Steve Hinton (Australia)
Steven Hinton (The Mouse)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 165 lb.
Hinton hit just .212/.268/.375 in the 1989-1990 Australian Baseball League, the circuit's first year of operation. The teenager was with the Brisbane Bandits, with whom he would spend nine seasons. In the 1990-1991 season, he hit .279/.336/.356. Hinton kept on improving; in the 1991-1992 Australian Baseball League, his batting line was .291/.361/.488. He tied for 4th in stolen bases (20) and tied Brian Kowitz for third in runs (41), while being named the second-team All-Star SS behind Richard Vagg.
In the 1992-1993 season, The Mouse batted .234/.263/.364 in an off-year, but he bounced back in 1993-1994, hitting .303/.362/.526. During the 1994 Baseball World Cup, he hit .429/.455/.714 while manning third base for the Aussies; Omar Linares beat him out for the tournament All-Star team. Hinton also made his only appearance in a US-based league that year, hitting .251 and slugging .298 for the Duluth-Superior Dukes with 3 triples.
In 1994-1995, Hinton was dominating, batting .403/.466/.771 with 46 runs in 45 games. He failed to get enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title, or he would have beaten out Dave Nilsson. He won the Gold Glove Award for the 1994-1995 ABL and was named the first-team All-Star SS.
Hinton remained hot in the 1995-1996 Australian Baseball League, hitting .363/.395/.568 and tying for fifth in batting average. He again won the league-wide Gold Glove Award and was again the first-team All-Star SS. In the 1996 Olympics, Hinton batted .308/.379/.423 with seven runs in six games but made four errors for a .852 fielding percentage.
Hinton struggled in 1996-1997, hitting only .237/.333/.320. He was back in form in 1997-1998. That season, his batting line was .375/.414/.726. In 50 games, he scored 53 times, drove in 63 and smashed 20 home runs. He was 4th in the ABL in average behind Brendan Kingman, Adam Burton and Greg Jelks, led in hits (78), was third in RBI (trailing Ronny Johnson and Kingman) and tied Scott Tunkin for 3rd in runs (behind Burton and Kingman). On January 4, he entered the record books by smashing four home runs in a game. The little shortstop was the only player in ABL history with a 4-homer game. He drove in eight runs in the game, tying the ABL record held by Paul Gonzalez and Pete Beeler. He was the second-team All-Star SS to Ben Utting.
Hinton was one of 15 players to play in each of the ABL's 10 seasons. He was one of two regular shortstops with a career average over .300 (Matthew Buckley was the other). He hit .304 overall with a .509 slugging percentage in 413 ABL games. He was 15th in ABL history in average (one point behind Buckley and one ahead of Kingman), 8th in games played, 4th in at-bats (1,465), third in runs (298, trailing Andrew Scott and Johnson), 4th in hits (446), 5th in RBI (268), 5th in doubles (82), tied with Jason Hewitt for second in triples (14, trailing Vagg), tied for 9th in home runs (63), 5th in total bases (745), 20th in slugging, third in steals (87, trailing Peter Hartas and Peter Vogler) and 7th in steal percentage (78.4). He failed to make the top 20 only in walks and OBP.