|Organization:||University of La Verne (CA)|
Acclaimed as one of the sport's elite hitting instructors, Ben Hines has enjoyed tremendous coaching success for nearly 50 years, first in the collegiate ranks and later at nearly every professional level.
After graduating in 1958 from what was then La Verne College, Hines spent time in minor league baseball. In 1960 he returned to his alma mater, where he served as a coach and a member of the faculty for two decades. He transformed the Leopards baseball program into a national power, winning more than 500 games and guiding teams to the postseason every year from 1968-80. When La Verne rejoined the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 1971, Hines' teams went 137-25 in conference play and won eight SCIAC titles.
Under Hines, La Verne advanced to the NAIA World Series five times, winning 17 of 25 games. The 1972 team went 5-0 at the World Series including a 4-1 victory over David Lipscomb (Tenn.) in the championship game, garnering the university's first national title in any sport. That club finished 44-9 overall (11-1 in postseason play) and featured two All-Americans and five All-Tournament Team honorees.
In all, Hines sent 63 of his La Verne players into professional baseball.
From 1978-82, Hines managed the Alaska Goldpanners summer team in Fairbanks, posting a 195-93 record. His 1980 team finished 43-9 and won the NBC National Championship, a club some have said was the most talented non-professional team ever assembled. Hines earned the NBC Manager of the Year award that season.
Hines left La Verne following the 1980 season and joined the coaching staff at Arizona State University. His first year in Tempe the Sun Devils went 55-13 and set team records in batting average, RBI, runs scored and slugging percentage while winning the College World Series.
After two seasons at ASU, Hines moved up to the Major Leagues, working for the Mariners, Angels, Dodgers and Astros organizations. He served on the Los Angeles Dodgers staff from 1985-86 and 1988-93, initially as a batting instructor and later as first base coach. Those Dodgers teams won 90 or more games three times, captured two division titles, one National League crown and won the World Series in 1988.
Hines has written about, given clinics on and developed videos dealing with the science of hitting. In 1985, he and Bob McBee put together "The Swing's the Thing," a book focusing on the specifics of body position, movement and bat techniques involved in hitting. And noted author and baseball historian Roger Kahn, in his 2000 book "The Head Game: Baseball Seen from the Pitcher's Mound," cited past research by Hines on the study of the curve ball in relationship to hitting.
In 2007 Hines received the Alumnus of the Year Award for Service to Profession, which is presented annually by La Verne University's Alumni Association Governing Board, recognizing a La Verne graduate's achievements and contributions to his/her chosen field.
Hines is also a member of the La Verne Athletics Hall of Fame and the Bob Elias Kern County Sports Hall of Fame.