Ronald Kenneth Hunt
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 186 lb.
- High School Ritenour High School
- Debut April 16, 1963
- Final Game September 28, 1974
- Born February 23, 1941 in St. Louis, MO USA
Ron Hunt had a decent batting average during the deadball era of the 1960s and 1970s, but he is most famous for getting plunked by the pitch. He led the National League in hit-by-pitch seven consecutive years from 1968 through 1974, and was second in the league in that category two other times. He was twice named to the All-Star team and was the first member of the New York Mets to be a starter in the game, being chosen the starting second baseman in 1964. He also was named the Montreal Expos Player of the Year in 1971.
Hunt's 50 hit-by-pitches in 1971 are the highest season total in the 20th Century, only trailing Hughie Jennings' 51 in 1896 on the all-time list. When Hunt posted his total, Jennings was credited with only 49 hit-by-pitches that season, meaning that Hunt was celebrated for a while as the all-time record holder. Years later, further research credited Jennings with two more instances in 1896, giving him back the record. But if Hunt had known the record would eventually be 51, he doubtless would have found a way to step into the path of a couple more curve balls to pass Jennings. That said, hit-by-pitch rates were much higher across major league baseball when Jennings set his record - in part because Jennings' Baltimore Orioles had adopted a deliberate strategy of seeking to be hit, so Hunt's totals are much more remarkable compared to those of his contemporaries.
In fact, Hunt’s 50 hit-by-pitches in 1971 stands out as one of the most impressive single-season records of all time. He was plunked by a pitch almost 15 times more often than a league-average hitter that season. Hunt would have had to hit an astounding 175 home runs in 1971 to exceed the league-average home-run rate by a similar multiple.
- 2-time NL All-Star (1964 & 1966)
- Gary Belleville: "Ron Hunt, Coco Crisp, and the Normalization of Hit-by-Pitch Statistics", Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Vol. 47, Nr. 2 (Fall 2018), pp. 32-39.
- Gary Belleville: "August 17, 1971: Expos, Padres brawl after Ron Hunt gets plunked in consecutive plate appearances," SABR Baseball Games Project.