Recently legendary WWE manager/commentator Bobby Heenan passed away.. He had been battling health issues for years..
Tonight, while looking on the Trading Card Database, I noticed another name, while not as known, still caught my eye..
Dave Hilton passed away on September 17th.
Hilton was a member of the Padres, actually a first round pick by them in 1971. In fact, he was a first overall pick in the January draft..
I have three cards of him.. The 1977 OPC card above, a 1977 Topps (and a Buyback), and a card from when he was in the Senior Professional League.
What's interesting is he never appeared in the Major Leagues for Toronto..
According to this article on SABR's Biography Project, he was told he made the team, but had to sign a contract first.. At the time, the Jays were using "split" contracts.. If you made the team, you got MLB pay... If not, you got MiLB pay. Hilton wanted a MLB only contract, but the team declined.. So he ended up in Toledo, a Cleveland farm team, while still contracted to the Jays (1977 the Jays didn't have a Triple-A team)
He went to Chicago in the Minor League Free Agent draft, but was approached to play in Japan.. He went to Japan for a few years since the money and playing time was better.
He retired after the 1982 season, but played in the Senior Professional League for the St Lucie Legends.
After his playing career finished, he went into coaching, managing three seasons in the Minor Leagues and coaching youth baseball.
It's an odd thing to write about, I know. I just thought it was interesting to see his name and find out he passed away..
Rest in Peace, Dave Hilton.