December 17, 1934|
|Died: March 10, 2005
|September 14, 1958, for the Kansas City Athletics|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 21, 1960, for the New York Yankees|
|Runs batted in||50|
Kent William Hadley (December 17, 1934 – March 10, 2005) was a professional baseball player. A free-swinging first baseman, he played three years in Major League Baseball (1958–60) and six seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball (1962–67).
A year later he was the starting first baseman for the Kansas City A's. That December he was part of the trade that sent Roger Maris from Kansas City to the New York Yankees. He spent the 1960 season mostly on the Yankee bench, appearing in just 55 games and collecting just 70 plate appearances. The following year Hadley played for the minor league San Diego Padres (no relation to the later major league team of that name). In 1962 he went to play ball in Japan.
Hadley became the first foreigner to homer in his first at-bat in Japan. For the Nankai Hawks, Kent went deep off of Junichi Nakajima on May 1, 1962 in Heiwadai Stadium. Overall, Kent had an unimpressive season at the plate, hitting just .266/.296/.414. The Hawks brought him back in 1963 and he improved drastically, cranking out 30 long balls and batting .295/.341/.517 with 84 RBI. He made the Pacific League All-Star team and had his best season in Japan.
In 1964, Hadley hit .263/.328/.470 with 29 home runs and a league-high 99 strikeouts. He hit a dramatic game-ending game-winning home run in game 4 of the Japan Series that year, taking Minoru Murayama deep. The blow helped the Hawks to a 4-3 Series win over the Hanshin Tigers – it would be the last Japan Series title for Nankai.
As Nankai's 1B in 1965, Kent batted .239/.274/.492, again cracking 29 home runs and driving in 86 runners. His power began to fade the next season but he picked up his average as his line read .279/.340/.443 with 18 HR. In his final season for the Hawks, Hadley hit just .213/.266/.341 with 14 homers.
Hadley was born and died in Pocatello, Idaho.