Tuesday, January 18, 2011
#19) JERRY HINSLEY
Jerry Hinsley was selected by the New York Mets from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first-year draft on December 2, 1963. "Reluctant to put him on their roster, the Pirates tried to hide Hinsley by assigning him to Kingsport and keeping him on the bench. He played not an inning all year, but the following winter the Mets drafted him anyway." reported Sports Illustrated in 1964. The magazine heralded Jerry as the fastest thrower in a crop of young Mets pitchers.
He made his major-league debut on April 18, 1964. Coming on in the sixth inning of the second game played in the brand new Shea Stadium. When Hinsley surrendered a triple to the legendary Roberto Clemente in the seventh inning of that game, it became the first three-base hit in the park's history. The right-hander made some Mets history of his own by becoming the youngest pitcher in team history at 19 years and 31 days of age.
Hinsley and his fastball were a favorite of Mets manager, Casey Stengel. While searching for a fourth starter in the rotation, he gave Jerry the ball to begin the second game of a double-header facing St. Louis on May 10th. Hinsley retired the first eight Cardinal batters, but lost the game after allowing four earned runs in the third-inning. He would pitch in a total of nine games with a 0-2 record, and 8.22 ERA. The flamethrower was optioned to the minor-leagues at the end of May and finished the season there.
Jerry suffered a broken jaw at the close of the 1965 minor-league season when he was struck by a line drive. It delayed his start in Winter League ball, but the Mets resigned him for 1966. "I think my chances are very good this year." Hinsley told the Las Cruces Sun-News. "The Mets have sent three hurlers down and another is in the Army."
It would not be until rosters expanded in September of 1967 that Jerry would return to New York. Then only for five innings over two games with a 3.60 ERA. He would be sent back to the minor-leagues and pitch there until retiring from baseball in 1971. "In Triple-A, you have three or four good hitters," explained Hinsley. "You get to the big leagues and they are all good hitters, one through eight."
Jerry's twin brother, Larry Hinsley served as his catcher during their illustrious high school career in La Cruces, New Mexico. The pair were both initially drafted together by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.
Jerry Hinsley signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to his home on October 23, 2008.