Randy Hundley is credited with bringing the skill of being a one-handed backstop to the major leagues. The actual credit should be given to Hundleys’ father, who actually taught (or forced Randy to learn) this technique. As of today, every catcher uses the Hundley one-handed method.
Hundley’s major league career actually started with the San Francisco Giants, receiving an $ 110,000 signing bonus right out of high school in 1960. In a trade during the off season in 1965 would give the Cubs a dependable catcher for the next several years, including the “magical” year of 1969.
For the first four years as a Cub (1966 thru the 1969 campaigns), Hundley caught more than 600 games and was one of the most reliable defensive gems behind the plate.
Overworked and injury-plagued Hundley played in only 450 games for the next 8 seasons. Hundley career offensive numbers are weak; so weak that his name is recorded in the baseball archives for having one of the ten lowest career batting averages, .236 (with at least 2500 at bats). Yet for four years, Hundley was the heart and soul of the Cubs behind the plate.
The 1967 card of Hundley, showcasing his election to the Topps 1966 All Star Rookie team and trophy is a good picture of Hundley in “action”. The back of the card is interesting with just completing his first full year in the majors, first full year with the Cubbies and boasting 19 homers along with his .236 batting average. Quite coincidentally that is also Hundleys career batting average after 14 seasons; .236
After his playing days, Hundley “worked” for the Cubs organization as an assistant coach and scout for a few years and then started his Baseball Fantasy Camps in Arizona. Hundley was the first again to start a camp for “wealthy executives” to play side by side with major leaguers. His camps are now copied by many and once again Hundley is credited with changing baseball.
From one-handed catching to developing baseball camps Hundley has impacted the sport greatly.
1981 Sporting News Conlon Collection
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