December 9, 1930|
Laurens, South Carolina
|Died: April 25, 1992
Columbia, South Carolina
|Batted: Left||Threw: Right|
|September 8, 1955 for the Cincinnati Redlegs|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 28, 1958 for the Detroit Tigers|
|Runs batted in||37|
|Career highlights and awards|
Robert Sydney "Hurricane" Hazle (December 9, 1930 – April 25, 1992) was an American professional baseball player. He was an outfielder over parts of three Major League seasons (1955; 1957–1958) with the Cincinnati Redlegs, Milwaukee Braves and Detroit Tigers. Hazle was a member of the 1957 World Series champion Braves. For his Major League career, he hit .310 with 9 home runs and 37 runs batted in in 110 games played.
Hazle was born in Laurens, South Carolina. He batted left-handed, threw right-handed, and was listed as 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and 190 pounds (86 kg). He attended Wofford College and signed with Cincinnati in 1950.
'Hurricane Hazle' helped Braves win 1957 pennant
Hazle debuted with the Redlegs late in the 1955 season, but made no impression. He then was traded with Corky Valentine to the Milwaukee Braves in return for George Crowe the following spring, but did not appear in the big leagues. Playing for the Triple-A Wichita Braves, he was hurt and reportedly considered quitting the sport.
Hazle is best remembered for his meteoric 1957 performance. He was promoted from Wichita only after outfielder Bill Bruton suffered a season-ending knee injury, and did not play until the Braves' 100th game.
In less than three weeks, from August 9 through August 25, Hazle batted .473 with 5 home runs and 19 RBI in 14 games, a sudden burst of unexpected offense that earned him the nickname "Hurricane." The original Hurricane Hazel had struck the coast of Hazle's home state, South Carolina, in 1954.
The first-place Braves swept the second-place Cardinals on August 9–11, which went a long way towards sealing the National League pennant for Milwaukee; the first two games of the series were blowouts, and Hazle had seven hits and five RBI. He batted a torrid .556 in his first dozen games. For the season, Hazle batted .403 in 41 games, with 7 home runs and 27 RBI. On the next-to-last day of the season, Hazle broke up a no-hit bid by Cincinnati's Johnny Klippstein with a two-out, eighth-inning single.
Hazle appeared in four of seven World Series games that year, hitting an ineffective .154 for the champion Braves. However, both of his Series hits came in the seventh and deciding game; Hazle scored the first run in a 5–0 victory. Despite having had just 134 at-bats, Hazle finished fourth in the 1957 NL Rookie of the Year voting.
After a bad start in 1958, he was traded to Detroit. After a stint in the minors, he retired in 1960.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference