Saturday, October 26, 2013

Senators Saturday - Ken Hunt, 1964.

Ken Hunt sure seems happy on his miscut copy of 1964 Topps card 294. Who knows, maybe he was. After all, his close friend, Roger Maris was on top of the baseball world after breaking Babe Ruth's single-season home run record just a few years previous. On the other hand, maybe he's just grinning at the joke of wearing an Angels uniform on a Senators card.

Washington purchased Hunt's contract from the Angels in September of 1963. He had a cup of coffee with the Senators before the end of the season but didn't see much action.

Going into the 1964 season the Senators outfield was pretty much locked up by Chuck Hinton, Don Lock, and Jim King. Ken's chances of breaking into that group were small. What he needed to to was make his case as the best alternative for the fourth outfielder spot. Fred Valentine beat him out there though. That resulted in Hunt splitting his season between Washington and Triple A Toronto.

With the Big Club, Hunt saw action in 51 games and made 113 plate appearances. His .135 batting average and .234 on-base percentage explain why Valentine edged him for that fourth outfielder's slot. Even worse, Ken was practically devoid of power at the plate with a .208 slugging percentage.

On the upside, Hunt played 251 innings in the outfield and handled 70 chances flawlessly. That made him valuable as a late-inning defensive replacement.

That defense wasn't enough to keep Hunt in the Majors for the entire season. He spent 15 games with Toronto but didn't do much better there with a .206 batting average and a .357 on-base percentage. Either he was better at taking a walk in the minors or the pitchers were wilder.

Ken Hunt was a long shot to make the Senators roster in 1965 and he didn't. For some reason he missed the entire season at any level. Perhaps he played in Japan or just took some time away from the game. On April 2, 1966 Washington traded him to the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Bob Humphreys. Ken spent the 1966 season at Triple A before hanging up the cleats for good.

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