MLB Baseball – Mike Hargrove
Born: October 26, 1949
Place of birth: Perryton, Texas
Memorable Moments: All-Star (1975) 1974 AL Rookie of the Year
When the average baseball fan thinks of Mike Hardgrove, they may remember his as the 1974 Rookie of the Year, or the 1975 all star team.
More than likely people tend to remember him as the “Human Rain Delay” for his lengthly and memorable plate appearances. Many players adjust their batting gloves or helmet between pitches.
Hardgrove adjusted the gloves, pants, helmet, cleats, and gloves again. This drove pitchers crazy.
However, mention Mike Hargrove to a Mariners fan and you will get a single response.
From a young age, Hargrove’s life was centered around sports.
From a student at Perryton High School in Texas to a college student at Northwestern Oklahoma State University Mike showed competence in basketball, football as well as baseball, but getting the opportunity to play semi-pro baseball for the Liberal Bee-Jays was enough to propel him into a lifelong career in the sport.
Although Hargrove was not a highly rated prospect, drafted in the 25th Round (527th overall) in 1972, his unique approach gave him the ability to give good at-bats and get on base.
In his first major league season he would hit .323 and walk away as the first Texas Ranger to win the rookie of the year award.
Hardgrove would go on to play for the Padres before finishing up his career in Cleveland.
Playing the majority of his career at first base, one would expect him to fit the profile of a power hitter; however Hargrove was the master of small ball, ending his career of 12 with only 80 long balls but 965 walks and an average of .290.
Hargrove would go on to manage taking over his former team as the skipper in 1991. In his 9 years with the organization he would lead the team to five consecutive 1 place finishes in their division and 2 World Series appearances. (both losses).
After his tenure in Cleveland Hargrove became manager for two more clubs, Baltimore and the Seattle Mariners.
There is a lot of speculation as to pass over what Hargrove’s relationship was like with Seattle Superstar Ichiro Suzuki.
He once referred to Ichiro as a little leaguer and ultimately left the Mariners in the middle of the 2007 after an 8 game winning streak in to manage for free with his former semi pro club, the Liberal Bee Jays.
The M’s finished that season 2nd place in the AL West and have not ranked that high since he left.
His record in Seattle as manager is 192–209, including a 93 loss season record in 2005.
To this day Hargrove insists his sudden retirement had nothing to do with his Ichiro, but to this day no one in Seattle believes him.
Hargrove currently works as a special consultant for the Indians often working in the broadcast booth.