Aaron Elton Pointer
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 185 lb.
- School University of San Francisco
- High School McClymonds High School
- Debut September 22, 1963
- Final Game October 1, 1967
- Born April 19, 1942 in Little Rock, AR USA
"I started out very fast, hitting over .500 the first month of the season and just continued that way through the whole season, tapering off at the end. It really didn’t register with me, since all through my amateur career I hit with those numbers, so it didn’t seem like a big deal after all." - Aaron Pointer, commenting on how he hadn't realized it was anything special to be the last .400 hitter in professional ball in the U.S.
Some see him as one of the least famous members of his family, as his sisters Anita, June, Ruth and Bonnie formed the band The Pointer Sisters. However, Aaron Pointer had a very interesting career in his own right - not only for his three years in the major leagues, and his many years as NFL head linesman, but also as the last professional ballplayer to hit over .400 in a full season U.S.-based minor league.
On September 27, 1963, he was part of an all-rookie lineup that was the youngest lineup in major league history, with an average age of 19. Joe Morgan, Rusty Staub and Jim Wynn all went on to great careers from that peach-fuzz group.
Pointer went to McClymonds High School, where he was not only a top basketball player but was also student body president. McClymonds - "Big Mack" - was famous for its tremendous athletes, such as baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson and basketball Hall of Famer Bill Russell. It is said that the "Pointer Brothers" were famous long before the Pointer Sisters, as Aaron's brother Fritz Pointer was also athletically gifted.
Pointer's father was a minister at the West Oakland Church of God, and the Pointer kids were all required to sing in the choir.
Pointer received a basketball scholarship to the University of San Francisco. Although he was also a pitcher on the baseball team, he came down with a sore arm and thus was used as a position player when he turned professional.
The Houston Colt .45s gave him a signing bonus of $30,000. His first year as a pro, the 1961 season, with the Salisbury Braves in the Western Carolinas League, turned out to be legendary, as he became the last professional ballplayer to hit over .400 over a full summer in the U.S. (Gary Redus would hit .462 for the Billings Mustangs in the Rookie Pioneer League in 1978 and numerous players have topped .400 in the AAA Mexican League). Pointer hit .402 that year; it's even more impressive as unlike the Mexican League or Pioneer League, the Western Carolinas League was not high-offense. Pointer beat out Ron Henson for the batting title by 56 points. In a late call-up to the Houston Buffs, he hit .375. He never hit .300 in any other season during the 11 years he would continue to play professional baseball.
In 1962, Pointer faded rapidly, managing only a .269 mark for the Durham Bulls and .219 for the Oklahoma City 89ers. The next year, 1963 Aaron hit .264 for the San Antonio Bullets with 18 homers and 85 RBI, earning him his first call-up to the majors and his appearance in the youngest major league lineup ever. He started the game in right field, the only time he would play the position during his major league career.
1964 marked another decline as he hit just .232 with 7 circuit clouts for San Antonio. In 1965, Pointer hit .255 with 18 HR for the Amarillo Sonics. He batted .277 with 10 homers for Oklahoma City in 1966 and got his second crack at the majors, hitting .345 in 26 at-bats and hitting his first career homer off Joe Nuxhall of the Cincinnati Reds on September 29th.
Getting his longest look at major league pitching with the Astros in 1967, Pointer only hit .157/.291/.257 though his career OPS+ in MLB was 90, as he played in a pitchers' park in a pitchers' era. He batted .267/~.354/.396 for the 1967 89ers.
In 1968, Aaron was traded in May for Byron Browne of the Chicago Cubs. Splitting the year between Oklahoma City and the Tacoma Cubs, the 26-year-old flyhawk hit .263 with 8 homers. In 1969, he completed his USA career by hitting .265/~.341/.371 and led the Pacific Coast League with 14 sacrifice flies. After the wild inconsistency of the early part of his career, he had been very consistent in his four years in AAA.
Pointer then went to the Nishitetsu Lions for three years in Japan. In 1970, he batted .230/.318/.437 but did crack 22 homers. He slipped from there, hitting only .186/.255/.355 in 1971 and .209/.264/.385 in 1972 to complete his NPB career at .230/.290/.405. Pointer hit home runs in two consecutive pinch-hit appearances in 1972; it would be 35 years before another Lions hitter (Hisashi Takayama) duplicated the feat.
He also was involved with the Pierce County, WA parks and recreation program for 29 years, and currently the Aaron Pointer Sportsmanship of the Year Award is given by Pierce County to a top athlete each year.
He once officiated an NFL game at which The Pointer Sisters sang the National Anthem.
"I tell kids this all the time. At some point in someone's life, even yours, there's going to be an opportunity. You've got to be prepared." - Aaron Pointer
His brother Fritz Pointer is a college English professor and author who has written a biography about the South African writer Alex La Guma.