Juan González (baseball)

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This article is about the Puerto Rican baseball player. For other uses, see Juan González (disambiguation).
Juan González
Outfielder
Born: (1969-10-20) October 20, 1969 (age 44)
Vega Baja, Puerto Rico
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 1, 1989 for the Texas Rangers
Last MLB appearance
May 31, 2005 for the Cleveland Indians
Career statistics
Batting average .295
Hits 1,936
Home runs 434
Runs batted in 1,404
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Juan Alberto González Vázquez (born October 20, 1969 in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico), is a former Major League Baseball right fielder. Juan González developed into one of the most prolific RBI men to anchor a lineup since World War II. A full-time player at the age of 21 and a two-time MVP before his 30th birthday, González explained his propensity for bringing runners home simply by saying, "I concentrate more when I see men on base." One of the premier run producers and most feared hitters of the 1990s, González averaged 37 HR and 117 runs batted in per season between 1991 and 1999. He won the AL MVP award twice in that time span, 1996 and 1998. Gonzalez was known as a screaming line drive hitter, not a majestic fly-ball hitter as many HR hitters of the '90's.[1]

Personal life[edit]

González has been married four times. He was married to Puerto Rican volleyball player Elaine López, sister of fellow major leaguer Javy López, during the early 1990s. This marriage broke down when a local newspaper released a cover photo of singer Olga Tañón kissing González during a concert in San Juan. A scandal followed, with González divorcing Elaine López and marrying Tañón, who said she had no idea González was married to Lopez when she kissed him. González and Tañon had a daughter together, Gabriela González Tañón, in 1998. González and Tañon divorced less than two years later. His daughter later became one of only fifty people in the world (and the first Puerto Rican) ever to have been diagnosed with Sebastian syndrome, a mild blood clotting disorder.

González has a friendship with George W. Bush which began when González debuted with the Texas Rangers who at the time were owned by Bush.[2][3] [4] Gonzalez stated that "a friendship that goes beyond baseball was created between them" and during his time in office Bush invited González to the White House twice.[5] The first of reunions took place on April 16, 2001 and the second on December 3, 2007; in this reunion he was accompanied by historian Luis Rodriguez Mayoral.[6] The discussion lasted thirty-five minutes and involved Gonzalez's future in the Major Leagues and other baseball related topics, as well as the happenings of their respective careers.[5] During this visit to Washington, D.C. Gonzalez was also involved in a meeting with Rudy Giuliani and a visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in order to visit Puerto Rican soldiers that were injured in the Iraq War.[7]

After being divorced three times, Gonzalez stated in a 2007 interview that his personal life was now in order. "I'd rather have health and my family, my relationship with God than money", he said. "How many people who can buy whatever they want have committed suicide? God is first, then your kids, your family, good health."[8]

Biography[edit]

González grew up in a rough area of Puerto Rico, where he learned to hit bottlecaps and corks with a broomstick handle in the Alto de Cuba barrio.[citation needed] In the Puerto Rico youth league, González batted cleanup behind future Yankee center fielder Bernie Williams, where both competed against González's future teammate Iván Rodríguez.[9] When the Yankees scouted Williams, eventually signing him, they declined to pursue González, who they perceived as not serious about baseball.[10]

The Texas Rangers signed González as an amateur free agent on May 30, 1986, at the age of 16. Juan has always wanted to serve as a role model for the kids of Puerto Rico, as they are faced with the downfalls of drugs and prostitution frequently. Gonzalez avoided such temptations growing up. His father, a math teacher, and mother, a housewife, made sure Gonzalez and his two sisters behaved properly and stayed away from negative influences. Gonzalez moved his family out of the barrio early in his MLB career. He paid utility bills for down-on-their-luck friends and plans on working to construct recreation facilities and a baseball diamond in his home town. One of Juan's managers, Johnny Oates, believed that until you've walked where Juan Gonzalez has walked, you just won't understand. Speaking from experience, as Oates has walked the streets of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, during visits multiple times, he had this to say: "I don't think you can appreciate how far he's come until you've been there", Oates said. "We might be making choices between going to the movies or going to the skating rink. But look at the choices the kids there were faced with growing up – do you want to do drugs or get beaten up? I think it says so much about him that he was able to rise above the peer pressure in Vega Baja. He had enough intelligence to say, 'I don't want to do that.'"[11]

In Puerto Rico he is known as "Igor", the nickname he has carried since he was a nine-year old fascinated by the professional wrestler "Igor the Magnificent." "I watched wrestling all the time and I still like it", Gonzalez said. "One day when I was nine, I told another guy, 'I'm Igor.' And he said,'Okay, your name is Igor from now on.' And I've been Igor since then."[12]

Career in the major leagues[edit]

1986–1990: minor leagues[edit]

González debuted with the 1986 GCL Rangers and finished with .240 batting average, .303 on-base percentage, and a .266 slugging percentage in 60 games. He only had five extra-base hits (none of them home runs) in 233 AB and struck out 57 times. He tied Harvey Pulliam by grounding into a Gulf Coast League-leading 9 double plays.

