- July 1, 1942
- 5' 11"
- 170 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 9-27-1964 with SFN
- Allstar Selections:
- 1967 GG
In December 1965 the Cubs made one of their best deals of the decade, acquiring two unproven players, Hundley and pitcher Bill Hands, from the Giants for Don Landrum, Lindy McDaniel, and Jim Rittwage. Hands became a 20-game winner, and Hundley turned out to be the best Cub catcher since Gabby Hartnett.
In the years 1966-69, Hundley caught nearly every Cub game. He set a ML record with 160 games behind the plate (147 complete) in 1968, and became the first player in history to catch 150 or more games for three consecutive years (1967-69). This iron man accomplishment stems in part from his own stamina, but was also a result of manager Leo Durocher's reluctance to play the second-stringers. When he won the Gold Glove in 1967, he committed just four errors for a NL record. Hundley popularized a new hinged glove that permitted a one-handed catching style, protecting his throwing hand. His arm was strong and accurate, he called pitches well, and hit with power. When the Cubs made their unsuccessful run for the flag in 1969, Hundley's fielding and 18 HR were key contributions, but he was thoroughly worn out by season's end.
The effects of overwork began to show the following April when Hundley injured his left knee and missed more than half the season. The right knee popped in 1971, limiting his action to nine games. Never the same after that, he drifted to the Twins in 1973, the Padres in 1974, and returned to finish with 15 games for the Cubs in 1976-77.
In a 14 year career, Hundley played in 1,061 games, accumulating 1813 hits in 3,442 at bats for a .236 career batting average along with 82 home runs, 381 runs batted in and a .292 on base percentage. He ended his career with a .990 fielding percentage.
While Hundley was a light hitter, he was valued for his defensive skills and for the way he handled the pitching staff. Cubs' relief pitcher Phil Regan said of Hundley in 1972,"He's not only our catcher, he's our leader." He was one of the few catchers to steal home, doing so on May 19, 1966 against Gary Kroll of the Houston Astros after tripling off Turk Farrell. Hundley caught two no-hitters in 1972; Burt Hooton on April 16 and Milt Pappas on September 2. He is one of a handful of men to catch two no-hitters in one season.
Hundley managed in the Cubs minor league system from 1979 to 1981, leading the Midland Cubs to first place in the Western Division of the Texas League in 1979.
After leaving the playing field, Hundley originated the idea of baseball fantasy camps, and since the early 1980s, has operated them to the delight of many a middle aged fan/camper and also to the former pro players who return to the uniform to help coach the teams. For years, Hundley operated camps for many major league teams but now concentrates on the Chicago Cubs. His son Todd Hundley, was also a catcher, playing in the major leagues for 15 years
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- Randy Hundley