- LF, OF, RF, DH, 1B
- Hit Man
- November 29, 1950
- 190 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 9-05-1973 with HOU
Although defense was never a strong suit, Mike “the Hitman” Easler, never the less was a natural hitter who finished his 14-year major league career with a .293 average.
Easler was drafted in the 6th round of the 1969 June amateur draft and despite the fact he came up 92 times, mostly in pinch hit roles with the Astros and Angels between 1973 and 1976, pretty much was kept in the minor leagues for the better part of a decade due to his poor defense.
Easler was traded to the Bucs in April of 1977 after spending time in five organizations for minor league pitcher Randy Sealy and inevitably would get his opportunity to shine in the show.
The hitman was 8 for 18 in 1977, a .444 average for Pittsburgh, and won the International League batting title the following year with a .330 average. The batting title would be the second of Easler’s minor league career as he won the American Association crown in 1976 with a .352 mark.
After one more season as a pinch hitter in the world championship season of 1979, Mike got his opportunity and certainly made the most of it when he hit 21 homers with 74 RBI’s and a .338 average in only 393 at bats in 1980. During the season, Easler etched his name in the franchises record book by hitting for the very rare cycle against the
Reds on June 12th.
Mike followed up his monster season with .286 and .276 efforts in 1981, a year he was selected to play in his one and only all-star game, and 1982. The Hitman cracked the .300 plateau in 1983 with a .307 mark, before being sent to the Red Sox in December of 1983 for pitcher John Tudor.
In the American League, Easler was able to settle into his more natural position as a designated hitter and had a monster 1984 season with career highs in both homers and RBI’s with 27 and 91 respectively, before falling off in 1985.
He went to the Yankees in 1986 and hit .302 with 78 RBI’s before ending his career in 1987 with the Yanks and Phillies.
After he left the show, Easler was a coach with both the Brewers and Red Sox. He was elected to the Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame in February of 2002 (Mike graduated from a high school in the Cleveland Area, Benedictine High School).
The Hitman was also an example of how patience pays off. After a decade of waiting for a true opportunity in the majors, Mike certainly showed he more than belonged in the league.