James Hines earns 400th career win at ELAC without recognition

By Dan Gudino

Better late than never. Almost a year ago, on April 29, 2016, East Los Angeles College baseball head coach, James Hines, captured his 400th career victory.

It was the last day of the season. ELAC was not going to make the playoffs for the second straight season, but if there was a silver lining to a distasteful season, bringing it back to life was an accomplishment of this magnitude.

The 11-9 victory over Pasadena City College that day at Husky Field, went into the record books as another win, no mention of history being made.

On Tuesday (4/4/17), after a 3-1 loss to Mount San Antonio College, I spoke with Hines about his accomplishment. His response was as blunt as it gets.

“I don’t care about that. It’s all about this one. We let this one get away,” said Hines, as he sat on the right-end of the dugout, trying to get an emotional response from his players. He said it loudly, on purpose, so his players could hear, taking his eyes away from me towards his players. He meant business as his players swept the dugout doing mandatory post game chores.

The world of junior college baseball is not for the faint of heart. It’s a grinding chore, back breaking and you never stop churning. Fall ball in September, leads straight into winter workouts, as the regular season starts in late January for most teams.

50 scheduled games, winter ball and regular season combined.  Include playoffs, the simulated games played during practice, and some individual players play in their own summer leagues, all combined, now you’re up to 100 plus games.

That’s over 60 percent of a Major League Baseball season, which has 162 regular season games.

Coach Hines should have been acknowledged, just as the great “Coach Alto” (John Altobelli) of the Orange Coast College Pirates did for his 600th win in Feb., in the fourth game of the season. Alto was showered with a five-gallon Gatorade bucket, on a cloudy Costa Mesa afternoon, and not to rain on Alto’s party, but Hines deserved his acknowledgement too.

Blame poor record keeping from ELAC Athletics Department.

It took about three hours of research to find out exactly how many wins ELAC accumulated in the 19 seasons Hines has been head coach.

Through the ELAC Campus News web archive, the CCCAA and the CCCBCA we compiled over 20 pages of notes, news clippings and overall records, through the years of 1999 to 2017.

Total: 414 wins. 

Upon further review and after, well over 10 times of adding numbers, we came up with 414 wins as of today (4/6/17).

ELAC Campus News reported news of Hines’s 400th win as a gross factual error, this was totally my fault. I reported the 400th win was against Compton.

ELAC athletic staff has been notified. Athletic Director Al Cone who coached Hines in 1992 and ’93 as a pitcher, texted me saying, he really cares about getting his former assistant coach honored for his service.

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