John Steven Hale
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 195 lb.
- High School Wasco High School
- Debut September 8, 1974
- Final Game August 1, 1979
- Born August 5, 1953 in Fresno, CA USA
John Hale was an outfielder with a six-year major league career in the 1970s. A solid hitter in the minor leagues, he failed to hit in his repeated chances to play in the bigs.
Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 14th round of the 1971 amateur draft shortly before he turned 18, he debuted that year with the Ogden Dodgers and hit .228/~.300/.338 - while the stats look unimpressive, they were about average for many players in the 1971 Pioneer League. In 1972, Hale moved up to the Daytona Beach Dodgers and put up a .233/~.340/.360 campaign. The next year, he played for the Bakersfield Dodgers, batting .264/~.406/.437 and was third in the California League with 100 walks.
In 1974, John was with the Waterbury Dodgers and led the Eastern League with nine triples. Overall, his line was .271/~.376/.419 and he got a September call-up to the majors at age 20 for 4 games with the 1974 Dodgers, going 4 for 4 and driving in the division-clinching run for LA.
He started the 1975 season with the AAA Albuquerque Dukes, where he hit .283/~.354/.516 in 67 games. He was called up to Los Angeles in June and had 204 at-bats for the Dodgers, hitting .211/.303/.333. At the time, the Dodger outfield was composed of Jimmy Wynn, Willie Crawford, and Bill Buckner. Buckner was injured part of the year, and players who filled in included Lee Lacy and Hale.
Hale made the Dodgers' opening day roster out of spring training in 1976 and appeared in 44 games, but failed to hit (.154/.291/.188), earning a ticket back to Albuquerque. He did hit .321/~.413/.551 for the Dukes in 103 games, however. John hit .340/~.483/.468 for Albuquerque in 15 games in 1977, spending most of the year in the majors. He hit .241/.331/.352 in 108 at-bats for the 1977 Dodgers as a back-up in the outfield. Prior to the end of the 1977 season, he was selected off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays and then purchased by the Mariners. As a result, he missed the Dodgers' trip to the 1977 World Series. Veteran Vic Davalillo, rescued from the Mexican League, took his spot on the roster.
In 1978, with the Mariners, he had his most at-bats, but put up a hitting line of .171/.283/.265 in 211 AB. He was one of the three players who spent the most time in the outfield that year - the other two were Ruppert Jones and Leon Roberts. Tom Paciorek, at age 31, was also trying to get playing time in the outfield.
The next year, Hale hit .222/.342/.365 in more limited play, mostly as a pinch-hitter and backup outfielder. He played his last major league game when he was 25. John then signed a free agent deal with the Cincinnati Reds and dazzled for the Indianapolis Indians in 1980, putting up a .274/~.373/.541 line with 27 homers, 77 RBI and 133 strikeouts. He was third in the American Association in slugging and homers, trailing Randy Bass and Tim Wallach in both areas.
Hale currently runs a real estate brokerage firm in Bakersfield, CA.
In the 1974 season, Hale went 4 for 4. Of all the players who have batted 1.000 in a season, he is the one with the most hits: five other players have gone 3 for 3.