Sunday, July 14, 2019

Jack Hiatt (#419)

Jack Hiatt was a C/1B who played for 9 seasons (1964-72), five of them with the Giants.

He was signed by the Los Angeles Angels in 1961 and played in their farm system from 1961-64 as a catcher and outfielder. Jack made his major-league debut with the Angels in September 1964.

After the season he was traded to the Giants for outfielder Jose Cardenal. (D'oh! Another fleecing of the Giants' front office!) For most of 1965-66 he played for the Giants’ AAA teams in Tacoma and Phoenix, but also played a few dozen games with the Giants.

Hiatt made the majors to stay in 1967.  With rookie catcher Dick Dietz joining the team to back up Tom Haller, Hiatt only started 3 games behind the plate, but started 31 games at 1st base to give Willie McCovey some rest.

Haller was traded to the Dodgers after the season so Hiatt was elevated to #2 catcher in 1968, starting 56 games (with Dietz starting 80 and Bob Barton (of 1972's "In-Action" card fame!) picking up the other 27 games).

This arrangement continued in 1969 with the Dietz/Hiatt/Barton trio starting 69/57/33 games.

On Opening Day 1970 he was sold to the Expos. Jack played 17 games (10 starts) with Montreal, then was traded to the Cubs for outfielder Boots Day in mid-May.

He played 66 games (58 starts) for the Cubs in his only season with Chicago. He was the starting catcher every day from May 16th to July 3rd (except for the 2nd game of doubleheaders) while Randy Hundley was out of the lineup.

Before the 1971 season he was sold to the Astros. Jack started 57 games that season as Johnny Edwards’ backup.

In July 1972 he came full-circle back to the Angels.  He played 22 games (10 starts) with most of his starts coming in September.

Hiatt was released during Spring Training in 1973, and played that season with the Padres’ AAA team in Hawaii. He also played for the Cubs’ AAA team in 1974, and for 1 game in 1975.

He was a minor-league manager for 5 different teams off-and-on from 1977-88.

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