- SS, 2B, 3B, 1B
- April 5, 1938
- 6' 3"
- 190 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 4-15-1958 with BAL
- Allstar Selections:
- 1960 ROOK
The uncommonly tall (6'3") shortstop missed the 1957 season with a slipped disc, and went 0-for-19 in his 1958 Orioles debut. He returned to Baltimore in 1960, and his career-high 22 HR and 86 RBI won him AL Rookie of the Year honors. He led AL shortstops in double plays in 1961, spent six months of 1962 in the Marines due to the Cuban Missile Crisis, re-injured his back, and was traded to the White Sox in a January 1963 deal for Luis Aparicio. Hansen led the league twice more in double plays and four times in assists. On August 29, 1965 he tied an AL record with 18 chances in the first game of a doubleheader, and added 10 more in the second for a total of 28, setting another record. Out again with back problems in 1966, he was swapped to the Senators in a 1968 deal for Tim Cullen. Hansen turned the majors' first unassisted triple play in 41 years on July 30, 1968 against the Indians. He was then shipped back to the White Sox for Cullen, making them the only two players to be traded for one another twice in the same season. Hansen finished his career as a utility man, and became a coach and minor league manager.
Ronald Lavern Hansen (born April 5, 1938 in Oxford, Nebraska) is a former shortstop in Major League Baseball who played for the Baltimore Orioles (1958–62), Chicago White Sox (1963–67, 1968–69), Washington Senators (1968), New York Yankees (1970–71) and Kansas City Royals (1972). He batted and threw right-handed.
In a 15-season career, Hansen was a .234 hitter with 106 home runs and 501 RBI in 1384 games.
Hansen was one of the best shortstops in the American League in the 1960s, yet unfortunately, a player whose career was hampered throughout and was eventually cut short by chronic back ailments and other injuries which prevented him from ever really enjoying a great career. Despite being a tall shortstop at 6 ft 3 in and 200 pounds (91 kg), Hansen was fluid and smooth in the field. He was a competent hitter as well, in an era when shortstops barely hit their weight.
Hansen, who was supposed to be the starting shortstop for Baltimore in 1957, missed the entire season with a slipped disk. He debuted in 1958, and went 0-for-19 in 12 games. In 1959 he played in two games and ended 0-for-4.
In 1960, Hansen surpassed all expectations by turning in a solid, injury-free season, filling the Orioles urgent need for a quality shortstop. He appeared in 153 games, and finished with 22 home runs, 86 RBI, 22 doubles, five triples, a .255 batting average and a .342 on base percentage, batting from the eight spot. He was selected for the All-Star Game and earned American League Rookie of the Year honors, getting 22 of 24 votes, as well as the TSN Rookie of the Year Award.
Hansen led AL shortstops in double plays in 1961, hitting 12 home runs with 51 RBI in 155 games. In 1962 he spent six months as a Marine due to the Cuban Missile Crisis. During the service, Hansen reinjured his back. Before the 1963 season, he was sent to the White Sox along with knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm in the same trade that brought Luis Aparicio to the Orioles.
With Chicago, Hansen led the AL twice more in double plays and four times in assists. During a doubleheader in 1965, he tied an AL record with 18 total chances in the first game and added 10 more in the second for a total of 28, to set a major league record for a doubleheader.
In 1964, Hansen posted career-highs in batting average (.261), runs (85), hits (160) and doubles (25), and belted 20 home runs with 68 RBI. In 1965 he led the league with 162 games played, but was out again with back problems in 1966, appearing in 23 games. He underwent surgery for a ruptured spinal disc and returned in 1967, playing in 157 games.
In 1968, Hansen was sent to the Senators at pre-season in a deal for infielder Tim Cullen. With the Senators, on July 30, 1968 Hansen turned the eighth unassisted triple play in major league history and the first in 41 years. In a curious movement, he was then shipped back to the White Sox for Cullen, making them the only two players in MLB history to be traded for one another twice in the same season. In the at bats following the triple play (the games of July 30 and 31), Hansen struck out six consecutive times. On August 1 he hit a grand slam home run, and the following day, batting .185, he was traded to the White Sox.
With Aparicio again in Chicago, Hansen served as a backup infielder. He finished his career as a utility for the Yankees and Kansas City, and later became a coach and minor league manager. In 2007, he was still in baseball, as a major league scout for the Philadelphia Phillies.
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- Ron Hansen