Hunky Hines (BASEBALL-REFERENCE.COM)

Hunky Hines

This article was written by Paul Winter

Hunky Hines (BASEBALL-REFERENCE.COM)The career of Henry “Hunky” Hines spanned more than 20 years, from 1887 at the age of 19 through 1910 at the age of 42.1 His career took him from Minneapolis to St. Louis, and from Brooklyn to Oakland. When he was signed to play for the club in Davenport, Iowa, in 1903, the Davenport Daily Times wrote, “Hunky Hines is too well known in minor league ball to need much mentioning.”2 Despite his long and successful career, however, he only played two games at the major league level, with Brooklyn in 1895; he batted cleanup for both of those games.3 His career was a lifetime of moving from team to team, town to town, playing in the same city more than two years in succession just once (Detroit of the Western Association in 1896 — 1898).

Henry Fred Hines was born on September 29, 1867, in Elgin, Illinois, to Peter and Jane “Jennie” (McClellan) Hines. His father was born in Ireland in 1819 and came to the United States in 1851. It is possible he was married in 1850, prior to his coming to the States.4 He then fought for the Union in the Civil War in the Illinois Infantry, 58th Regiment. Henry’s mother Jennie was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1829. She first immigrated to Montreal before moving to the Unites States in 1849.5 She married George Bryson prior to 1855, when the first of at least two children (a son, Wallace) was born to the couple. A second son (Louis) was born to Jennie and George in 1860, prior to Jennie and Peter getting married in 1862. Henry was the third of four children for Peter and Jennie identified in the 1880 Census. In the 1900 Census, Jennie was reported to have had nine children, with eight still alive. That would mean Hines had three full siblings and four half-siblings, with one other sibling who presumably died young.6

Hines started playing ball in Elgin and Rockford, Illinois, as a youth. His skills landed him his first job in an organized professional league with Milwaukee in the Northwestern League in 1887 at the age of 19. He came to Milwaukee with Varney Anderson, whom he had caught while with Rockford the previous season. His play in Milwaukee early in the season won praise in the papers. “Hines did brilliant work both at the bat and in the field yesterday, and should be used on every occasion possible.”7 While Hines had a good start, including a home run in the sixth game of the season as Milwaukee started the year 6-0, he was released at the end of May. He cooled off after his hot start and hit just .147 in nine games, although four of his five hits were for extra bases (three doubles and the home run). He returned to Rockford where he played for the local club again.

Hines was signed in November 1887 by Tom Loftus for the St. Louis Whites club in the new Western Association. He played 28 games, hitting .252, mostly in center field and shortstop (no catching), before the club disbanded in late June. He returned to Elgin, where he took a job at the Elgin Watch Factory.8 In October 1888, Hines married Addie Landers (1867-1943), who was born in Elgin less than two months after him. The new wife may be why Hines didn’t play professional baseball in 1889. In the spring of 1890, however, he was “secured through the persuasive powers of Manager [Varney] Anderson, who knows the qualities of his man full well” to sign with the Burlington (Iowa) Hawkeyes of the Central Interstate League.9 The Burlington Daily Gazette took a liking to the club. “The fact having been duly established that the Burlington ball team are all real ball players, it now becomes a pleasant duty to assure the public that they are as likely a looking set of young fellows as ever wore flannel on the diamond.” Of Hines they wrote, “Hines… is the only man in the team thus far who boasts a mustache. This hirsute adjunct is dark and heavy, as is his hair — which he wears a la pompadour. His face is rather long, and his eyes dark blue and deep-set.”10 While with Burlington, the nickname “Hunkey” first appears, early in the season. “‘Hunkey’ Hines was all hunkey behind the bat. He supported Anderson in great form and his throwing to bases was superb, indeed.”11 No explanation was given for the nickname. In June 1890 daughter Ethel was born.12 The Burlington club disbanded in mid-August when the league collapsed. Hines appeared in 74 games with Burlington in his first extended stay in the minors, hitting .276. After leaving Burlington, he signed to play with Aurora (Illinois) in the Iowa-Illinois league for the remainder of the season.

