Markusen: A tribute to Chuck Hinton

From SABR member Bruce Markusen at The Hardball Times on January 29, 2013:

Chuck Hinton was a lost opportunity for me. Several years ago, he visited Cooperstown to play in a celebrity golf tournament at the Leatherstocking Golf Course. I saw him near the first hole, wearing his trademark black hat that made him look like something out of The Big Valley, but I was there to secure an interview with Mudcat Grant. When Mudcat came by, I asked him some questions. As usual, Mudcat was great to talk to, but by the time our chat had ended, Chuck Hinton was nowhere to be found. My chance to talk some baseball with him had been lost.

Hinton, who died on Sunday at the age of 78, had a fascinating career, first as a ballplayer, then as a college coach, and then as one of the movers and shakers in the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association.

His professional career began with the Orioles organization, but it was almost immediately interrupted by two years of military service. He started out as a fast catcher, an early version of Craig Biggio, but Baltimore thought his talents lay elsewhere. Wanting to better use his standout speed, the Orioles moved him to the outfield.

Hinton never actually made it to Charm City. That’s because major league expansion provided the twist that altered his career permanently. Legendary writer Shirley Povich, authoring a piece in the Washington Post, told an amusing story about Hinton’s transition from Baltimore to Washington. It involved Hinton playing in the Arizona Winter League in 1960.

Read the full article here:

Related link: Chuck Hinton was a featured speaker at SABR’s second annual convention in 1972; learn more about SABR convention history here

Originally published: January 30, 2013. Last Updated: January 30, 2013.