In 1987, González showed some improvement with the Gastonia Rangers, though Mark Whiten and Junior Felix were deemed better outfield prospects in the South Atlantic League. In ratings by Baseball America, Gonzalez tied Ryan Bowen for 10th place on the prospect listing. He finished with .265 AVG, .306 OBP, and .401 slugging percentage with 14 home runs and 74 RBI.

Gonzalez spent 1988 with the Charlotte Rangers and batted .256/~.327/.415 with 8 home runs in 277 AB. One of his outfield teammates that year was Sammy Sosa. The next year, he showed more improvement with the Tulsa Drillers hitting .293/~.322/.506 with 21 home runs and led the Texas League with 254 total bases. He outhomered Sosa by 14 and was third in the League in home runs, behind teammate Dean Palmer (25) and Chris Cron (22). Gonzalez was rated the league's No. 4 prospect by Baseball America, behind Ray Lankford, Andy Benes and José Offerman. Lankford and Warren Newson joined him in the TL All-Star outfield. He was called up by the Texas Rangers in September of that year, but only hit .150/.227/.250. During his time with the Rangers that year, Gonzalez only hit 1 HR. That HR was the first HR ever hit by a teenager (19 yrs old) for the Rangers.

In 1990, González – playing with the Oklahoma City 89ers – led the American Association in home runs (29), RBI (101) and total bases (252). He made the AA All-Star outfield alongside Lankford and Bernard Gilkey and was named the league MVP. Baseball America named him the top prospect in the league in a poll of managers. He finished with .258/~.343/.508 for the 89ers. In the AAA All-Star Game, González hit 4th for the AL prospects and played as a designated hitter. He went 2 for 5 with a double, one of the game's two homers, two runs and two RBI in the AL's 8–5 loss. González was again called up by the Rangers and did far better this time, batting .289/.316/.522.

1991–1999: Glory days in Texas[edit]

In 1991, Texas gave their highly touted prospect a chance to be an everyday player. González didn't disappoint, batting .264 while jacking 27 HR and driving home 102 men. González came up as a center fielder, as did teammate Sammy Sosa; but the Rangers opted to keep González and trade Sosa. Gonzalez split his time in the OF between CF (93 games) and LF (92 games). González thrilled the club in his first full season at the young age of 21, as his 27 HR's led the Rangers. His 102 RBI was good enough for 2nd on the club, and 7th in the AL. Two of those HR's were Walk-Off's for the young González. The first coming off Steve Searcy and the Tigers on May 15, the second off Rick Honeycutt and the Athletics on October 6.

In 1992, Juan improved by leaps and bounds. He finished with a .260 batting average, 43 HR, and 109 RBIs. Juan spent most of his time in CF in '92, playing 123 games there, 31 in LF and making just one appearance in RF, while DH-ing 4 games. Juan was the American League home run champion (one more than Mark McGwire) while also ranking 3rd in TB (309), 4th in Extra Base Hits (69), 5th in SLG (.529%), 7th in RBI (109) while winning his first Silver Slugger award. Winning the HR Crown at the age of 22 made him the youngest player to lead the majors since Johnny Bench in 1970.

In 1993, González broke through to true stardom. He led the AL for the second consecutive year with 46 bombs, while raising his batting average an impressive 50 points to .310, all this to go along with a league-leading slugging percentage of .632%. That production garnered González an invite to his first All-Star team. During the 1993 All-Star Weekend, he participated in the only Home Run Derby of his career. Juan and Ken Griffey, Jr. put on an amazing display of raw-power, as they each golfed 7 homers a piece. Gonzalez, however, wowed the national audience even more, becoming the first player to hit a homer into the facade of the upper deck in left field (estimated 473 feet) at Oriole Park at Camden Yards and the green wall behind the center-field fence (estimated 455 feet).[1] Gonzalez then defeated Griffey in a winner-take-all playoff for the individual Home Run Derby title, 5–4. When asked about the title, Gonzalez responded: "It was very exciting to surprise everybody. I never thought in my mind that I'd win the Home Run Derby. I even surprised myself."[12] Juan also finished fourth in voting for the 1993 AL MVP and earned his second consecutive Silver Slugger award.

In 1994, the Rangers moved from Arlington Stadium to The Ballpark in Arlington. González batted 19 home runs in 1994 due to injuries, but belted 27 home runs in 1995, in just 90 games.

From 1995 – 1998, González was an RBI machine, averaging more than an RBI per game (514 RBI, 511 G). This made him the first player since World War II to drive in a run per game for any four-year period. He won two MVP awards in this stretch (1996 and 1998). The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract listed him as the player who had the highest ratio of slugging percentage to on-base percentage in baseball history at that time, ahead of Dave Kingman and Tony Armas and 4th in RBI per game by an outfielder (behind Sam Thompson, Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth). James also ranked González as the 52nd-best right fielder in baseball history as of mid-2000.