Hines and the family moved to California for the 1891 season, signing with the Oakland Colonels in the California League. It was while Hunky was with Oakland that a reason for the nickname was published in the San Francisco Chronicle.13

“Hunky” Hines is not a gourmand, but he dotes on pie and appreciates it all the more when it is buttered. At the beginning of the season, he would eat pie only when Oakland won a game, but as this so often deprived him of his favorite dish, he changed his vow and thereafter buttered his pie only when the Oaklands won. He has not used much butter this season. When Oakland does win he eats all the pie he can get and butters it well. Then he says he feels “hunky.” Hence his name.

Given that the nickname was in use the previous season in Burlington, this sounds like a story after the fact. Ben Stephens, a teammate of Hines’s both in Burlington and Oakland, may have brought the nickname out to California.14 Oakland lost 102 games against just 45 wins for the season, so buttered pie was hard to get for Hines.15 He played in 141 games for Oakland, mostly in the outfield (102 games) and catching (36 games), scoring 89 runs and batting .253. In the outfield, he handled 229 chances with an .890 fielding percentage, third among outfielders with at least 100 games. “[Hines] was the one bright spot in the Oakland team of 1891, a thoroughly honest, conscientious and painstaking player, a wonderful fielder and one of the best hitters of the season.”16

After the 1891 season, Hines and family returned to Illinois. While it was widely expected in San Francisco and Oakland that he would return for the 1892 season, he instead stayed in Illinois and opened a saloon with his brother.17 This retirement from baseball lasted one season, as he returned to play again for Oakland in 1893. Hines and the Oakland club outlasted the California League, which folded in mid-August. He played in 98 official games with Oakland and hit over .300 for the first time in his career, finishing with a .302 batting average. His five home runs for the season included two on August 9 against San Francisco in one of the last games before the league collapsed.18 He remained in California, playing with a reorganized Oakland club against teams in the San Francisco area. In December 1893 and January 1894, he played for Oakland in a series of games against the visiting Boston Beaneaters of the National League. In January he signed to play with Minneapolis of the Western League in the upcoming season.

At age 26, Hines had the best season of his career in 1894. On a team with other major leaguers such as Perry Werden, Joe Visner, and Jack Crooks (with whom he had played in St. Louis), his average of .427 topped the club and was second overall among players with 50 or more at bats. He hit 34 home runs in his 130 games, also second overall in the league, behind teammate Werden (43) and just ahead of teammate Buster Burrell (32) and Billy Klusman (31 home runs with Kansas City). Despite the strong hitting of the club, Minneapolis finished fourth in the league at 63-62.

Hines’s success in Minnesota resulted in his being drafted by the Brooklyn Bridegrooms of the National League for 1895.19 He started the season on their reserve club, but after a 9-4 loss in St. Louis dropped Brooklyn to 6-8, ninth in the twelve-team league, Hines was directed to join the club in Chicago, replacing Tom “Oyster” Burns in the lineup.20 He made his major league debut on May 16, 1895, batting cleanup against Clark Griffith, whom he had caught while with Oakland just two years prior. “Hines made his first appearance in league company and played a steady game. He is sure on fly balls, but did not shine at the bat [0-for-5], although he hit hard… For his first game he did well and gives promise of good work in the future.”21 He reached base twice on errors and scored one run. He made one error on “a bad bounding ball, which struck [his] hands and glanced off.” Hines made his second start a few days later, batting cleanup again while facing Bill Hutchison, who had won 121 games in three years for Chicago between 1890 and1892. He had two hits, walked twice, scored two runs, and drove in one in the ninth, but Brooklyn lost by a score of 9-6.22 “Hines had thus far proven himself to be a sure catch [sic] of flies, a fair batter and base runner, but does not seem to be fast enough for the league. His throwing abilities are not fully developed and he lacks the finish required for an outfielder.”23 Hines didn’t play again for Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported Hines was released in late May, but the Kansas City papers reported in early June that he had been purchased from Brooklyn by the Kansas City Blues of the Western League. When Hines arrived, the Blues were 15-18, in sixth place in the eight-team league. They finished in third place, with a record of 73-51, just behind St. Paul (73-50) and Indianapolis (76-43); a rainout of their final game (and three losses to Indianapolis towards the end of the season) cost them a chance at second place. Hines played in 91 games for the Blues, hitting .365 with twenty-six doubles, six triples and three home runs.

