Dec 13, 2015

Short Time 1973 N.L. Champion Mets Outfielder: Rich Chiles (1973)

Richard Francis Chiles was born November 22, 1949 in Sacramento California. The blonde haired blue eyed outfielder was drafted by the Houston Astros in the second round of the 1968 draft.

The five foot eleven outfielder was promoted to AAA Oklahoma City by 1969. In 1970 he batted .304 there with 24 doubles & 11 triples.

Chiles made his MLB debut at Wrigley Field in Chicago on April 15th, 1971 going 0-1 for the Astros as a pinch hitter. He was hitting well at the end of July, batting .343 when he started to see more playing time. In August he got to play in twenty games and drove in eight runs, but his average fell to .245 by the end of the month. He saw more action as a pinch hitter, where he set an Astros team record with 11 pinch hits. On the season he played in 67 games batting .227 with two HRs five doubles & 15 RBIs. He was back in the minors at AAA Oklahoma City in 1972 batting .263 with 7 HRs & 44 RBIs getting a September call up for nine more games.

In November 1972 he was traded to the New York Mets, along with Buddy Harris in exchange for 1969 World Series hero Tommie Agee. Chiles came out of Spring Training 1973 hopeful to get a chance as the Mets starting centerfielder behind the aging Willie Mays. But he was also fighting against Cleon Jones, Rusty Staub, Ed Kranepool, Don Hahn, George The Stork Theodore, & youngster Dave Schneck. Chiles made his Mets debut in the third game of the season, batting in the seventh position playing centerfield going 0-4.

He played in centerfield for eight brief games that April. His biggest day came at Shea Stadium on April 22nd in the second game of a double header, in a 13-3 Mets romp over the Montreal Expos. Chiles was 2-5 with an RBI double off former Mets prospect Steve Renko, scoring Ed Kranepool. Chiles would play only one more game for the Mets, it was in Houston on that same road trip. He was then sent down to the minors to play in the Pacific Coast League. With the Mets he hit only .120 (3-25) & was released in April of the next year.

He would play briefly for the Astros again in 1976, before getting drafted away as Rule V player in December. He then spent two seasons in Minnesota with the Twins batting .264 with 3 HRs & 26 RBIs playing in a career high 108 games. In 1978 he batted .268 as the Twins fourth outfielder behind Dan Ford, Glenn Adams & Hosken Powell. Chiles then played in the AAA Pacific Coast League through 1980.

In a six year career he hit .254 lifetime with 157 hits 6 HRs 37 doubles 2 triples & 76 RBIs in 284 career games.

Retirement: After his playing days he opened a hitting clinic in Woodland, California. As a youth future Red Sox player, Dustin Pedroia would practice hitting at his facility.

No comments: