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Hal McRae

Hal McRae

Position(s):
2B, 3B, LF, OF, RF, CF, DH
Born:
July 10, 1945
Bats:
Right
Throws:
Right
Height:
5' 11"
Weight:
180 lbs
Major League Debut:
7-11-1968 with CIN
Allstar Selections:
1982 SS

McRae was selected by the Reds in the 6th round of the 1965 draft with the 117th overall pick. He was considered a good-hitting but poor-fielding platoon partner for Bernie Carbo in Cincinnati. In 1972, McRae was traded to the Royals along with Wayne Simpson in exchange for Roger Nelson and Richie Scheinblum.He found a home in Kansas City as a DH. Famed batting coach Charlie Lau helped him hone his batting talents, and he developed into a remarkably consistent hitter. His aggressive style of play and team-first spirit made him a natural leader.

McRae's career almost ended before it began when he broke his leg in four places while playing winter ball in Puerto Rico after the 1968 season, but he recovered, batting over .300 six times and twice leading the AL in doubles. McRae was named Designated Hitter of the Year three times by The Sporting News; his 133 RBI in 1982 topped the league and set a Royals record.

In 1976 McRae was edged for the batting title by teammate George Brett, .333 to .332, on Brett's controversial inside-the-park home run in his final at-bat. McRae's charges that racism led Minnesota outfielder Steve Brye to intentionally misplay Brett's fly ball were never proven.

 

McRae played hard—so hard, in fact, that the rule requiring a runner to slide into second base when breaking up a double play is still referred to as the Hal McRae Rule in honor of the man whose cross-body blocks into second base broke up a lot of double plays and second basemen at the same time.

In June 1985, McRae's son Brian, a shortstop, was selected in the first round of the free agent draft by the Royals. It was thought to be the first time a father and son played for the same organization at the same time. McRae the younger made his major-league debut as an outfielder with Kansas City in 1990, and his father was hired as the club's skipper in 1991, two years after being inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame.

Hal posted a winning record in his four years as the Royals' manager, but was fired after the players' strike hit in 1994. He served as a hitting coach for a number of teams before replacing Larry Rothschild as manager of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in April 2001.

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Tagged:
Bernie Carbo, Cincinnati Reds, George Brett, Hal McRae, Kansas City Royals, Steve Brye

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