Hines returned to Kansas City for the 1896 season, but his hitting dropped off considerably. Through July 19, he was hitting just .256 in 69 games.24 On July 21, he was released by Kansas City and stepped across the diamond to join the Detroit club. He stayed with Detroit the rest of the season, hitting a combined .231 in 132 games. Hines remained in Detroit for all of the 1897 season and returned for 1898. By this time, he was playing mostly in the infield, spending time at second base, third base, and shortstop. His hitting rebounded in 1897, as he hit .321 with 39 doubles, eight triples and six home runs in 124 games, but when he dropped to .284 the following season, he was released in early August. He went home to Rockford, where he played for an independent club the rest of the summer.

In 1899, he took over the club as manager as Rockford joined a revamped Western Association. He signed former teammates Pete Daniels (from Kansas City) and Fred Underwood (from Detroit) to pitch. The club was 19-15 in third place on June 14.25 When the league collapsed less than a week later, Hines quickly signed with Buffalo in the Western League. He was with Buffalo just a couple of weeks before returning home to recover from a charley horse.26 He never returned to Buffalo, instead purchasing a half interest in a meat market in Rockford. “Hunky is of the opinion that he will never again enter the ranks of professional ball players. He is not content to idle away his time, and accepted the first opportunity to get into a good business.”27 Hines was 31 years old; after hitting just .230 in 1899, it looked like his career was over.

The new century gave Hines a fresh start on his career. He signed up to play for the new Des Moines club in the new Western League in 1900 (the old Western League of 1899 having rebranded as the American League) with manager Belden Hill. When Hill left the club in mid-June, Hines replaced him. The club was right around .500 when he took the reins, and it finished strong, ending the season in second place with a 59-45 record, just behind Denver (61-44). (The Des Moines papers claimed that Des Moines had won the pennant; there was a dispute about counting some games Des Moines had played.)28 Appearing in 99 games (91 at second base), Hines hit .337, right near the top of the league.29

He was back to manage Des Moines in 1901. “The pennant winners of the season of 1901 in the Western League have begun to arrive and Manager Hunky Hines is feeling cheerful once more and knowingly shakes his head whenever the name of one of his colts is suggested.”30 Des Moines started the season with a 3-9 road trip, returning home in last place. The remainder of the season was just as unsuccessful, as the club finished 49-74, seventh in the eight-team league. It was Hines’s only season as a manager with a finish below .500.

Hines stayed home in 1902, joining the Rockford club in the Three-I League. Rockford was in first place at 59-38 when he fractured his hand in a collision at second base on August 15, ending his season. Just one week before, it had been written: “Hunkey Hines is about the oldest man in the league. Still he covers as much ground as any second baseman in the Three-I — except [Rock Island second baseman Kohly Miller].”31 Hines finished eleventh in the league with a .290 average. Rockford held on to win the pennant by three games over Terre Haute, Indiana.

In 1903, Hines signed to be the captain for the club in Davenport, Iowa, also in the Three-I league. His absence in Rockford was noticed:

Hunky Hines of Davenport has some batsmen who stack up pretty well and taken altogether he will give Decatur a close rub for the heaviest hitting team. It is claimed for Rockford last year that the heavy batting of the Champions was due to Hines’ coaching and from the showing by the Davenporters it looks like Hines should have the credit. Certainly Hugh] Nicol is not getting anything out of the bunch he has this year, and he has made more changes in his team than has any other manager and without improving it.32

Davenport (65-53) finished the season in third place. Hines was second in the league in hitting at .339. Less than two weeks after the season ended, he suffered an accident that threatened to end his career. While visiting with a friend at the Rockford Carriage company, he was struck in the right eye by a fragment from a piece of hot metal as it was being hammered.33 It was initially reported that he was going to lose the eyeball, but that was saved. However, due to the injury, he was granted a release from Davenport, and he signed with Dubuque for 1904 to play for former Rockford teammate Charles Buelow (from 1899).

