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Hank McGraw

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Henry Thomas McGraw

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[edit] Biographical Information

Hank McGraw is the older brother of Tug McGraw. An outfielder, catcher and first baseman, he played in the minor leagues for 12 years, including 4 at AAA. He twice hit 20 homers and twice topped .300. He hit 151 career homers. Like Tug, he was an unconvential character described by some as a hippy. Hank recommended that the New York Mets take a look at his kid brother, getting him started in baseball.

Hank signed for a $15,000 bonus with the Mets before New York had its major league debut. McGraw broke in in 1961 with the Lexington Indians and hit .173 with 5 RBI. In 1962, he split time between the Santa Barbara Rancheros (.111, 2 RBI) and Auburn Mets (.260, 4 HR, 23 RBI). The next season, McGraw began to hit. He batted .269 with 13 HR and 55 RBI for the Salinas Mets. In 1964, Hank hit .268 for Salinas with 20 homers and 100 RBI, a career-best mark. He led his team in homers and was 7th in the California League. He was third in the loop in RBI, trailing Ollie Brown and Charles Murray.

In 1965, McGraw made it to New York's #2 farm club, the Williamsport Mets. He hit .252 with 18 HR and 71 RBI. He was 5th in the Eastern League in home runs and eighth in RBI.

During the 1966 season, Hank played 59 games for Williamsport and one for the Jacksonville Suns (going 1 for 2 in his AAA debut). To make room for Will Huckle, McGraw was optioned to the Seattle Angels of the California Angels system, where he was 7 for 35 with 5 walks and a home run. He was then sent down to the El Paso Sun Kings to make room on Seattle for John Olerud Sr.. He was 4 for 24 with a homer and two walks with El Paso. He was then borrowed by the Baltimore Orioles for their Elmira Pioneers farm team. This proved valuable for McGraw, as he was among the EL home run leaders from his opening stint with Williamsport 4 teams earlier. Hank hit one more for Elmira in 18 games to edge three others (including Curt Motton) by one for the EL home run crown. Overall, he hit .223/~.348/.379 for Williamsport and Elmira and struck out in 70 of 256 AB but his 12 homers put him into the league history books.

Picked up next by the Chicago Cubs chain, McGraw hit .297/~.408/.504 for the Lodi Crushers. He scored 85, drove in 84, hit 22 homers and 24 doubles and drew 80 walks. He was 4th in the California League in average, fifth in walks, tied Buddy Hollowell for the double lead, tied for 5th in homers, was 4th in runs and tied for third in RBI. He also appeared briefly for the Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs.

In 1968, Hank was back in the EL. Now in the Philadelphia Phillies chain, he played for the Reading Phillies. Unfortunately, his playing time was limited and he only hit .203/~.329/.304 in 43 games (82 plate appearances). McGraw returned to Reading in 1969 and improved, with a .302/~.381/.531 line with 16 homers in 95 games. He would have finished third in average had he qualified, trailing only Robert Kelly and Angel Mangual. It was one of his best seasons, though not as impressive as his brother's World Series turn on the Miracle Mets.

McGraw played his 10th pro season in 1970. He began with the Eugene Emeralds, only his second time in AAA, and played 82 games for them, before Manager Lou Kahn suspended him in August because his hair was too long and the MLBPA came to Hank's defense. Eugene got out of the conflict by trading McGraw to the Hawaii Islanders for Dale Roberts. Hawaii was in the midst of a season ranked 63rd-best in the 20th century minors by Marshall Wright and Bill Weiss. McGraw played 16 games for the powerhouse. Overall, he hit .304/~.388/.546 with 16 HR in 306 AB in his first full year at AAA.

Hank was just 1 for 9 for Hawaii to start 1971. He then moved on to the Evansville Triplets, where he put up a .288/~.344/.592 line in 38 games. He was then traded with Jack DiLauro to the Atlanta Braves for Marv Staehle in July. Assigned to the Richmond Braves, Hank hit .243/~.402/.403 in 62 contests. Overall, he had 15 home runs and 65 walks in the three different AAA leagues that year.

In 1972, McGraw concluded his career with the Savannah Braves, batting .260/~.373/.476 in 100 contests.

Sources include Pat Doyle's Professional Baseball Player Database, Newsday article about Tug McGraw, Paper of Record.com archives of the Sporting News, 1967-1973 Baseball Guides, SABR

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