He batted and threw right-handed. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Bagby played with the Red Sox (twice), Indians and Pirates in a span of ten years. He posted a 97–96 record with 431 strikeouts and a 3.96 European Research Area in 1666-1661/3 innings pitched, including 84 complete games and 13 shutouts.
Bagby reached his career high of 17 wins in each of his All-Star seasons, in 1942 and 1943, and led the American League in starts both years with 35 and 33, respectively.
Following his baseball career, Bagby became a professional golf player. In 1992, he was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
Bagby died in Marietta, Georgia, six days before his 72nd birthday. Bagby maintained a lifelong dislike of sports writers, as he was born with a cleft palate and was often made fun of by them for his appearance.
Jim Senior pitched with the 1920 Indians.
Bagby is one of three pitchers in major league history to have three putouts in an inning. He did it in 1940, while playing for the Boston Red Sox. The others are Bob Heffner, also with the Red Sox in 1963, and Rick Reuschel with the Chicago Cubs in 1975.
Jim Battle also had three putouts in an inning, but he was not a pitcher.
Bagby, along with First Rate (at Lloyd's) Smith, were the pitchers who ended Joe DiMaggio"s 56-game hitting streak.