Jimmy Wynn, ex-Houston Astros player known as ‘Toy Cannon,’ dead at 78

Jimmy “The Toy Cannon” Wynn, a legendary Houston Astros outfielder known for having tremendous power at just 160 pounds, died Thursday. He was 78.

The Astros announced the three-time All-Star died in the city, but did not provide additional details. He played in Houston from 1963-1973 and later returned to the team as a community outreach executive after he retired in 1977 following stints with the Dodgers, Braves, Yankees and Brewers.

The Astros inducted him into their inaugural Hall of Fame class last year after retiring his No. 24 jersey in 2005.

“Today, we lost a very big part of the Astros family with the passing of Jimmy Wynn,” the club said in a statement. “His contributions to our organization both on and off the field are too numerous to mention.”

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Houston Astros' Jimmy Wynn, top, is greeted at the plate after a home run in a baseball game in Houston in 1972. (Associated Press)<br>
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Houston Astros’ Jimmy Wynn, top, is greeted at the plate after a home run in a baseball game in Houston in 1972. (Associated Press)<br>
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The 5-foot-9 slugger hit 20 homers five times and 30 homers twice during his time with the Astros. The feat was more impressive considering the Astrodome was favored for pitchers. In 1970, he was the first player to hit a home run into the upper deck at the stadium.

Wynn came into the major leagues in 1963 and spent his first 11 seasons in Houston, first with the Colt .45s before the team changed its name to the Astros in 1964.

He was loved in the Houston community and was often seen interacting with fans and players at the Astrodome and Minute Maid Park over the years.

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Wynn left the Astros as the team’s leader in hits, home runs, RBIs and walks. He finished his career with 291 home runs, 964 RBIs and 225 stolen bases.

In 2011, the Astros and Minute Maid dedicated a state-of-the-art baseball facility at the Astros Youth Academy to him called the Jimmy Wynn Training Center.

“Jimmy’s success on the field helped build our franchise from its beginnings,” the statement added. “After his retirement, his tireless work in the community impacted thousands of young people in Houston. Although he is no longer with us, his legacy will live on at Minute Maid Park, at the Astros Youth Academy and beyond. 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.”

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Wynn was born and grew up in Cincinnati, before attending Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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