Pretty Special: Coach Hinson’s Son Moniker Replaced by ‘John’s Daddy’
By MIKE MURPHEY
Roy Hobbs Baseball
No matter how far he advances in professional baseball, John Hinson will always remember the 2002 Roy Hobbs World Series. That was the year his dad, JD Hinson, playing for the Asheville Sox, brought John along on his annual trip to Ft. Myers.
“That year we won the 48s division,” JD recalls. “That was very exciting for me and for him.”
Since that time, John has had plenty of baseball triumphs of his own.
He was drafted by the Phillies out of high school, but opted for Clemson University where he had an outstanding career as a third-baseman, culminating with his being named to the All-College World Series team in 2010. The Phillies drafted him again following the 2010 season, but he decided to stay in school and finish his college degree, and this past summer, signed with the Houston Astros after they drafted him in the 13th round.
“Seeing my father as a player has influenced me tremendously,” John says. “There’s a big difference between seeing him as a player and seeing him as a coach. When he’s playing I can see such a burning passion for the game. When a coach tells you to ‘leave it all out there,’ well, you can only take that so far. But when you see someone exhibit those traits, and see how much they love the game by the way they play, well, that speaks volumes to me.”
JD Hinson played baseball in high school and then at Middle Tennessee State University. His brush with professional baseball was a scout for the Cardinals and then the Mets, but felt he needed to be home for his two daughters and son.
“My wife was an All-American basketball player in college,” he said, and we wanted our kids to have every opportunity they could in sports. So I started coaching at the high school level in 1976.”
Living in Asheville, NC, JD’s baseball teams included 3 state champions. Many of the kids he coached went on to play in college, and several had professional careers. He coached John in fall ball, and American Legion and through the experience, he said, “We grew very close, totally respecting and trusting each other.”
“Even without baseball, we’d still have a close relationship,” John says, “but the fact that we both share a love and passion for baseball definitely gave us a common ground to communicate with.”
He remembers a difficult time soon after he got to Clemson.
“I had a hard time transferring from the high school mind set to college,” he said. “I’d go home on weekends and talk to him about how mentally draining it was to deal with the pressure and expectations. But my dad was always positive. His attitude helped me then, and really shaped the way I transitioned to pro ball. His perception of the game and of life helped me succeed.”
And JD’s perception was shaped by playing the game, something that he says he will continue. He will manage and play for the Carolina Rockies in the Legends Division at the 2011 Roy Hobbs World Series.
“I think John’s proud that I still play,” he said. “And I’m proud of him. When he was young, people would see him and say, ‘That’s coach Hinson’s son.’ Now, they see me and say, ‘that’s John’s daddy.’ That’s pretty special for an old fart like me.”