughout his MLB career and hit 291 home runs during his time with the Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, and Milwaukee Brewers. Wynn ultimately retired at the end of the 1977 season.
Given his small stature, there were doubts about Wynn's ability to hit home runs in the Astrodome, a stadium known for fly balls and countless outs. However, he became the first player to hit a regular-season home run into the upper deck of the Astrodome and was honored with a reupholstered seat featuring the image of a cannon0comments
The Astros retired Wynn's No. 24 jersey in 2005 and later made him part of the inaugural class of the Astros Hall of Fame in 2019. Wynn served as an ambassador for the Astros and was active in the team's community outreach efforts following his retirement from professional baseball.
Photo Credit: Focus on Sport/Getty Images