Upon joining the club, Hines was given some of the managerial duties by Buelow, including signing players. One of the pitchers he signed was John Beedles from the pennant-winning Rockford club of 1902. Beedles lasted just one game before being cut after allowing nine runs in the eighth inning of a 12-3 loss to Springfield. “Manager Hines again swung his ax and the heads of two members of the Dubuque ball team have dropped into the waste basket… Hines does not believe in keeping any incompetent men on the team and is not afraid to exercise his judgement.”34 Hines started the season as the second baseman for the club, but the eye injury proved too much to overcome, and he ended up managing the club to a third-place finish from the bench.

Hines returned to manage Dubuque in 1905, when he finally won a pennant as a manager. He played in just fifteen games but hit a respectable .271. Despite the success of the club, he was released. “As Dubuque has recognized that it would be more economical to engage a playing manager, it is not improbable that Hines will not be with the team next year.”35 He retired to become a farmer. When offered the position of manager for Davenport in the summer of 1906, he declined. “In the event that Hines accepted the offer, he would be expected to cover second base. The salary that attaches to the position would be sufficient to tempt most any player from the simple life but not the former Rockford and Dubuque star who has quit baseball for farming.”36

Hines stayed in Rockford for the next few years. His father died in February 1908 and his mother in December. In July he was tempted off the farm to take over as manager of the Rockford Reds in the Class D Wisconsin-Illinois League. He took over with the club in last place, and that’s where they finished. In January 1909, there were rumors he would return as the Rockford manager, but he either wasn’t offered the job or turned it down. His daughter was married in April 1910, just days after Hines signed on to manage the club in Joliet, Illinois, in the newly formed Northern Association.

In testament to how long Hines had been in baseball, the manager of the Freeport (Illinois) Pretzels, Forrest Plass, had been the bat boy for Detroit when Hines played there in 1896.37 The Joliet club was playing fairly well, in third place at 21-17, when the franchise was transferred to Sterling, Illinois, for lack of attendance in Joliet. The reorganized club responded to the move by losing seven straight games before the league contracted to six teams from eight in early July. On July 14, Hines went into the game at second base. He went 0-for-1 with one putout and one assist in his final professional appearance.38 The Northern Association collapsed two days later, and Hines went back to Rockford.

While there are references to Hines working as a farmer after his baseball career ended, he turned up in some Rockford street guides from the 1900s and 1910s working for the Trahern Pump company. His grandson was born in 1911, and by 1912, his daughter was living with Hunky and wife Addie. She last appears in the Rockford street guides in 1917; Hunky and Addie’s grandson Verne was living with them in the 1920 Census, which listed Hines as a farmer. By 1923, Hunky was working for Roper Corp, a manufacturer of gas stoves and gear pumps.39 He died on January 2, 1928, of a heart attack at the age of 60, and is buried at the Cedar Bluff Cemetery in Rockford, Illinois, with Addie, who died in 1943.

As a younger player Hines was respected as a fielder and a hitter. As an older player, he was respected as a manager and teacher. “He has a long head, lots of patience and knows how the game should be played. Better yet he plays the game. He is one of the finest fielding second basemen in the league and bats around the .300 mark all the time.”40 Henry Hines may not have made a mark in the majors, but he had a full career in baseball spanning more than two decades, which he likely thought was just “hunky.

 

Acknowledgments

This biography was reviewed by Bill Lamb and Norman Macht and fact-checked by Kevin Larkin,

 

Sources

US Census data was accessed through Genealogy.com and Ancestry.com, and other family information was found at Ancestry.com and FindAGrave.com. Stats and records were collected from Baseball-Reference unless otherwise noted. Stats and records from some seasons were found in the annual Spalding’s Base Ball Guides. Articles cited in this biography were typically accessed through Newspapers.com and/or Geneology.com. Street guides were accessed through Ancestry.com.

