Randy Hundley

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 LandrumLindy 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.