Joseph Trimble, Jr. was born on October 12, 1930. Though Little League baseball had not reached Rhode Island in the mid-1940s, there were certainly plenty of organized baseball teams for kids to join.

Joe began playing CYO ball for St. Edward’s parish, but it was his outstanding pitching at La Salle Academy from 1946 through 1948, that first brought him into the public eye. Joe pitched a couple of no-hitters, never lost a game, and never allowed more than four hits in a game that he pitched for the La Salle Rams.

The 17-year-old pitched a perfect game against Central High School. It was reportedly the first nine-inning perfect game by a Rhode Island high-school pitcher. Of the 27 batters he faced, he struck out 19 and did not allow any ball to be hit out of the infield. 

Joe also starred as a hockey player for La Salle Academy and he continued to love that sport for the rest of his life. Years later, after his baseball career was over, he enjoyed playing a very rugged brand of hockey, mostly as a left wing, well into his 50s. Most of the 11 injury-related operations that he had after high school, however, were on his knees and were the result of playing high-school hockey, though three of the operations were on his pitching arm and two more on his elbow, and those were the ones that shortened his baseball career.

Like so many other high-school baseball players, he spent several of his summers playing American Legion baseball, in his case for the Rochambeau Post and later for the Roger Williams Post. In 1946 he was a very young pitcher for the Rochambeau team that won the Legion state championship and went on to the regional Legion Championships in Glens Falls, New York, where the Rhode Islanders eventually lost to the New Jersey team. 

After graduation from high school in 1948, Joe was signed to a professional contract by the Cincinnati Reds. In three games he posted an 0-2 record for the Providence Grays, who played their home games in Cranston Stadium, before being sent to Lockport, New York, in the Class D Pennsylvania-Ontario-New York League. 

In 1949 he was still with the Lockport Reds when was promoted to the Tyler Trojans of the Class C East Texas League. He spent the 1950 season in Oklahoma pitching for the Muskogee Reds and ended as the team’s co-leader in games pitched with 33. He pitched 173 innings and also began to develop significant arm injuries and was released by Cincinnati before the next season. For a brief time in 1951, he pitched independently for Richmond in the Piedmont League and for Columbia in the South Atlantic League, but his arm only got worse and he left baseball.

Joe enlisted in the US Marine Corps. and after training at Parris Island, South Carolina, his first assignment was as a guard at the Brooklyn Navy Yard brig. The Korean War was still going on in 1952, however, when he was shipped to Korea to join the 2nd Regiment of the 1st Marine Division and served there as a mortarman for nine months until the armistice in July 1953.

By the time he had left the Marines and returned to Rhode Island, his pitching arm had regained its old strength and he wanted to try to resume his baseball career. The Pittsburgh Pirates organization took a chance and signed him as a free agent for the 1954 season. He went to North Carolina, where he pitched in 43 games for the Burlington-Graham Pirates in the Class B Carolina League. He started only 15 of those games, but threw a career-high 185 innings and garnered a career-low 3.02 ERA.

The Boston Red Sox took Joe in the Rule 5 draft in November, 1954 and he was on the Red Sox’ opening day roster in 1955.  His first major-league game came against the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park in Chicago on April 29, 1955. Joe pitched two innings in his first two games while allowing no hits and no runs, but the Red Sox returned him to the Pirates in May.

Believing that he wasn’t quite ready for the major leagues even for a last-place team like Pittsburgh, the Pirates sent him to their Hollywood Stars farm team in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League.  He was one of the best pitchers on the team, posting an 11-4 record and a 3.27 ERA, starting 18 of the 37 games he appeared in and completed eight of them, including two shutouts.

That winter he pitched for the San Juan Senadores in the Liga de Béisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico and he led the league in both strikeouts and had the league’s best earned-run average. He remained with the Hollywood team for the 1956 season, but injuries significantly curtailed his production. 

The Pirates promoted him in 1957 to the parent club and he stayed with the club all season, though arm problems plagued him much of the time.  The Pirates sent him to their Salt Lake City team in the Pacific Coast League for the 1958 season. There, with a constantly sore arm and a 5.83 ERA, Joe left pro baseball at the end of the year. 

Like most professional baseball players before today’s incredible contracts, Joe spent his offseason time either playing winter ball in the Caribbean, as he did one season, or working other jobs to support himself and his growing family. For a while he worked as an electroplater in Providence, but three days before Christmas 1958 he was hired as a truck driver by the local Coca-Cola plant. Having signed to play baseball right out of high school rather than going to college, and not having learned any useful civilian skills while in the Marines, he wasn’t qualified to do much else. 

Before long, however, he began taking night-school classes aimed at providing himself with a more promising career. It took quite a few years, but eventually college courses at Bryant College and at Brown University helped him receive promotions from Coca-Cola. 

In the late 1960s he was appointed route manager and then cold drink sales manager. In 1980, he became known as a troubleshooter and was promoted to division manager for Coca-Cola in Fall River, Mass, where he remained for two years until he was needed for the same position in Worcester, Mass. By July of 1985 he was a vice president and division Manager back in Providence, where he stayed until he retired from Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of New England in 1991.

Joe and Jennie Trimble’s youngest child, John, was born with autism, and that led to their long association with the Groden Network, a Rhode Island-based organization dedicated to helping children and adults with autism and related disabilities. In 1980, Joe decided to host a charity golf tournament to raise money for the Groden Network. It proved so successful that for 30 years he continued to be the driving force behind the John Trimble Fund Pro-Am Golf Tournament for Autism, which through 2010 had generated more than a million dollars to help cover the costs of a wide variety of services for families associated with the Groden Network.

In the summer of 2010 Joe was diagnosed with cancer and, though he spent much of the following year undergoing treatment for it, he lost the battle on August 11, 2011, at the age of 80.