 

Notes

1 Henry Hines’ nickname was spelled “Hunky” or “Hunkey” in the contemporary newspapers, but far more articles were found with the spelling “Hunky” so that is what is used throughout this biography, unless directly quoting a reference. There was at least one other ballplayer (and printer) playing under the moniker “Hunky Hines” from Fort Scott, Kansas, in 1902 and 1903. See for example the Fort Scott Daily Tribune of March 7, 1902: 1; October 1, 1902: 1; and August 4, 1903: 1.

2 “Players Signed for Next Year,” Davenport Times, January 24, 1903: 6.

3 Box scores for his two games can be found in the Chicago Tribune (May 17, 1895: 11 and May 19, 1895: 5), and in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (May 17, 1895: 10 and May 19, 1895: 5).

4 A family tree on Ancestry.com for Hunky Hines contains a notation that his father Peter was married in 1850 to “Wife 1,” but no documentation is given. His year of immigration was reported in the 1900 US Census. His FindaGrave website indicates he had five children living at the time of his death (1908), so Hunky Hines may have had yet one more step-brother from his father’s first marriage.

5 “Obituary,” Davenport Times, December 26, 1908: 11. Jennie’s full name was Jane Elizabeth McClellan. Her year of immigration was reported in the 1900 US Census.

6 Peter Hines’ FindaGrave website indicates he had five surviving children, suggesting that Hunky Hines may have had an additional half-sibling from a different mother, as four of those listed (including Hunky) are clearly identified in the records as children of Peter and Jennie.

7 “Worse Than Snider,” Milwaukee Journal, May 5, 1887: 8.

8 “Diamond Dust,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 29, 1888: 8.

9 “Two Catchers Signed,” Burlington (Iowa) Gazette, March 1, 1890: 4.

10 “How They Size Up. The Burlington Team Are a Good Looking Crowd as Well as a Ball Playing Aggregation,” Burlington Gazette, March 18, 1890: 4.

11 “Polished the Gems,” Burlington Hawk Eye, April 30, 1890: 1.

12 The 1900 Census gives Ethel’s birthdate as June 1889, but an article in the Burlington Hawk Eye on June 17, 1890 announced the birth of his daughter the previous Saturday night (June 14), so the Census data was incorrect. (“Did You Get These, Mr. Census Man,” pg. 3).

13 “Notes and Comments. What the Players Do and What is Said About Them,” San Francisco Chronicle, October 26, 1891: 3.

14 A more likely origin of the nickname would be related to the use of the term to mean at the time to mean “fit and healthy.” The widespread use of the term “hunkey” may trace back to a Civil War era song Whack Row De Row, or Hunkey Boy Is Yankee Doodle. The term “hunkey dory” appears around this same time meaning “all right.” The expression “hunkey boy” also appears in a story by Artemus Ward published in newspapers during the summer of 1861: “He (Moses) folded her to his hart, with the remark that he was ‘a hunkey boy’” (“Moses, The Sassy: or, The Disguised Duke,” Burlington Times, June 14, 1861: 2). A version of that story without the phase appeared in newspapers in September 1859.

15 “The Last Runs Scored,” San Francisco Examiner, November 23, 1891: 4.

16 “Liners Out of Season,” San Francisco Examiner, February 15, 1892: 4.

17 “Another Colonel Here,” San Francisco Examiner, March 16, 1892: 8, and “The Umpire,” Oakland Tribune, July 6, 1892: 8.

18 “Three Home Runs. A Victory for Oakland’s Team,” San Francisco Chronicle, August 10, 1893: 4.

19 “Manning Signs Hines,” Kansas City Times, June 5, 1895: 2. This article reports that Brooklyn paid $500 to Minneapolis. Other sources indicated Hines was drafted by Brooklyn, which may have been the process by which Brooklyn got the rights to purchase him from Minneapolis.

20 “Kennedy Has No Speed,” Brooklyn Eagle, May 13, 1895: 4.

