Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sunday School: History Lesson 84

Larry Hisle was an outfielder with the Phillies from 1968-1971. Hisle was a solid athlete who played a season of college basketball at Ohio State before signing with the Phillies and playing professional baseball.

Hisle made his debut as a late season call up in 1968 at the age of 21, after batting .303 in the minors that year. The following year, in his first full season in the Major Leagues, Hisle slugged 20 homeruns and drove in 56 runs to finish fourth in National League rookie of the year voting. Hisle's HR total was good enough for second on the team that year and helped to get him named a Rookie All-star by Topps that season.

In 1970, Hisle struggled and lost confidence, posting a low .205 batting average and only 10 homeruns. After a period of offensive strife, Hisle found himself back in the minors by the middle of the 1971 season. Following the season, Hisle was traded to the Dodgers for utility man Tom Hutton.

Hisle spent a year in the Dodgers' system without playing a game at the Major League level. The following off-season Hisle was swapped twice, first going to the Cardinals for Greg Millikan and Rudy Arroyo, then heading to Minnesota, roughly a month later, with John Cumberland for Wayne Granger.

As a member of the Twins, Hisle would excel and live up to his potential. During his time in Minnesota, Hisle posted a 31-steal season, made an All-star team and led the American League in RBI in 1977, when he drove in 119.

However, following his outstanding 1977 season, in which he slugged 28 homers, batted .302, finished third in Most Valuable Player voting in the American League, Hisle and the Twins could not agree on a new contract and he signed with Milwaukee as a free agent.

Hisle made an exceptional addition for the Brewers in his first season with the club, when he posted a .290 average, mashed 34 homeruns and drove in 115 runs. But after 1978, Hisle was no longer an impact player after shoulder injuries prevented him from playing very much. He was active in no more than 27 games in any of the next four seasons and was out of the Majors following the 1982 season.

These days, Hisle continues to be a fixture in the Brewers' organization and the Milwaukee community. He is currently employed with the Brewers as their Youth Outreach Manager, a position he has held since 2003, and works a great deal in mentoring roles with multiple youth groups. Hisle also served as the 2010 Christmas Seals Campaign Chairperson for the American Lung Association.

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