Hank Foiles Passes Away

MLB Trade Rumors

Former All Star catcher Hank Foiles passed away late last month at the age of 94, as noted by various sources including Jami Frankenberry of The Virginian-Pilot. An veteran of 11 major league seasons, Foiles played for the Reds, Indians, Pirates, Athletics, Tigers, Orioles, and Angels throughout his time in the big leagues.

Foiles started his professional career at the age of 19 as a member of the Yankees organization back in 1948, but he didn’t make his big league debut for several years. He was selected in the 1951 Rule 5 draft by the Reds but didn’t make his big league debut with the club until 1953. He appeared in just 12 games at the big league level that season between Cincinnati and Cleveland and collected three hits across his first 20 major league at-bats. Foiles wouldn’t play at the big league level in 1954 but split time with Hal Naragon as the backup to five-time All Star Jim Hegan in 1955. In 132 plate appearances that year, Foiles hit .261 with a solid .354 on-base percentage.

Foiles would appear in just one more game with Cleveland before being traded to Pittsburgh during the 1956 season. Although he had a down season at the plate during his first year with the club, his years in Pittsburgh would prove to be the most significant of his career as he earned the everyday catching job for the Pirates in 1957 and 1958. Foiles made the lone All Star appearance of his career in 1957 when he combined his glove-first profile with above average offense to slash .270/.352/.431 in 109 games.

On the 1957 NL All Star team, he joined legends of the game such as Stan Musial, Frank Robinson, and Henry Aaron opposite AL legends like Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, and Ted Williams. Foiles pinch-hit in the bottom of the ninth inning with Willie Mays on third base and drew a wild pitch to score Mays and bring the NL within two before delivering a single against longtime White Sox ace Billy Pierce. Foiles later scored from second on a single by Ernie Banks, though the NL would go on to lose the game 6-5.

Foiles would remain in Pittsburgh for two more seasons following his All Star season, and though his offense took step backward with a .209/.314/.355 line between the next two campaigns, he nonetheless made 157 appearances and 402 trips to the plate across those two seasons. 1960 saw Foiles change organizations multiple times, as he was traded from the Pirates to the then-Kansas City Athletics during the 1959-60 offseason but appeared in just six games with the club before being returned to the Pirates. He was then traded to Cleveland to act as their back-up catcher before a late July deal sent him to the Tigers. He finished the 1960 season in Detroit but was selected in the Rule V Draft for the second time that November, putting him in five different organizations over the course of one calendar year.

Over the next two years, Foiles would find his groove at the plate again as a back-up catcher for the Orioles and Reds with a combined slash line of .275/.338/.482 across 43 games. Foiles found himself on the move again in 1963 when he joined the Angels, and he appeared in 45 games for the club over the next two seasons with a roughly league average slash line of .216/.289/.386. He played his final game in the big leagues just a month before his 35th birthday on May 2, 1964. A career .243/.321/.392 hitter who appeared in 608 big league games, Foiles tallied 353 hits, 46 home runs, and 166 RBI during a solid major league career.

We at MLBTR offer our condolences to the Foiles family and to his friends, fans, and others who are mourning him around the game.

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