MLB All-Star Ron Hunt (1960-61) returns to Perfect Game Field tonight

Major League All-Star Ron Hunt (1960-61) is returning to Perfect Game Field tonight along with his fellow Cedar Rapids Braves teammates Larry Huebner (1959-61), Barry Morgan (1961) and Paul Snyder (1959, 1961).  They are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their 1961 season here in Cedar Rapids when the team finished 2nd with a 73-57 record under manager Jimmy Brown. The Cedar Rapids Braves alumni will be involved in pregame festivities and will be signing autographs on the concourse during the game.

Ron Hunt played here in Cedar Rapids in 1960 and 1961. Hunt hit .191 with 3 HR and 33 RBI in 1960 as the Braves finished 71-69 under manager Jimmy Brown. He returned in 1961 and had a great season batting .295 with 16 HR and 25 doubles in 121 games.

Ron Hunt went on to a 12 year MLB career playing for the Mets, Dodgers, Giants, Expos and Cardinals. He finished 2nd to Pete Rose in the National League Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .272 with 10 HR 42 RBI for the Mets in 1963. He led the Mets in hits (145), Batting average, doubles (28), and runs scored (48) playing for Casey Stengal.

Hunt hit the first extra base hit and score the first Mets run at Shea Stadium when it opened. He was the first Mets player to be selected to the All-Star game when he hit .303 with 6 HR and 42 RBI in 1964. The honor was even more special as the game was the only All-Star game to be played in front of the home town Mets fans at Shea Stadium. He was also selected to the 1966 National League All-Star squad.

Ron Hunt was well known for being hit by pitches. He held numerous records for the stat when he retired after the 1974 season. He was also known for being very difficult to strike out. Hunt only struck out 382 times in 6158 plate appearances. He walked 555 times and was hit by a pitch 243 times for comparison. He led the league sevenstraight years in HBP from 1968-1974.

Paul Snyder (1959, 1961) spent 50 years working in the Braves system on and off the field. He hit .362 with 1 HR and 2 doubles in 15 games in 1959. He returned to hit .310 with 14 HR and 19 doubles in 126 games for the Cedar Rapids Braves in 1961. Snyder posted a .318 batting average, 60 HR and 102 doubles during his 7 year minor league career.

Snyder managed the Greenville Braves in 1963, the Sarasota Braves in 1964 and 1966, the Binghamton Triplets in 1965, the Magic Valley Cowboys in 1970 and the Greenwood Braves in 1972. In 1973, Snyder joined the Braves front office as the assistant minor league administrator prior to taking the reins of the Braves player development system in 1977.

Snyder’s efforts as the Braves’ scouting director (1981-90, 1999-2000), assistant to the General Manager (1991-95, 2001-06), and director of player development (1977-1980, 1996-98) played an integral role as the Braves dominated the National League in the early 1990’s and won the World Series in 1995. He retired following the 2007 season. Baseball America named him one of the top 25 people in baseball in the publications 25th Anniversary issue in 2006.

Larry Huebner (1959-61) played three season in Cedar Rapids starting in 1959. Huebner saw limited action in both 1959 and 1960. He returned in 1961 to post a 12-5 record and a 3.50 ERA starting 24 games for the Cedar Rapids Braves. Huebner finished his 5 year minor league career with a 46-27 record and a 3.88 ERA reaching as high as the AAA level playing for Oklahoma City.

Barry Morgan (1961) hit .289 with 23 HR and 20 doubles in 130 games for the 1961 Cedar Rapids Braves. Morgan hit .267 with 165 HR during his 12 season minor league playing career reaching as high as AAA playing for the Toledo Mud Hens in 1969 and 1970.

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