Ken Hill was one of the best pitchers in baseball in 1994, teaming up with Pedro Martinez on an Expos team that had the best record in baseball before the strike ended the season and forced the World Series to be canceled.
Twenty years later, Hill is back in the headlines for an entirely different reason: His son, Kenny, is the starting quarterback at Texas A&M — and one of the most talked-about athletes on the planet after throwing for nearly 300 yards in the first half Thursday night against South Carolina in his first career start.
Here’s what you need to know about Ken Hill Sr.
1. He Played at Division III North Adams State & Was Undrafted Out of College
Hill grew up in Lynn, Massachusetts and played at North Adams State, a small Division III school in the northwest corner of Massachusetts. The school is now called the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
He wasn’t drafted out of college, but signed with the Detroit Tigers as an undrafted free agent in 1985, a year after the team won the World Series.
2. He Pitched for 7 Teams During a 14-Year Career
Hill made his Major League debut in 1988 for the St. Louis Cardinals and pitched in St. Louis for four years before being traded to the Montreal Expos.
He pitched in Montreal for three years, joining forces with Martinez and Co. on a team that many believe would have won the World Series had the strike not forced the Series to be canceled for the first time in 90 years.
Hill went back to St. Louis for the 1995 season, but was traded to the Cleveland Indians during the season. With his career on the decline, he later pitched for the Texas Rangers (1996-97), Anaheim Angels (1997-2000), Chicago White Sox (2000) and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (2001).
3. He Was Traded for Andres Galaraga
The Cardinals traded Hill to the Expos in 1992 for All-Star first baseman Andres Galaraga — a sign of how highly the Expos valued Hill.
Galaraga, who ended up being a 5-time All-Star, played for St. Louis for one season before being unprotected in the 1993 expansion draft and signing with the Rockies. He won the National League batting title in 1993 and the NL home run title in 1996, both in Colorado.
4. In 1994, He Was an All-Star & Finished 2nd in Cy Young Voting
The best year of Hill’s career — and the best season in Expos history — came in 1994, when Hill went a career-best 16-5 with a 3.32 ERA.
Hill was named to the NL All-Star team and finished second to Greg Maddux in Cy Young voting while also finishing 12th in MVP voting.
The Expos went a Major League-best 74-40 and had a six-game lead over the Braves in the N.L. East when the strike forced Major League Baseball to cancel the rest of the season and the World Series.
5. He Pitched in the 1995 World Series for the Indians
Hill returned to St. Louis at the beginning of the 1995 season and had nowhere near the success he had the previous year. He was 6-7 with a 5.06 ERA when the Cardinals traded him to Cleveland for three prospects.
The trade, however, gave Hill a chance to pitch for a contender. He went 4-1 down the stretch as the Indians ran away with the A.L. Central and won two games on the Tribe’s run to the World Series, winning a game out of the bullpen against the Red Sox in the American League Division Series and pitching seven shutout innings in a win over the Mariners in the American League Championship Series.
He went 0-1 in 2 appearances in the World Series as the Tribe lost to the Braves in six games.