Clint Hartung, "The Hondo Hurricane," dead at 87

Published Jul. 22, 2010 5:09 a.m. EDT

Clint Hartung, a one-time New York Giants prospect who scored as a pinch-runner on Bobby Thomson's 1951 pennant-winning homer, has died. He was 87.

A family spokesman says Hartung died July 8 in Sinton. No other details were available.

Nicknamed by New York sportswriters ''The Hondo Hurricane,'' the native of Hondo was once thought among baseball's top prospects on the mound and at bat.

Hartung's six-year major league career never took off as expected, however. The Giants shuffled him from pitcher to first base to the outfield in 1950, then he moved exclusively to the outfield the next season.


From 1947-52, he was 29-29 in 112 games, including 72 starts, with a 5.02 ERA. He had a .238 career average with 14 home runs and 43 RBIs.

His biggest moment came during a ninth-inning rally in the deciding Game 3 of the 1951 National League playoff against the Brooklyn Dodgers.

With one out, Giants second baseman Whitey Lockman doubled, sending outfielder Don Mueller from first to third. Mueller injured an ankle sliding into the base, and Hartung was inserted as a pinch runner. With Hartung on third and Lockman on second, Giants third baseman Thomson belted an 0-1 pitch off Dodgers reliever Ralph Branca for a three-run homer, a 5-4 win and the National League pennant.