Paul Aloysius Hines (March 1, 1855 – July 10, 1935) was an American center fielder in professional baseball who played in the National Association and Major League Baseball from 1872 to 1891. Born in Virginia, he is credited with winning baseball’s first triple crown in 1878; the accomplishment was not noted at the time, as runs batted in would not be counted until years later, home runs were rare and home run leadership obscure, and Abner Dalrymple was then erroneously recognized as the batting champion. There is some controversy over whether Hines was also the first player to turn an unassisted triple play, since it was an 8-8-4 Triple Play.
Hines probably practiced with the original Washington Nationals or played on its junior team before joining the National Association with that club in 1872. When the original Chicago White Stockings resumed play in 1874, the teenage Hines played every game, usually in center field. He remained with the club four seasons, including the inaugural National League championship season of 1876, and then played eight seasons for the Providence Grays from 1878 to 1885, that club’s entire major league association including two more pennants. He remained an everyday major league center fielder through two seasons for a new Washington Nationals club and one for the Indianapolis Hoosiers, shifting to first base for a second Indianapolis season in 1889. He returned to center field with gradually declining playing time for the Pittsburgh Alleghenys, Boston Beaneaters and Washington Statesmen in 1890 and 1891. He finished his professional career splitting 1896 between Burlington, Iowa and Mobile, Alabama at age 41.
During the first five NL seasons, from 1876 through 1880, Hines had more base hits than any other player, and he retired third to Cap Anson and Jim O’Rourke with 1,884 career hits in the majors. He also remained among the top 10 major league career home run hitters as late as 1887. His total of 16 seasons as a major league team’s primary center fielder was not surpassed until Tris Speaker and Ty Cobb in 1925.
Hines died at age 80 in Hyattsville, Maryland, deaf and blind. His hearing had been impaired in the 1880s if not earlier.