Don Mincher

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Donald Ray Mincher

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Biographical Information[edit]

Slugging first baseman Don Mincher hit 200 home runs over a thirteen-year major league career. Following his playing career, he was a longtime minor league executive. Although a career .250 hitter, he posted a strong OBP of nearly 35 percent at .348.

Mincher turned down a football scholarship to the University of Alabama to sign with the Chicago White Sox in 1956. As he progressed through the minors, he showed power, hitting 23 homers for the Davenport DavSox of the Three-I League in 1958 and 22 for the Charleston ChaSox of the South Atlantic League in 1959. However, he would never see major league action with the Sox and was traded to the Washington Senators prior to the 1960 season.

Mincher made his big league debut with Washington on Opening Day 1960 but spent most of the summer with the minor league Charleston Senators. The next year, the Senators became the Minnesota Twins and Mincher hit just .188 for the club while playing the majority of the season in the minors. He stuck in the majors for good with the Twins in 1962, clubbing 17 home runs in part-time action for Minnesota in 1963. He saw more playing time in each season for the club and hit 22 as regular first baseman for the 1965 American League champions. He homered off Don Drysdale in his first World Series at-bat that fall, but Minnesota ended up falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games.

In the seventh inning of a game against the Kansas City Athletics at Metropolitan Stadium on June 9, 1966, Mincher was one of five Minnesota players to hit home runs (the others were Rich Rollins, Tony Oliva, Harmon Killebrew, and Zoilo Versalles). This still stands as the major league record of homers in an inning. Three of the home runs were hit off starter Catfish Hunter, the other two off reliever Paul Lindblad. However, Mincher hit just 14 homers that year and was dealt to the California Angels after the season was over as part of a trade for Dean Chance.

In 1967, Mincher had his finest big league season up to that point, hitting .273 with 25 homers and appearing in the All-Star Game. The next year, he dipped to .236 with 13 home runs and was subsequently selected by the Seattle Pilots in the 1969 expansion draft with their first overall choice. One of the woeful Pilots' best players, he hit 25 home runs in 1969 and was the club's lone representative in the All-Star Game.

Prior to the 1970 campaign, Mincher was acquired by the Oakland Athletics. He hit a career-best 27 homers for the A's that year but was traded to the Washington Senators early in the 1971 season. The Senators became the Texas Rangers in 1972, and after starting the year with the Rangers, he ended the season back with the A's. Oakland reached the World Series that year, and he got his final hit in Game Four of the Fall Classic. He retired following the season.

Mincher is the only player to play for both the original Washington Senators and the expansion Washington Senators, as well as both teams that they moved to become, the Minnesota Twins and the Texas Rangers. Additionally, he played for a third team, the Seattle Pilots, in its final (and only) season before relocating to a new city (but was traded before playing a game for the Milwaukee Brewers).

After his playing days, Mincher returned to his hometown of Huntsville, Alabama and managed a sporting goods store for about a decade before becoming General Manager of the Huntsville Stars in 1984. He then led a group that owned the club from 1994 to 2001. In 2000, he became President of the Southern League, a position he held until retiring in late 2011. He was elected to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. He passed away in early 2012 at age 73.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2-time AL All-Star (1967 & 1969)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 5 (1964, 1965, 1967, 1969 & 1970)
  • Won a World Series with the Oakland Athletics in 1972

Further Reading[edit]

  • Marc Z. Aaron: "Don Mincher", in Chip Greene, ed.: Mustaches and Mayhem, Charlie O's Three-Time Champions: The Oakland Athletics 1972-74, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2015, pp. 281-284. ISBN 978-1-943816-07-1
  • Marc Z. Aaron: "Don Mincher", in Gregory H. Wolf, ed.: A Pennant for the Twin Cities: the 1965 Minnesota Twins, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2015, pp. 159-163. ISBN 978-1-943816-09-5

Related Sites[edit]