Is that Yogi Berra standing behind Ron Hunt at the batting cage? Nope - Yogi didn't join the Mets as a player-coach until 1965. According to this fine website, that's probably catcher Chris Cannizzaro. If Chris isn't careful, he could get brained by Ron's backswing!
Fun facts about Ron Hunt:
-A St. Louis, MO native, Ron signed with the Braves as a teenager in 1959.
-The Mets purchased his contract from Milwaukee before the 1963 season and made him their starting second baseman. He responded by hitting .272 and leading the team with 64 runs scored and 28 doubles to finish second in Rookie of the Year balloting to Pete Rose.
-In 1964, Hunt avoided the sophomore jinx by being tabbed as the Mets' first All-Star Game starter. He batted a team-high .303.
-After a second All-Star selection in 1966 (.288 AVG), Ron was shocked when the Mets traded him to the Dodgers. He spent a single year in L.A. before moving on to the Giants.
-Chances are good that you only know the name "Ron Hunt" in conjunction with being hit by pitches. Indeed, he led the league in HBP for seven consecutive years, including a modern record of 50 in 1971! He was quoted as saying, “Some people give their bodies to science; I give mine to baseball". He retired with a modern-record 243 plunks, though Don Baylor, Craig Biggio, and Jason Kendall have since passed him.
-Hunt spent nearly four years at the end of his career with the Expos, peaking with a .309 average and .418 on-base percentage in 1973, his penultimate season.
-He struck out very seldomly - 382 times in 6,158 plate appearances and never more than 50 times in a year. His 19 whiffs in 486 trips to the plate in 1963 set a record low for the Expos franchise.
-Though he was just 33 in 1974, the end came quickly for Ron. He was waived by Montreal in September despite a .268 average (he hadn't hit a single home run in three years) and claimed by his hometown Cardinals, but hit just .174 for them in a dozen games. The following spring, the Cardinals released him before breaking camp.
-In parts of twelve seasons, he was a .273 hitter with a .368 on-base percentage, 39 homers, and 370 RBI.
-Ron's post-baseball career took him back to the St. Louis area, where he became a rancher.