Glancing Back, and Remembering Ken Hunt
In the right place, and at the right time, Ken Hunt was one of the American League’s most dangerous – and promising – hitters.
What looked like it would be a promising career with the fledgling Los Angeles Angels came crashing to earth too soon due to an injury that, today, would have probably cost him only part of a season.
Hunt was signed by the New York Yankees as a teenager in 1952. The strapping North Dakota native was blessed with size and strength, and looked destined to bring another powerful bat to the Yankees’ lineup.
But he never found an opening in the Yankees’ outfield lineup. After seven years of minor league play (with another two years of military service), Hunt’s major league career had amounted to 34 at-bats in 31 games with the Yankees, batting .294 with three doubles and two RBIs.
The 1960 expansion draft brought Hunt to the Angels, and he responded in 1961 with 25 home runs and 84 RBIs, batting .255 in 149 games. He also hit 29 doubles and scored 70 runs.
Hunt had 479 official at-bats in 1961. That total was more than he would have in the rest of his career combined. Surgery to repair an aneurysm in his throwing shoulder virtually eliminated his 1962 season, and effectively ended his career.
Hunt played 66 games in 1963, hitting .185 with six home runs and 20 RBIs. Just before the end of the season, he was sold to the Washington Senators and played 51 games for Washington in 1964, batting .135 with only a single home run and four RBIs. He tried to come back in 1966 in the Chicago Cubs’ minor league system, but could manage only a .235 batting average with Tacoma in the Pacific Coast League, and retired after the 1966 season.
Hunt’s abbreviated major league career lasted only one full season and parts of five others. His career batting average was .226.