Former Giants, Cubs, Twins and Rangers pitcher Bill Hands and a 20-game winner for the 1969 Cubs, died Thursday, March 9 in a Orlando, Florida hospital after a brief illness at the age of 76.
William Alfred Hands was born May 6, 1940 in Hackensack, New Jersey and signed with the San Francisco Giants as an amateur free agent prior to the 1959 season. Hands started his pro career at the age of 19 in class D ball in Hastings, Nebraska in the Nebraska State League and worked his way up the big-league ladder. The right-handed Hands made his major league debut on June 3, 1965 in a Giants 10-3 loss to the Milwaukee Braves at County Stadium. “Froggy” as he was known to his teammates appeared in just four games as a San Francisco Giant before he was traded by the San Francisco Giants with Randy Hundley to the Chicago Cubs for Don Landrum and Lindy McDaniel in December 1965.
Bill Hands pitched for the Cubs for seven season posting a 92-86 record with a 3.18 ERA including a 20 win season in 1969. In November 1972 he was traded by the Chicago Cubs with Bob Maneely (minors) and Joe Decker to the Minnesota Twins for Dave LaRoche. Hands was not happy in Minnesota under the Calvin Griffith ownership team and requested to be traded but instead found himself waived by the team and claimed by the Texas Rangers in September of 1974 where he finished out that season and then again pitched for the Rangers in 1975 but suffered a back injury that essentially ended his career at the age of 35. In February of 1976 Hands was again on the move, this time traded by the Texas Rangers to the New York Mets for George Stone but as far as I know he never pitched pro ball again after his final big league game on August 10, 1975.
With baseball salaries being what they were back in the 1960’s, Hands started driving a fuel truck in Lyndhurst, New York during the off-season for what is now Keller Depken Oil. That planted the seed for a post-baseball job as an oil company salesman on Long Island, and eventually the service station that he ran in Orient, New York for a quarter century with his son Billy III.
So Orient was home, where he lived with his wife Sandra, after his first wife passed away. Besides his son, he also has two daughters (Heather, Heidi) and nine grandchildren.
Ex-Cub Bill Hands, 20-game winner in 1969, dies at 76 – Chicago Tribune obituary