Sunday, May 6, 2018

Chuck Hinton (#189)

It’s been awhile since I've seen a card with "In Military Service" on the back! 

Hinton was a jack-of-all-trades player (but primarily an outfielder) for the Indians, Senators, and Angels from 1961-1971. In his 11-year career, he played every position but pitcher (although only catching for 73 innings, and 5 innings at shortstop). He did pitch 1 game in the minors.

Hinton was signed by the Orioles in 1956, and played in their farm system for 3 seasons (missing the '57-'58 seasons while in military service). He played Class-C ball in ’56 and ’59, and most of 1960 before getting a call-up to AAA.

Chuck was drafted by the expansion Washington Senators before the 1961 season, and was a regular outfielder (mostly in left) during the franchise's first 4 seasons. Hinton made his only All-Star team in 1964 (his last with the Nats).

After the 1964 season he was traded to the Indians for Bob Chance (the Tribe’s regular 1st baseman as a rookie in 1964) and Woodie Held, who had been Cleveland’s starting shortstop from 1959-62, but by now was a utility player (which is why Topps was saddling him with the “INF-OF” position).

Leon Wagner, Vic Davalillo, and Rocky Colavito were already manning the 3 outfield spots, so playing time was hard to come by for Hinton for the next 2 seasons. Still, he managed to start 56 games in the outfield and 36 at first base in 1965, and 82 in the outfield the following season.

With Colavito fading (and then finally traded) during 1967, Hinton finally saw the playing time he had in Washington. He started 119 games in the outfield, and was the #1 outfielder with 1115 innings played, (ahead of Wagner, Davalillo, Lee Maye, and Colavito).

Once again, just as he rose to the top he was traded. This time to the Angels for outfielder Jose Cardenal. Hinton only spent the 1968 season with the Angels, and because they seemed to employ too many outfielders, Chuck was used mainly as a backup to Don Mincher at 1st base (48 games), along with 37 games in the outfield and another 2 dozen split between 2B and 3B.

After that season he was traded back to the Indians for outfielder Lou Johnson. Now in his late 30s, Hinton spent his final 3 seasons as a backup first baseman and occasional outfielder.

Chuck had an interesting post-playing career. He was the head baseball coach at Howard University from 1972-2000, and in 1982 he founded the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association.

Hinton passed away in 2013 at age 78.

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