Cecil Fielder

From Academic Kids

Cecil Grant Fielder (born September 21, 1963 in Los Angeles, California) is a former Major League Baseball player who was a popular slugger with the Toronto Blue Jays (1985-88), Detroit Tigers (1990-96), New York Yankees (1996-97), Anaheim Angels and Cleveland Indians (both in 1998). Fielder provided one of baseball's most stunning performances in 1990, becoming the first player to reach the 50-home run mark since George Foster slammed 52 for the Cincinnati Reds in 1977.

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Cecil Fielder

Cecil Fielder, built for power at 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, gained Detroit's attention by hitting 38 home runs in Japan's Central League in 1989. He was playing for the Hanshin Tigers, who had purchased him from the Toronto Blue Jays after the '88 season. A part-time first and third baseman for the Blue Jays, Fielder had batted 31 homers with 84 runs batted in in four seasons. With Toronto, he was making $125,000 per season. The Hanshin Tigers paid him $1,050,000, including a chauffeur and a full-time interpreter; but the big reason that Fielder went to Japan at age 25 was the opportunity to play every day. He became a hero to the local baseball fans that nicknamed him "Wild Bear" (wild, in Japan, is the image of power; bear, for his hulking presence).

Once again in the majors with the Detroit Tigers, Fielder, with his monster 51-homer, 132 RBI year in 1990, became the biggest story of this season - and perhaps the biggest bargain in the sport (he earned $1.25 million). On the last day of the Tigers' season at Yankee Stadium, Fielder hit his 50th and 51st home runs to become only the 11th player in ML history - and only the second in the last 25 years - to reach the select 50-HR plateau. It is not easy; among the 19 players who hit 500 or more career home runs, 12 never hit 50 in a season: Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Harmon Killebrew, Reggie Jackson, Willie McCovey, Eddie Mathews, Eddie Murray, Mel Ott, Rafael Palmeiro, Frank Robinson, Mike Schmidt, and Ted Williams. No Tigers player had turned the mark since Hank Greenberg slugged 58 in 1938. If someone like Killebrew, Jackson or Schmidt had put together a 50-homer season, no one would have been the least bit surprised. But Fielder, whose previous high season was 14 with Toronto in 1987, provide a sudden and unexpected emergence as a legitimate slugger, despite his economical resume with Toronto.

Over the rest of the 1990s, Fielder built a great reputation for hitting in the clutch and clearing the fence at any American League ballpark. His new fans nicknamed him again, this time as "Big Daddy", both for his big smile and for his peaceful temperament. Over the next few years he continued to pile up impressive power totals for a series of mediocre Tiger teams.

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Cecil Fielder

In his six-years tenure with Detroit, Fielder had a string of four 30-homer and 100-RBI seasons. The strike-shortened '94 season killed his hopes for a fifth consecutive, when he batted for 28 HRs and 90 RBI in 109 games. He became the only Tiger ever to hit 25-or-more homers for six straight seasons. No other player in Detroit history has hit as many over a six-year period (219), and no major league player had more home runs between 1990-95. In 1990, Fielder was the 4th American League player to have two 3-HR games in a season. During this period Rickey Henderson and Cal Ripken, Jr. narrowly edged him for the AL's MVP Award in 1990 and 1991, respectively.

Fielder was selected as an All-Star in 1990, 1991, and 1993. He was traded to the New York Yankees on July 31, 1996, and played for the Anaheim Angels and Cleveland Indians between 1997 and 1998, his last season as player.

In his career, Cecil Fielder batted .255, with 319 HRs, 1008 RBI and a .482 slugging average, and he also received 693 walks for a .345 on base percentage.

In October 2004, a story by The Detroit News printed an article that said that Fielder was suffering from extensive domestic and gambling problems. They referenced court documents from Fielder's divorce and a lawsuit brought against him by Trump Plaza Hotel and Casinos in New Jersey to outline Fielder's financial debts to various casinos, credit card companies and banks. Fielder later filed a libel suit against Gannett, parent company of The Detroit News, and the lead reporter, Fred Girard, accusing them of slander and defamation of character. The suit sought US$25 million in damages and fees.

Fielder's son, Prince, is a talented young first baseman who the Milwaukee Brewers selected in the 1st round of the 2002 amateur draft.

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