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Thursday, November 18, 2021

Chris Hill liked starting games, gave chance to be hero; Saw nine seasons, made AAA

Columbia Mets starter Chris Hill earned a spot on the 1989 South Atlantic League All-Star team and he told The State in Columbia that he enjoyed that role much more than relief.

"I've got the stamina to be a starting pitcher," Hill told The State. "It's a lot more fun. There's more to the game than just coming in for just one or two innings. You've got the chance to go out and be the hero if you have a good game."

Hill ended up going out there over nine seasons largely spent as a starter. He eventually made it up to AAA, but he never got a chance to start in the majors.

Hill's career began in 1988, taken by the Mets in the 42nd round of the draft out of Duncanville High School in Texas.

Hill started with the Mets at short-season Little Falls. He went 5-5 over 13 starts, with a 3.06 ERA. He then moved to Columbia for 1989, where he went 11-7, with a 3.04 ERA.

Hill started 25 games at St. Lucie in 1990 and went 9-8. That September, he went 8.2 innings in a playoff win. After giving up an early run, his manager credited a transformer blowing and an 18-minute blackout with getting Hill through, The Palm Beach Post wrote.

"I think that helped Chris," manager Tim Blackwell told The Post. "After that blackout, he was dominating."

Hill stayed with the Mets one more season, seeing AA Williamsport. The team then released him out of spring training

Hill then signed with the Astros and played the year at high-A Osceola. He went 16-7, with a 2.93 ERA.

"I think it was more or less the change that helped me," Hill told The Orlando Sentinel of his success that July. "There are no bad feelings. I just think it was best for me. It gave me more confidence that somebody wanted me."

Hill moved to AA Jackson for 1993 and turn reliever. He saw 58 games and started three, with a 3.86 ERA. He returned to Jackson for 1994.

He played 1995 with the Red Sox and got 10 outings at AAA Pawtucket. He went 2-3, with a 6.10 ERA. 

He also saw AA Trenton and high-A High Desert with the Orioles, independent Mobile and Lubbock. Hill last played in 1996 at independent Tennessee.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,784
Made the Majors:1,277-33.8%
Never Made Majors:2,507-66.2%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:526
10+ Seasons in the Minors:313

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