August 11, 1938|
|Died: October 21, 1995
|April 15, 1958, for the Cincinnati Reds|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 28, 1975, for the Kansas City Royals|
|Runs batted in||1,170|
|Career highlights and awards|
Vada Edward Pinson, Jr. (August 11, 1938 – October 21, 1995) was an American professional baseball player and coach. He played as a center fielder in Major League Baseball for 18 years, from 1958 through 1975, most notably for the Cincinnati Reds, for whom he played from 1958 to 1968. Pinson, who batted and threw left-handed, was primarily a center fielder who combined power, speed, and strong defensive ability.
Pinson was born in Memphis, Tennessee and his family moved to California when he was a child. He was a graduate of Oakland's McClymonds High School, attended by Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder Frank Robinson (a Pinson teammate in the major leagues for nine years), star centerfielder Curt Flood and Basketball Hall of Fame center Bill Russell. He appeared in 2,469 games for the Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians, California Angels, and Kansas City Royals, notching 2,757 hits and finishing with a career batting average of .286, with 256 home runs and 305 stolen bases.
After just two minor league seasons and still only 19 years old, he earned a spot on the Reds' 25-man roster out of spring training, making his major league debut on April 15, 1958 against the Philadelphia Phillies at home in Crosley Field. Batting second and starting in centerfield, Pinson had one hit in five at-bats, his first hit a single off future Baseball Hall-of-Famer Robin Roberts. Three days later, in the Reds' next game, he hit his first home run, a grand slam off Pittsburgh Pirates' starter Ron Kline at Forbes Field.
With the Reds, Pinson twice led the National League in hits (1961, 1963), doubles (1959, 1960), and triples (1963, 1967). He batted .343 in 1961, when the Reds won the NL pennant, but mustered only a .091 (2 for 22) average in the 1961 World Series, which Cincinnati lost to the New York Yankees in five games.
Highly respected throughout the game, he was later a coach for the Seattle Mariners (1977–80; 1982–83), Chicago White Sox (1981), Detroit Tigers (1985–91), and Florida Marlins (1993–94) after his playing days ended. He coached on the inaugural editions of two expansion teams, the Mariners (1977) and the Marlins (1993).
Pinson retired from baseball after the 1994 season. On October 5, 1995, he was admitted to an Oakland hospital after suffering a stroke. He died on October 21, 1995. He was interred at Rolling Hills Memorial Park, Richmond, California. He was survived by three daughters Valerie, Kimberly and Renee, son Vada Pinson III, and four grandchildren.
- List of Major League Baseball career home run leaders
- List of Major League Baseball career hits leaders
- List of Major League Baseball career doubles leaders
- List of Major League Baseball career triples leaders
- List of Major League Baseball career runs scored leaders
- List of Major League Baseball career runs batted in leaders
- List of Major League Baseball career stolen bases leaders
- List of Major League Baseball annual runs scored leaders
- List of Major League Baseball annual doubles leaders
- List of Major League Baseball annual triples leaders
- Eastham, Cliff. "Vada Pinson, the Most Underrated Baseball Player Ever". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
- Vada Pinson at Find a Grave