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

Richard Francis Chiles was born November 22, 1949, in Sacramento California. 

Chiles is a relative of former New York Giants Hall of Famer, George "High Pockets" Kelly who played from 1915 -1932.

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.

MLB Career: 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.

Mets Career: 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.

Post Mets Career:
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.

Career Stats: 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: Chiles was a coach for the University of California, Davis in 1988. He then became a hitting coach for the A ball Carolina Mudcats in the early 90's. 

He later opened a hitting clinic in Woodland, California. As a youth, future Red Sox player, Dustin Pedroia would practice hitting at his facility. 

Most recently he lived in Yolo County, California.

Family: Chiles is a cousin of former New York Giants player High Pockets Kelly.


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