MLB: 1961-63 (3 seasons)
Teams: Chicago Cubs
Position: Second base
Stats: 324 G, 1358 PA, 310 H, 14 HR, 98 RBI, 148 R, .247 BA, ROY (1962), Gold Glove
World Series appearances: None
Bottom line: They say only the good die young, and Ken Hubbs was one of the best. After becoming the first MLB rookie to win a Gold Glove in 1962, Hubbs died two years later at the age of 22 while piloting a plane during a snowstorm in Utah.
Many people believe Hubbs could have been one of the game's all-time great second basemen and a future Hall of Famer.
“Any athlete who ever played with Hubbs will dedicate the rest of his career to Ken,” said Ernie Banks, “because he was the zenith in inspiration and enthusiasm as well as desire and determination.”
Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray wrote: "Kenneth Douglass Hubbs was more than just another baseball player. He was the kind of athlete all games need. A devout Mormon, a cheerful leader, a picture-book player, blond-haired, healthy, generous with his time for young boys; he was the kind of youth in short supply in these selfish times.”
Billy Connors played against Hubbs’ team in the Little League World Series, then became his teammate and friend in the minors. Years later, Connors, a longtime major league pitching coach, reminisced, “I’ve seen a lot of professional players through the years, but I would describe Kenny as a perfect player. He had great talent, great makeup, an amazing will to win.”
Ken Hubbs might be gone, but he'll never be forgotten.