Vada Pinson was retired when this card was made. His last game was September 28, 1975. He was a good outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds in the early 1960s and came close to getting 3,000 hits for his career (he had 2757).
Vada Pinson was signed by the Cincinnati Redlegs in 1956. He played in the minors from 1956-1958. Vada batted .367 with 40 doubles, 20 triples, and 20 home runs for Class C Visalia in 1957 and .343 for AAA Seattle in 1958. He started the 1958 season with the Reds but was sent back down when he was batting .200 in mid-May. He was called up in September and batted .271 in 96 at bats for the Reds in 1958.
Pinson became Cincinnati's starting center fielder in 1959. He would hold that position until he was traded away after the 1968 season. Vada made the NL All Star team in 1959 (he appeared as a pinch runner in the second game) and led the NL with 131 runs scored and 47 doubles. Pinson batted .316 and also hit 20 home runs.
Vada led the NL in doubles (37) again in 1960 and batted .287 with 12 triples and 20 HR. He batted once and struck out in the first All Star Game and he walked in his only at bat in the second All Star Game.
Pinson's biggest year was in 1961. He finished third in MVP voting (behind teammate Frank Robinson and Orlando Cepeda of the Giants) and led the NL with 208 hits. Vada batted .343 with 16 HR and 87 RBI and won a Gold Glove award in the outfield. Pinson was only 2 for 22 in the 1961 World Series.
Vada had another nice year in 1962, batting .292 with 107 runs scored, 23 HR, and 100 RBI. He had a few "black ink" entries in 1963, leading the NL with 162 games played, 204 hits, and 14 triples. He batted .313 with 22 HR and 106 RBI in '63.
Vada's numbers were down in 1964. He batted .266 with 23 HR and 84 RBI and stole only 8 bases. In each of the previous five seasons Pinson had stolen at least 20 bases. In 1965 Pinson batted .305 with 22 HR, 94 RBI, and 21 stolen bases. Vada batted .288 in 1966 with 16 HR and 76 RBI. He led the NL with 13 triples in 1967 and batted .288 with 18 HR and 66 RBI.
Pinson's last year with the Reds was 1968. He batted .271 with 5 HR and 48 RBI in 130 games and missed three weeks in August with an injury. After the 1968 season Vada was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Bobby Tolan and Wayne Granger.
Vada played right field for the Cardinals in 1969. He batted .255 with 10 HR and 70 RBI. Pinson was traded to the Cleveland Indians for Jose Cardenal after the 1969 season.
Pinson had a good comeback season for the Indians in 1970. He started in right field and batted .286 with 24 HR and 82 RBI. In 1971 Vada stole 25 bases but his other offensive stats were down. He batted .263 with 11 HR and 35 RBI in 146 games. After the 1971 season Vada was traded with Alan Foster and Frank Baker to the Caliornia Angels for Alex Johnson and Jerry Moses.
Vada spent two seasons with the Angels. In 1972 he batted .275 with 7 HR and 49 RBI as the starting left fielder. Pinson started in LF again in 1973 and batted .260 with 8 HR and 57 RBI. He was traded to the Kansas City Royals for Barry Raziano and cash after the '73 season.
Pinson finished up his career with the Royals. He started in right field most of the time in 1974 and batted .276 with 6 HR and 41 RBI. Vada was a pinch hitter, DH, and extra outfielder in 1975 and batted .223 with 4 HR and 22 RBI in 103 games. The Royals released Pinson after the 1975 season. He was invited to spring training by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1976 but was released before the 1976 season.
Pinson coached in the big leagues for several teams after he was finished playing. Vada died of a stroke in 1995.
Here is a link to a SABR biography.
Liked to face: Jack Baldschun (.621 in 29 AB); Mike McCormick (.453 in 95 AB); Carlton Willey (.424 in 59 AB)
Hated to face: Bobby Shantz (.000 in 13 AB); Johnny Antonelli (.074 in 27 AB); Bill Hands (.140 in 50 AB)