Don Mincher

Donald Ray Mincher (June 24, 1938 – March 4, 2012[1]) was an American Major League Baseball first baseman and longtime minor league executive. He played in the majors from 1960–1972 for the "original" Washington Senators and Minnesota Twins, California Angels, Seattle Pilots, Oakland Athletics, and the expansion Washington Senators and Texas Rangers, all of the American League.[2] The native of Huntsville, Alabama, batted left-handed, threw right-handed, and was listed as 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m) tall and weighed 205 pounds (93 kg). He was a member of the last editions of each of Washington's two 20th Century American League teams and their first-year squads in their new locales, Minneapolis–Saint Paul (1961) and Dallas–Fort Worth (1972).

Don Mincher
First baseman
Born: (1938-06-24)June 24, 1938
Huntsville, Alabama, U.S.
Died: March 4, 2012(2012-03-04) (aged 73)
Huntsville, Alabama, U.S.
Batted: Left
Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 18, 1960, for the Washington Senators
Last MLB appearance
October 4, 1972, for the Oakland Athletics
MLB statistics
Batting average.249
Home runs200
Runs batted in643
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Career

Major league player

Mincher's professional baseball career began when he signed with the Chicago White Sox after graduating from Huntsville's S. R. Butler High School in 1956. He steadily rose through the Chicago system for four years, but was traded to Washington on the eve of the 1960 season, along with young catcher Earl Battey, for veteran Senators' slugger Roy Sievers. He became a regular for the Twins in 1964, and in 1965, he appeared in 128 regular-season games for the pennant-winning 1965 club, including all seven games of the 1965 World Series. He collected only three hits in 23 at bats, but his first hit was a home run off Don Drysdale in the second inning of Game 1. It scored Minnesta's first run of the Fall Classic. The Twins won that contest, 8–2, but Drysdale's Los Angeles Dodgers would ultimately prevail in seven games.[3]

Mincher belted more than 20 homers five times in his first seven years as an everyday player. All told, over all or parts of 13 MLB seasons, Mincher batted .249, with 1,003 hits, 176 doubles, 16 triples and 200 homers. He collected 643 runs batted in and was elected to the American League All-Star team twice (1967 and 1969). As one of two representatives for the Seattle Pilots in 1969 (their only season in existence before becoming the Milwaukee Brewers), he also holds the distinction of being the only player to ever play in an All-Star Game as a Pilot; Mike Hegan also was selected to the team as a reserve, but did not appear in the game. The following season, Mincher slugged a career-high 27 homers as a member of the 1970 Oakland Athletics. His playing career ended after the 1972 season, which saw the 34-year-old Mincher hit only .148 , mostly as a pinch hitter, after Oakland reacquired him from the Rangers on July 26. But in the 1972 World Series, Mincher's ninth-inning pinch single in Game 4 off Clay Carroll drove home the tying run, as the Athletics came from behind to defeat the Cincinnati Reds, 3–2.[4] Mincher's name appeared in the box scores of two other games, but he never officially batted in either contest when he was replaced by a right-handed pinch hitter. Oakland defeated Cincinnati in seven games, earning Mincher a World Series championship ring.

Minor league executive

Mincher served as the first president and general manager of the Huntsville Stars, the Double-A affiliate of the Oakland A's (1985–1998) and, later, the Milwaukee Brewers (1999–2014).[5] He served in this role from 1985 until 2001. In 1994, Mincher and a group of local investors purchased the team from Larry Schmittou to keep baseball in Huntsville.

In 2000, Mincher was named interim president of the Southern League, where the Stars play, when league president Arnold Fielkow left for an executive position with the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League. Mincher resigned from his position with the Stars when his group sold the team to Miles Prentice in early 2001. This cleared the way for the Southern League to remove the interim tag and they made him league president beginning with the 2001 season.[2] He served as league president until retiring in October 2011, at which point the league named him President-Emeritus.[1]

Mincher was elected to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. Though he never played for the team, the Huntsville Stars retired his number 5 in an on-field ceremony on June 6, 2008.[5] In 2010, he was presented with the King of Baseball award given by Minor League Baseball.

Mincher died after a long illness on March 4, 2012.[1]

Records and achievements

On June 9, 1966, in the seventh inning of a game against the Kansas City Athletics, Mincher was one of five Twins players to hit home runs. The others were Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva, Rich Rollins and Zoilo Versalles. These five home runs still stand as a Major League record for the most home runs in a single inning, and were hit off starter Catfish Hunter (two), reliever Paul Lindblad (two), and reliever John Wyatt.[6]

Mincher was one of only 21 players to hit a home run completely over the right-field roof and out of Tiger Stadium in Detroit during the 64-year history of its final configuration.[7] He accomplished the feat on August 23, 1964, as a member of the Minnesota Twins.[7]

References

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