Billy Hunter
Shortstop / Manager
Born: (1928-06-04) June 4, 1928 (age 96)
Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 14, 1953, for the St. Louis Browns
Last MLB appearance
September 27, 1958, for the Cleveland Indians
MLB statistics
Batting average.219
Home runs16
Runs batted in144
Managerial record146–108
Winning %.575
As player

As manager

As coach

Career highlights and awards

Gordon William Hunter (born June 4, 1928) is an American former shortstop, coach and manager in Major League Baseball.

Playing career

Born in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, Hunter was listed as 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and 180 pounds (82 kg). He threw and batted right-handed. After attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Penn State, Hunter was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1948. He was sold to the St. Louis Browns of the American League (AL) on October 14, 1952, for $150,000 after leading the Texas League in fielding and stolen bases.

Hunter was the starting shortstop for the last Browns club in 1953 and the first modern Baltimore Orioles team when the Brownies moved to Maryland in 1954. For the remainder of his career, however, he was a second-string infielder for the New York Yankees, Kansas City Athletics and Cleveland Indians. Hunter batted .219 with 16 home runs and 144 RBI in 630 games over his six-year (1953–58) AL career.[1]

Scout and coach

When Hunter finished his playing career, he scouted for the Indians and Orioles. He managed the Bluefield Orioles to Appalachian League championships in 1962 and 1963.[1] Hunter was promoted to Baltimore on November 20, 1963, as third-base coach by former Yankees teammate Hank Bauer, who had become the team's manager one day earlier.[2] He performed that role for almost 14 seasons for four AL champions and two World Series winners. Hunter declined an offer from former Orioles general manager Harry Dalton to manage the California Angels on November 23, 1971.[3]

MLB manager and college head coach

Hunter departed from the Orioles on June 27, 1977, to become the Texas Rangers' fourth manager that season, succeeding Connie Ryan, who had served in the interim for six games. His appointment ended the Rangers' bizarre search for a new manager, which had begun five day prior with Frank Lucchesi's dismissal, followed by Eddie Stanky's one-game stint.[4] Despite the team trailing by 5+12 games in fifth place in the AL West, he stated upon his arrival, "I am accepting this job because I think the Texas Rangers have a contending team."[1] Under Hunter, the Rangers won 60 of their final 93 games and climbed from fifth to second place. In 1978 the Rangers finished tied for second, five games behind the division-leading Kansas City Royals. During the season, Hunter had a confrontation with pitcher Dock Ellis on a team bus. Ellis was later quoted saying Hunter "may be Hitler, but he ain't making no lampshade out of me."[5] After turning down a five-year contract extension in midseason,[6] offered by Rangers' young owner, Brad Corbett, Hunter was fired with one day left in the campaign due to his poor relationship with his team. When asked if he was sorry he took the manager's job, Hunter replied "yes."[7]

Hunter's record over his one-and-a-half seasons was 146–108 (.575), but he never returned to the Major Leagues as a coach or manager, though he claimed to have received a half dozen job offers in the winter of 1978.[8] He became head baseball coach and athletic director at Maryland's Towson State University, retiring in 1995. He was a 1996 honoree into the Orioles Hall of Fame, inducted with Jerry Hoffberger and Cal Ripken, Sr. These three men were so well thought of in Baltimore that a crowd of 400 showed up at the luncheon at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel.[9]


  1. ^ a b c "Rangers Pick Billy Hunter As 4th Manager in a Week," The Associated Press (AP), Tuesday, June 28, 1977. Retrieved April 19, 2022.
  2. ^ "Birds' Bauer Names Woodling And Hunter," United Press International (UPI), Thursday, November 21, 1963. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  3. ^ "Hunter declines Angel position," The Associated Press (AP), Wednesday, November 24, 1971. Retrieved September 7, 2013.
  4. ^ "Hunter takes over Texas". The Gadsden Times. Associated Press. June 28, 1977. p. 13. Retrieved June 15, 2010.
  5. ^ Dock Ellis ready to break rules
  6. ^ Rangers Corbett not very happy
  7. ^ Once Texas hero, Hunter fired for poor relationship with team
  8. ^ Hunter shuns majors
  9. ^ Badger, Sylvia. Hunter, Hoffberger, Ripken Sr. enter Orioles Hall of Fame Archived 2012-11-02 at the Wayback Machine, The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, 1 September 1996. Retrieved on 2010-6-26
Preceded byLuke Appling Baltimore Orioles third-base coach 1964–1977 Succeeded byCal Ripken, Sr.