On this Date in 1964: Ken Hubbs dies in a plane crash


Cubs second baseman Ken Hubbs was known for his solid glove.

In his rookie season of 1962, the 20-year-old racked up a then-MLB record 78 games and 418 chances without an error. That effort earned Hubbs a Gold Glove Award, making him the first-ever rookie to claim the prize. He was also steady at the plate that season, hitting .260 with 24 doubles. He received 19 of 20 NL Rookie of the Year votes to easily take home that honor. Though his numbers dipped the following season, he was still viewed as a solid player who would stick with the Cubs for a long time.

Ken Hubbs was also known for his fear of flying, which he was afraid would hinder his career as a professional athlete. Ron Santo discussed it in his autobiography, Ron Santo: For the Love of Ivy.

To overcome his fear, Hubbs decided to tackle it head-on. The infielder learned how to fly a plane and earned a pilot’s license in the winter prior to the 1964 season. On Feb. 12, 1964, he planned to fly his friend Larry Doyle from California to Provo, Utah, to surprise Doyle’s wife who was visiting her mother.

A snowstorm came across Utah the morning of the 13th, but Hubbs and Doyle decided to go anyway in the second baseman’s Cessna 172. Just minutes after the plane took off from Provo Airport, it crashed into a nearby lake. Two days later, the plane was found, and both men were dead. Hubbs was just 22 years old.

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