Growing up a Yankee fan in the mid-1980's, Ron Hunt's name started popping up a lot because of slugger Don Baylor, who was getting hit by pitches in bunches at the time.
As Baylor was setting the Yankee record for getting hit by a pitch, Yankee announcers couldn't help themselves by citing that back in the early 1970's, Ron Hunt was a baseball magnet, getting plunked a record 50 times in 1971!
Not really one of those "highlights" from the 1970's people think about. But it WAS something I used to marvel at when hit with that statistic.
So I went ahead and designed a 1972 highlight card of Ron Hunt's record breaking (pun intended) run0in's with a baseball while batting.
Take a look:
As far as post 1900 baseball goes, he still hold this record, with Don Baylor coming closest with 37 hit by pitches in 1986.
Technically Hugh Jennings is credited with 51 hit by pitches waaay back in 1896.
But for our purposes, Hunt is still the man.
Ron Hunt had a decent 12-year career that started in 1963 with the New York Mets.
He actually finished in second place for the National League Rookie of the Year award behind a scrappy Cincinnati second baseman, Pete Rose.
The following year he was named to the all-star team, batting over .300 for the cellar-dwelling Mets team.
By the time he hung up the cleats after the 1974 season, he collected over 1400 hits to the tune of a .273 batting average, which isn't bad at all when you consider the era he played in.
He played for five teams, all in the N.L., the Mets, Dodgers, Giants, Expos and Cardinals, and led the league in hit-by-pitches seven years in a row: from 1968 through his last season in '74.
One of those quirky highlights I loved to be reminded of as a kid growing up.