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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Jim Blueberg proved a late bloomer, saw six pro seasons

Jim Blueberg 1990 Williamsport Bills card
When Jim Blueberg's son Colby Blueberg chose the University of Nevada-Reno, getting a full scholarship in the process, the father told The Examiner he couldn't be more proud of his son.

Jim Blueberg to The Examiner compared himself, at 6 feet 4 inches, to his son, at 5 feet, 11 inches

"He's still young," the father told The Examiner after the July 2011 decision to go to Nevada. "He just turned 18 years old. I didn't have my growth spurt until I was in college. I was a late bloomer. So we'll see with Colby."

Jim Blueberg was a late bloomer, and he also got the interest of the Mariners. Seattle took him in the second round of the January 1986 draft out of Yuba Community College in California.

But, while he bloomed late, making the pros, Blueberg never could bloom enough to make the majors, making it to AA, but no higher.

With the Mariners, Blueberg's career began at short-season Bellingham. The pitcher started 14 games, with a 3.69 ERA.

He moved to single-A Wausau in 1987, his ERA increasing to 6.43 in just eight starts. In 1988, though, at San Bernardino, Blueberg went 12-10 over 26 starts.

Read the November 2014 interview: Jim Blueberg, So Thankful

Blueberg returned to San Bernardino for much of 1989, but got his first brief look at AA, at Williamsport.

Blueberg returned to Williamsport for all of 1990, getting 25 starts, going 9-11, with a 3.83 ERA. He stayed with the Mariners at AA Jacksonville to start 1991, starting 13 contests.

In June,  the Mariners sent Blueberg to the Yankees, to complete an earlier deal. The player the Yankees gave up earlier was Mike Blowers.

With the Yankees, Blueberg soon impressed, throwing seven innings in a late-July game with AA Albany-Colonie, without giving up a hit. Overall, though, Blueberg went 3-2, with a 3.18 ERA. It was his last year in pro ball.

Blueberg coached youth baseball in the Carson City area, including the Nevada Bullets team. He's also turned scout with the Mets.

One of his players there was his son Colby, according to The Examiner. In May 2015, Colby was pursuing his own pro career in the Padres system, playing at single-A Fort Wayne.
Originally published Aug. 11, 2012; Updated May 2015

Read the November 2014 interview: Jim Blueberg, So Thankful

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