Rebel Yell

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Randy Hundley

Randy Hundley set the standards for a workhorse catcher in the late 1960s. From 1966 through 1969, he caught no less than 144 games in a season. His backstop abilities made him an All-Star and Gold Glove winner, and his leadership and abilities as a handler of pitchers made him one of the best Cubs catchers since Hall of Famer Gabby Hartnett.

A Virginia native (hence his nickname, “Rebel”), Hundley was signed by the San Francisco Giants in 1960. He played in only eight games with the Giants before being traded with Bill Hands in 1965 to the Chicago Cubs for Don Landrum and Lindy McDaniel.

Randy Hundley’s best season with the Chicago Cubs came in 1969. He batted .255 with 18 home runs and 64 RBIs. He was also a member of the National League All-Star team.

For the next four years, he was the Cubs’ starting catcher and virtually the only Cub playing that position. He averaged 153 games per season with 14 home runs and 63 RBIs. He batted .246 over that period.

The wear and tear of so many innings behind the plate began to catch up with his body, and injuries limited Hundley to a total of 82 games from 1970 to 1971. He returned to everyday catching duties in 1972, though not at his earlier level, and not with the same offensive impact. Hundley batted .218 in 1972 and .226 in 1973.

After eight seasons with the Cubs, Hundley was traded to the Minnesota Twins for George Mitterwald. He batted .193 in a part-time role, and signed with the San Diego Padres for the 1975 season, batting .206. He signed with the Cubs for 1976 but played in only 15 games over the next two seasons, and retired in 1977.

Hundley played in 1,061 games during his 14-year major league career, catching in all but 35 of those games. He had 813 hits and a career batting average of .236.