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Vada Pinson

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Batting average  .286
Name  Vada Pinson
Hits  2,757
Role  Baseball player
Home runs  256
Education  McClymonds High School
Runs batted in  1,170

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Died  October 21, 1995, Oakland, California, United States

The Art of Hitting with Vada Pinson - 1981

Vada Edward Pinson Jr. (August 11, 1938 – October 21, 1995) was an American professional baseball player and coach. He played as a center fielder in Major League Baseball for 18 years, from 1958 through 1975, most notably for the Cincinnati Reds, for whom he played from 1958 to 1968. Pinson, who batted and threw left-handed, was primarily a center fielder who combined power, speed, and strong defensive ability.


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Clubhouse Chatter- Vada Pinson III

Early life

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Pinson was born in Memphis, Tennessee and his family moved to California when he was a child. He was a graduate of Oakland's McClymonds High School, attended by Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder Frank Robinson (a Pinson teammate in the major leagues for nine years), star centerfielder Curt Flood and Basketball Hall of Fame center Bill Russell. He appeared in 2,469 games for the Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians, California Angels, and Kansas City Royals, notching 2,757 hits and finishing with a career batting average of .286, with 256 home runs and 305 stolen bases.

Professional career

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Pinson signed with the Cincinnati Reds at age 18. In his second year in the minors, for the Visalia Redlegs in Class C, he hit .367 with 209 hits, 20 home runs, 20 triples and 40 doubles.

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After just two minor league seasons and still only 19 years old, he earned a spot on the Reds' 25-man roster out of spring training, making his major league debut on April 15, 1958 against the Philadelphia Phillies at home in Crosley Field. Batting second and starting in centerfield, Pinson had one hit in five at-bats, his first hit a single off future Baseball Hall-of-Famer Robin Roberts. Three days later, in the Reds' next game, he hit his first home run, a grand slam off Pittsburgh Pirates' starter Ron Kline at Forbes Field.

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With the Reds, Pinson twice led the National League in hits (1961, 1963), doubles (1959, 1960), and triples (1963, 1967). He batted .343 in 1961, when the Reds won the NL pennant, but mustered only a .091 (2 for 22) average in the 1961 World Series, which Cincinnati lost to the New York Yankees in five games.

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He received votes for Most Valuable Player award voting, finishing 15th in 1959, 18th in 1960, 3rd in 1961, 10th in 1963, and 18th in 1964.

Coaching career

Highly respected throughout the game, he was later a coach for the Seattle Mariners (1977–80; 1982–83), Chicago White Sox (1981), Detroit Tigers (1985–91), and Florida Marlins (1993–94) after his playing days ended. He coached on the inaugural editions of two expansion teams, the Mariners (1977) and the Marlins (1993).

Personal life

He became eligible for the Hall of Fame in 1981. In his 15 years on the ballot, his highest ballot total was 15.7% in 1988. He fell off the ballot in 1996, receiving just 10.9% of votes.

Pinson retired from baseball entirely after the 1994 season. On October 5, 1995, he was admitted to an Oakland hospital after suffering a stroke. He died on October 21, 1995. He was interred at Rolling Hills Memorial Park, Richmond, California. He was survived by three daughters Valerie, Kimberly and Renee, son Vada Pinson III, and four grandchildren.


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