Melville native Terry Puhl excelled at a variety of sports, but it was his baseball skill that garnered the most attention. Puhl led Melville teams at the Sandlot, Bantam and Midget levels to four provincial championships. The 1971 Melville Lions bantam baseball team won the Western Canadian Bantam Championship and Terry was named MVP. In 1973, Terry led the Melville Elks midget team to the Canadian National Midget Championship and was again named MVP. Terry signed as a free agent with the Houston Astros in 1973, at the age of 17, and spent four years in the minor leagues prior to be calling up by the Astros.
Puhl got his first hit in the first game he started and followed it with 1,360 more in his career. Over 15 years, Puhl played in 1,531 games, had a lifetime batting average of .280, hit 62 home runs, batted in 435 runs and stole 217 bases. Injuries in 1985, 1986 and 1991 greatly reduced his impressive career statistics. Highlights of Terry Puhl’s career must include his selection to the National League (NL) All-Star Team in 1978, being named Canadian Baseball Player of the Year in 1981 and the Astros winning the 1980 NL West Division championship for the first time. Puhl set a NL championship series record that year by batting an incredible .526 in a losing cause. Terry was part of a nucleus of ball players that allowed the Astros to be a consistent contender during the late 1970s and early 1980s. But it is undoubtedly Terry Puhl’s impenetrable defence and undying work ethic that will be best remembered. Over thirteen full seasons, he maintained a fielding percentage of .993, making only 18 errors in 2,596 chances, the best average of any outfielder in baseball history. Puhl presently hold the record for most games played (1,531) and most hits (1,361) by a Canadian born baseball player. Puhl was inducted into the Saskatchewan sports Hall of Fame and Museum on June 18, 1994.
Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.
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