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Harold Abraham McRae (//; born July 10, 1945) is a former left fielder in Major League Baseball who played for the Cincinnati Reds (1968, 1970–72) and Kansas City Royals (1973–87). Utilized as a designated hitter for most of his career, McRae batted and threw right-handed. He is the father of former major league outfielder Brian McRae.
|Designated hitter / Outfielder / Manager|
|Born: July 10, 1945|
Avon Park, Florida
|July 11, 1968, for the Cincinnati Reds|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 17, 1987, for the Kansas City Royals|
|Runs batted in||1,097|
|Career highlights and awards|
McRae was selected by the Reds in the 6th round of the 1965 draft with the 117th overall pick. Then in the pre-1969 offseason, playing winter ball in Puerto Rico, McRae suffered a multiple leg fracture sliding on the basepaths. In the words of Bill James in The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, "Before the accident, McRae was a burner, a center fielder who could fly...after the accident, his speed was major league average." He was considered a below-average outfielder with the Reds.
In spring training 1969, McRae came to the Reds' camp with his leg still in a cast from the fracture. The same offseason, St. Louis Cardinals announcer Harry Caray had suffered multiple fractures being struck by a car while on foot. During a Reds-Cardinals preseason game where Caray was interviewing ballplayers on the field while still on crutches, Reds Manager Dave Bristol pointed in Caray's direction and said to McRae, "Look at that. There's an old man. Broke two legs. Broke his shoulder. Broke his everything. And here he is walking around doing his job, doing anything he wants. Here you are, all you did was break your leg sliding into second base, and you can't get your leg out of your goddam cast! You ought to be ashamed of yourself."
McRae later mentioned to Caray that it was "one of the best motivational speeches he'd ever heard. He learned that he had to want to recover before he'd really be able to." Later in his career, Royals teammate Dan Quisenberry recalled, whenever a Royals player took time off because of injury, "McRae gets dressed like a commando, hides in a trash can in the clubhouse, and then jumps out and 'shoots' the guy...McRae believes that if a guy is hurt and can't play, he's dead to the club, so McRae shoots him and kills him."
In 1972, McRae was traded to the Royals along with Wayne Simpson in exchange for Roger Nelson and Richie Scheinblum. McRae developed as a consistent designated hitter in the American League. His playing career spanned 23 years, including 14 seasons with Kansas City. He was selected a three-time All-Star, he hit over .300 six times for the Royals and was named Designated Hitter of the Year three times both by The Sporting News and the Associated Press.
In 1976 McRae was on top of the AL batting title race going into the final game of the season, in which his teammate George Brett went 2-for-4 to clinch the title over McRae by a margin of less than .001; McRae finished second. Oddly, the other two of the top four finishers that season, the Minnesota Twins' Rod Carew and Lyman Bostock, played in that same game.
After his recovery from the leg fracture, McRae became known as "the most aggressive baserunner of the 1970s," as quoted by James, "a man who left home plate thinking 'double' every time he hit the ball...he taught the younger players and reminded the veterans to take nothing for granted, and to take no prisoners on the bases." In game four of the 1980 World Series, McRae twice turned a seemingly routine single to center field into a two-base hit. McRae played hard—so hard, in fact, that the rule requiring a runner to slide into second base when breaking up a double play is still referred to as the Hal McRae Rule in honor of the man whose cross-body blocks into second base broke up a lot of double plays and second basemen at the same time.
In a 19-year major league career, McRae posted a .290 batting average (2091-for-7218) with 191 home runs, 1097 RBI, 484 doubles, 65 triples and 109 stolen bases in 2084 games played. He added a .351 on-base percentage and a .454 slugging average for a combined .805 OPS.
Following his playing retirement, McRae managed the Royals (1991–94) and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (2001–02). He also served as hitting coach for the Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, and St. Louis Cardinals. McRae, who won a World Series ring playing for Kansas City against the Cardinals in 1985, won a ring as a coach for the Cardinals when they defeated the Detroit Tigers in the 2006 World Series, four games to one.
|Team||From||To||Regular season record||Post–season record|
|W||L||Win %||W||L||Win %|
|Kansas City Royals||1991||1994||286||277||.508||—|
|Tampa Bay Devil Rays||2001||2002||113||196||.366|
- List of Major League Baseball annual doubles leaders
- List of St. Louis Cardinals coaches
- Holy Cow! - Harry Caray with Bob Verdi. Publisher: Villard Books, 1989. Format: Hardcover, 252 pp. Language: English. ISBN 0-394-55103-6
- The ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia – Gary Gillette, Peter Gammons, Pete Palmer. Publisher: Sterling Publishing, 2005. Format: Paperback, 1824pp. Language: English. ISBN 1-4027-4771-3
- The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract - Bill James. Publisher: Free Press, 2001. Format: Paperback, 1014 pp. Language: English. ISBN 0-7432-2722-0
- Baseball Confidential - Bruce Nash and Allan Zullo. Publisher: Pocket Books, 1988. Format: Paperback, 224 pp. Language: English. ISBN 0-671-65832-8
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Managerial career statistics at Baseball-Reference
- Baseball Reference (Minors)
| Tampa Bay Devil Rays Bench Coach