Hisle, a soft-spoken orphan, was recruited for Ohio State University by the governor
of Ohio, and signed with the Phillies while still enrolled. Despite tying the then-ML
rookie record by striking out 152 times, Hisle was a Topps Rookie All-Star (.266,
20 HR) in 1969 even though he was still weak from a 1968 hepatitis infection. He
had an abysmal sophomore season, batting .205 and fanning once every three at-bats.
Traded and returned to the minors, he resurfaced with Minnesota in 1973 and blossomed.
Fleet afoot, with a strong arm and excellent power, he became a top run producer
in five seasons as a Twins regular, culminating in 1977 with a league-leading 119
RBI (.302, 28 HR). He didn't get along with parsimonious Twins owner Calvin Griffith;
as a free agent, Hisle signed a $3.2 million package with Milwaukee in 1978 and delivered
34 homers and 115 RBI to finish third in the AL MVP balloting. Brewer manager George
Bamberger called him "the kind of player kids should look up to" and "without a doubt
one of the nicest men I've ever known." In April 1979, Hisle tore his rotator cuff
making a throw and played just 79 games in four more ML seasons.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»June 24, 1969: Richie Allen is fined $2,500 and suspended indefinitely when he fails to appear for the Phillies twi-night doubleheader game with the Mets. Allen had gone to New Jersey in the morning to see a horse race and got caught in traffic trying to return. He will stay suspended until July 20. Allen picked up a $1000 fine in May when, for two straight days, he reportedly arrived at the ballpark after the game had started. Without Allen, the Phils drop a pair, 2–1 and 5–0. Larry Hisle's homer in the opener off Tom Seaver is the only Phils score. Jim McAndrew is the winner in the nitecap, allowing two hits in eight innings.
»March 6, 1973: In an exhibition game with the Pirates, the Twins' Larry Hisle becomes the first designated hitter in ML history. Hisle makes the new AL rule look good by collecting two home runs and seven RBI.
»October 2, 1974: In the Rangers' season finale, Billy Martin allows Ferguson Jenkins to hit for himself rather than use the DH, the first such incident in the American League all season. Jenkins singles to break up the Twins Jim Hughes's no-hitter, scores the Rangers' first run, and goes on to win his 25th game of the season 2–1. With two outs in the bottom of the 9th, Harmon Killebrew pinch hits for Larry Hisle and strikes out. It is the Killer's last ML at bat as a Twin. He'll sign on as a DH for the Royals after declining the Twins offer to manage in the minors.
»June 4, 1976:
At Baltimore, the Twins edge the O's, 8–6, as Minnesota's Larry Hisle hits for the cycle.