Dave Hansen

Dave Hansen didn't have time to shave.  He only had time to hit...once a game.

Why we like him: The coolest thing about Dave Hansen is that when you look at his career profile on Baseball Reference, his position is listed first as "Pinch Hitter" and then his defensive positions are shown.  I honestly can't remember a single defensive he play ever made. That's because David Andrew Hansen is a pinch hitter.  But he'll hit more than just pinches.  He'll hit anything.  However, that PH you'd see in the box didn't just stand for "Pinch Hitter."  I give you Dave Hansen: Professional Hitter.

Back in the late 90s/early 00s, Dave Hansen was a valuable weapon to have in your dugout late in a tight ballgame.  He was the ultimate role-player and had the ability to step out of the dugout ice cold and face some of the game's most effective relievers of that era.  He was never considered for the All Star team, and he was never even remotely close to an MVP race, but if I was putting together a team from scratch, I would want Dave Hansen in my dugout.  I especially wouldn't want to see him in the other team's roster.  Every time he emerged from the dugout, you just knew he was going to patiently wait for a pitch to hit, and then he was going to rip something somewhere.

Statistically, Hansen had a pretty lame career.  Sure, he was a .260 lifetime hitter and managed only 35 home runs in a 15-year career, but he never really amassed significant totals of anything simply because of his known prowess for pinch hitting.  His managers knew he was best used off the bench. He averaged just 1.5 at-bats-per-game-played if that tells you anything.  Hansen always made the most of his opportunities as a pinch hitter, though, and that is what made him such a cool player. In 1993, Hansen batted .362 in 105 at-bats and followed that up with a .341 average in 1994 in 44 at-bats. He was just a hitting machine that played the game one at-bat at a time.  After a .311 season in 1997 with the Cubs, randomly, he spent the 1998 season with our favorite Japanese team, the mighty Hanshin Tigers, before returning for a second stint with the Dogers in 1999.  He even co-owns the record for most pinch-hit home runs in a season, hitting 7 in 2000 with the Dodgers.  Despite the fact that he was a suspect fielder, it's amazing this guy was never given more opportunities as a starter.

Like many other players, Hansen spent the last few years of his career bouncing around the league from team to team, thankful for whatever at-bats he was given.  Will we ever see Dave Hansen in Cooperstown?  Definitely not, unless they open a wing of underappreciated pinch hitters, in which he'd be a charter member alongside Lenny Harris and Matt Stairs.  Until then I'll just remember the good times when Dave Hansen was wandering aimlessly through the Dodger dugout, happy-go-luckily pondering if he'd get a chance to bat against Robb Nen with a runner on second later that night.  And I like to think he did get that chance. And singled to left-center.  Because he's Dave Hansen: Professional Hitter.

Ladies and gentlemen, Dave Hansen, Ballplayer.

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