Happy Pitchers & Catchers Reporting Day, Rangers fans!! And as a special treat, today we present you with the first of our “Where Are They Now?” series. Enjoy!
Where have you been Charlie Hough?
By the time I became a Rangers fan at the wee age of eight, I can remember Charlie Hough pitching for the team. He was always dominating the opposition by throwing that powering “dancing knuckleball” with his rubber arm.
Okay, maybe dominating and powering are not the correct words to use while describing Hough, but at least he powered through the majors until the ripe old age of 46.
On the little league fields of Pilot Point, TX, every kid warming up pretended to be Charlie while trying to master the art of throwing the knuckleball – not many succeeded though as balls went flying everywhere. And not many had the nerve to try it when they were actually on the mound- that goes for me as well.
Charlie Hough played with the Rangers for eleven years (1980-90) and he rewarded them with an All-Star appearance in 1986, as well as being their career leader in wins (139), strikeouts (1,452), and complete games (98). And fitting for a knuckleballer, he holds the Rangers record for most hit batters in a year with 19 – I bet the hitters were really upset when a 50 mph knuckleball drilled them in the back…or just tickled them.
Hough ended his 25 year playing career with 216 wins, 216 loses, 2,362 strikeouts, and 3.75 earned run average. He played his final year with the Florida Marlins in 1994.
In a great move by the Rangers in 2003, Charlie was inducted in the inaugural Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame class. There are currently 13 members which include Nolan Ryan, Johnny Oats, Fergie Jenkins, and Toby Harrah amongst others.
But what has Charlie been up to lately (that’s what this article is really about, right)? After countless hours of research, I’ve been able to catch up to him, and apparently after playing for all those years, he still hasn’t had enough baseball in his life. Here’s my Charlie Hough “after baseball” timeline:
- 1996-98: Pitching Coach for the San Bernardino Stampede (LA Dodgers Organization)
- 1998-99: Pitching Coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers
- 2000: Just hanging out throwing the knuckler to friends (or so I like to imagine)
- 2001-02: Pitching Coach for the New York Mets
- 2003: Pitching Coach for the Lake Elsinore Storm (San Diego Padres Organization)
- 2004-2005: Just hanging out watching Tim Wakefield throw knucklers (Duh…)
- 2006: Pitching Coach for the Fullerton Flyers (Independent Golden Baseball League)
- 2007-2010: Pitching Coach for the Inland Empire 66ers
Charles’s current role is with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a Senior Advisor for Player Developmet…hopefully, he is developing a few more knuckleballers – especially since Tim Wakefield just retired.
In regards to why the Dodgers drafted him, Hough said,
“I looked like a good hitter…I had a strange combination of talents – a home run hitter’s swing and no power. I was one of those players who would rip a little pop-up over second.”
In regards to learning the knuckleball,
“I couldn’t control it at all, but I couldn’t control my curveball all that well either” and “the reason I had started throwing the knuckleball was that I couldn’t get A-League players out with my fastball.”
One more Hough quote in regards to throwing the knuckleball,
“I throw ninety percent knuckleballs. The other ten percent are prayers. I probably could throw other pitches. The only reason I don’t is that I love pitching in the major leagues.”
Some more Charlie Hough randomness: Check out this highlight video circa the 70′s or 80′s.
It seems Charlie just can’t get enough of baseball and hopefully baseball doesn’t get enough of him.
Charlie Hough: Keepin’ it real since 1966.