Billy Hitchcock
Billy Hitchcock.jpg
Hitchcock as a Detroit Tigers coach in 1957
Infielder / Manager
Born: (1916-07-31)July 31, 1916
Inverness, Alabama
Died: April 9, 2006(2006-04-09) (aged 89)
Opelika, Alabama
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 14, 1942, for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
August 27, 1953, for the Detroit Tigers
MLB statistics
Batting average.243
Home runs5
Runs batted in257
Managerial record274–261
Winning %.512
As player

As manager

As coach

Hitchcock served as president of the Southern League from 1971 to 1980.
Hitchcock served as president of the Southern League from 1971 to 1980.

William Clyde Hitchcock (July 31, 1916 – April 9, 2006) was an American professional baseball infielder, coach, manager and scout. In Major League Baseball (MLB), he was primarily a third baseman, second baseman and shortstop who appeared in 703 games over nine years with five American League teams. After 18 years as a coach, manager (of the Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves), and scout he became an executive in Minor League Baseball, serving as president of the Double-A Southern League from 1971–80. His older brother, Jimmy Hitchcock, played briefly for the 1938 Boston Bees.

Playing career

Born in Inverness, Alabama and a graduate of Auburn University, Hitchcock played all four infield positions during a nine-year American League active career. The right-handed batter and thrower stood 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall and weighed 185 pounds (84 kg). He broke in with the 1942 Detroit Tigers, spent three years in the Army Air Force in the Pacific during World War II, and resumed his Major League career from 1946 to 1953. Overall, he batted .243 with 547 hits and five home runs in 703 games with the Tigers, Washington Senators, Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Browns and Philadelphia Athletics.

Managerial career

Between Triple-A managing assignments in 1954 and 1961, Hitchcock served a six-year (1955–60) term as the Tigers' third base coach. He also became a footnote to one of the most bizarre personnel transactions in baseball annals. On August 3, 1960, the Tigers and Cleveland Indians traded their managers, Jimmy Dykes for Joe Gordon. Hitchcock served as Detroit's interim skipper for one game while Gordon was en route from his Cleveland assignment, and the Tigers defeated the New York Yankees, 12–2, on August 3 at Yankee Stadium.[1]

In 1962, Hitchcock was named the full-time manager of the Baltimore Orioles. But in his two seasons at the helm, the ballclub barely broke the .500 mark (163–161). Hitchcock was dismissed on September 29 after the final game of the 1963 campaign in which the fourth-place Orioles finished 18+12 games behind the Yankees,[2] and moved into Baltimore's minor league department as field coordinator. Then he became a scout for the Braves, whose general manager at the time was former Tiger player and executive John McHale.

Hitchcock began the 1966 season as a coach under Bobby Bragan during the Braves' first season in Atlanta. But when they won only 52 of their first 111 games, Bragan was fired on August 9 and Hitchcock took over. The Braves won 33 of their last 51 games to finish fifth in the National League, and Hitchcock was invited back for 1967, but he was fired September 28 of that year with the team in seventh place and three games remaining on the schedule.[3] His career managing record was 274 wins, 261 losses (.514). Hitchcock then scouted for McHale and the Montreal Expos in 1968–71 before taking over as president of the Southern League.

Managerial record

Team Year Regular season Postseason
Games Won Lost Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
DET 1960 1 1 0 1.000 interim
DET total 1 1 0 1.000 0 0
BAL 1962 162 77 85 .475 7th in AL
BAL 1963 162 86 76 .531 4th in AL
BAL total 324 163 161 .503 0 0
ATL 1966 51 33 18 .647 5th in NL
ATL 1967 159 77 82 .484 fired
ATL total 210 110 100 .524 0 0
Total 535 274 261 0 0

Southern League presidency

Hitchcock became president of the Southern League in August 1971.[4] During his presidency, the league added new teams, expanded its playoffs, and introduced split-season play. Other improvements included stadium refurbishments and efforts to make the league more family-friendly. Attendance figures rose dramatically during his tenure, from 333,500 in 1971 to over 1.7 million in 1980. The Southern League championship trophy is named after Hitchcock, and in 1980 he was presented with the King of Baseball award given by Minor League Baseball. He stepped down from the presidency in 1980.[4]

College athletics

In addition to his baseball resume, Hitchcock also made a name for himself in college football and golf. As an All-Conference tailback, he led Auburn to its first bowl game (a 7-7 tie against Villanova on January 1, 1937). Later in life, he established the Billy Hitchcock Golf Tournament at his alma mater. In recognition of his contribution to the school, Auburn renamed its renovated baseball stadium "Hitchcock Field" in 2003. Also in that year, Baseball America named it the best college baseball facility in the country.


Hitchcock died in Opelika, Alabama at age 89.[5]


  1. ^ Information at Retrosheet
  2. ^ "Orioles Fire Bill Hitchcock as Manager" Associated Press, Sunday, September 29, 1963
  3. ^ Braves fire Bill Hitchcock as manager
  4. ^ a b "Southern League History". Southern League. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  5. ^ Hitchcock, former player, manager, dies at 89
Preceded byJack Tighe Buffalo Bisons manager 1954 Succeeded byDan Carnevale Preceded byJohnny Hopp Detroit Tigers third base coach 1955–1960 Succeeded byPhil Cavarretta Preceded byGeorge Staller Vancouver Mounties manager 1961 Succeeded byJack McKeon Preceded bySam C. Smith Jr. Southern League president 1971–1980 Succeeded byJim Bragan