21 “Anson Got His Revenge,” The Brooklyn Eagle, May 17, 1895: 10.

22 Box scores for the game were published in the Chicago Tribune and the Brooklyn Eagle. The Tribune credits Hines with one hit, and reports he reached on an error by Bill Everitt. The Eagle credits Hines with two hits.

23 “The Usual Story of Defeat,” The Brooklyn Eagle, May 19, 1895: 5.

24 “Blues Batting Averages,” Kansas City Times, July 19, 1896: 2.

25 “Won with Ease,” Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette, June 14, 1899: 5. Rockford did win one more game a few days later against Cedar Rapids, prior to the collapse of the league.

26 “Base Ball Gossip,” Kansas City Star, July 5, 1899: 3.

27 “Dooin Leaves St. Paul,” Rock Island (Illinois) Argus, July 28, 1899: 5.

28 The Sioux City (Iowa) Journal published the official standings for the league on September 5 showing Denver at 61-45 and Des Moines at 60-45 (“Western League Standings”: pg 3). On September 6, it published “corrected official standings” with Denver at 61-44 and Des Moines at 59-45 (“Hickey Revises Former Standing,” pg. 6). Des Moines disputed Denver’s claim to the pennant, with the Journal reporting “There has been a good deal of irregularity in the last part of the season, and a number of protested games and a variation in the percentages as kept by [league president Thomas] Hickey and by the various managers and scorekeepers leave room for a good deal of speculation” (“Two Pennant Claimants,” Sioux City Journal, September 6, 1900: 7). Des Moines’ claims centered around five games played by Des Moines (of which it won 3 and lost 2) where both clubs (it is not clear who the second club was) disputed the umpire assigned by the league and agreed to play using two players as umpires instead. Hickey refused to include those games in the official standings. The Des Moines Register intimated “Mr. Hickey, however, owns an interest in the Denver team, and that has much to do with it.” (The Register was quoted in the St. Joseph (Missouri) Gazette-Herald, “Des Moines Lays Claim to Pennant,” September 6, 1900: 3).

29 Baseball-Reference lists Hines third in the league, behind Ed Lewee (.413) and Mattie McVicker (.390). The Spaulding Baseball Guide for 1901 lists Lewee as hitting .280 for the season.

30 “Des Moines Ball Players,” Des Moines Register, April 9, 1901: 3.

31 “Baseball Notes,” Rock Island Argus, August 6, 1902: 7, quoting the Evansville (Indiana) Courier.

32 “Jeems Hayes’ Men Are Heavy Hitters,” Davenport Republican, July 2, 1903: 6, quoting the Rock Island Star.

33 “Hunky Hines Blinded,” Davenport Morning Star, September 23, 1903: 8.

34 “Poor Mr. Beedles,” Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), May 4, 1904: 4. Beedles and catcher Harry Moody were reported as released. Moody was in fact not released and played another two weeks with Dubuque before being released when Hines signed Jack Thiery, another player from the 1902 Rockford club.

35 “Hines Has Davenport Offer,” Decatur Daily Herald, October 3, 1905: 5.

36 “Hunky Hines: Nay the Farm for Mine,” Rock Island Argus,” June 29, 1906: 7.

37 “Diamond Dust,” Muscatine (Iowa) News-Tribune, April 23, 1910: 7.

38 “Muscatine Wins Easily,” Muscatine News-Tribune, July 15, 1910: 7.

39 George D. Roper bought Trahern Pump Company in 1906 and established the George D. Roper Corporation in 1919. After a corporate split in the 1950s, part of it ultimately merged into Sears, providing electric stoves and lawn mowers to the retail giant, before being consumed by General Electric. The pump manufacturing core of the company continued under the name Roper Industries and now is called Roper Technologies.

40 “Meet at Rock Island,” Davenport Morning Star, January 6, 1903: 5.

Full Name

Henry Fred Hines

Born

September 29, 1867 at Elgin, IL (USA)

Died

January 2, 1928 at Rockford, IL (USA)

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