In 1996, González had one of his best seasons hitting .314 with a .643 slugging percentage. He edged Alex Rodríguez by one first-place vote (11–10) and 3 award points (290–287) in a very close vote to win the American League MVP.[13] He won his third Silver Slugger as an outfielder and was second in the AL in slugging (87 points behind McGwire). Was selected to the Associated Press Major League All-Star Team and The Sporting News A.L. All-Star squad at season's end. González was also named the Puerto Rico Pro Athlete of the Year by Associated Press and the DFW Metroplex Pro Athlete of the Year by the Dallas All Sports Association. He received the honorable selection of American League Player of the Month in July, leading the majors in batting (.407), homers (15), rbi (38), slugging (.917) and total bases (99). González was also the A.L. Player of the Week for July 29 – August 4. González had a pair of 21-game hitting streaks, June 25 – July 19 and August 8–31, matching the 3rd longest hitting streaks in team history with Mickey Rivers (1980) being the only other Ranger with 2 20-game hitting streaks in the same season. On July 30, González went 5–5 vs. New York, a career best and tied the club record for hits in a game. González was also chosen as a member of the Major League Baseball All-Star Team that traveled to Japan for 8-game exhibition series in November, batting .500 (10–20) with one homer and 3 rbi in 7 games.[14] That year, the Texas Rangers made the playoffs, and in the 1996 American League Division Series, González homered five times in four games and batted .438/.526/1.375 with 9 RBI. Texas ended up losing in four games to the New York Yankees. González tied Jeffrey Leonard's 1987 NLCS record by homering in four straight post-season games and joined Reggie Jackson and Ken Griffey, Jr. as the only players to hit five home runs in a single post-season series.[9] Combining the regular season and postseason, González hit .315 with 52 home runs, 153 RBIs, and .664 slugging percentage in 1996.

In 1997, González batted .296/.335/.589 as a DH-RF for the Rangers, winning his fourth Silver Slugger. In 133 games he was 4th in slugging, 6th in total bases (314), third in homers (42) and RBI (131), 10th in extra-base hits (69) and tied for 6th with 10 sacrifice flies. González missed the first month of the season and was not activated from the DL until May 2 due to a torn ligament in his left thumb. Despite the injury he still managed to earn American League Player of the Month honors in September (.337, 10 hr, 26 rbi) and was the Rangers Player of the Month in both August and September. González was selected to Baseball America's American League All-Star Team.

In 1998, he reached the 100 RBI mark before the All-Star break (101), being the first player (and still most recent) to do so since Hank Greenberg 63 years earlier.[9] He hit cleanup for the AL in the 1998 All-Star Game and decisively won the AL MVP award. González was 10th in the 1998 AL in batting average, second in slugging, fourth in OPS, 6th in hits (193), 4th in total bases (382), first in doubles (50), tied for fourth in home runs (45), first in RBI (157) in 154 games, tied for 8th in OPS+ (149), second in extra-base hits (97), tied for third in sac flies (11), tied for sixth in intentional walks (9) and tied for third in double plays ground into (20). In April, he drove in 35 runs, a major league record for the month that still stands today. González produced the 5th season ever of at least 50 doubles and 40 home runs. González started 115 games in right and 36 as the dh.

Became the 1st 5-time winner of the Rangers Player of the Year Award and was also named as the A.L.'s Most Valuable Player by USA Today and USA Today Baseball Weekly. González was selected to major league all-star teams selected by the Associated Press (of) and Baseball America (dh) and to the Sporting News A.L. all-star squad (of). He was named as an outfielder on the A.L. Silver Slugger Award team for the 5th time in his career, his 3rd consecutive year. González shared Rangers Player of the Month honors with Iván Rodríguez in April and won the award outright in May. González also received the American League Player of the Week, for August 31 – September 6. He received 21 of 28 1st place mvp votes and 7 2nd place votes for 357 total points to defeat Boston's Nomar Garciaparra, who had 5 1st place votes and 232 points. Juan also became the 1st native of Latin America to ever win multiple mvps since the award was instituted in 1931. This award also made him the 16th player to capture 2 mvps in a 3-year span. The Rangers reached the playoffs, only to be swept by the Yankees. The Rangers offense was miserable in the Division Series, scoring just one run on a Pudge Rodriguez single that knocked in Juan (who had doubled to lead off the inning).

In 1999, he was 9th in the AL in average, 4th in slugging, 6th in OPS, 10th in runs (114), 6th in total bases (338), 6th in home runs (39), 5th in RBI (128), 7th in extra-base hits (76) and 2nd in sacrifice flies (12). However, he and the Rangers wound up being swept for the second consecutive year by the Yankees in the Division Series. Juan wasn't able to do much in the 3-game series, hitting .182/.250/.455 with 1 HR, but, Juan's solo bomb was the only run the Rangers scored in the series.

González announced just before the 1999 All-Star Game that if the fans did not elect him to the starting lineup, he would refuse an invitation to be added to the roster (as a result he was not invited). Gonzalez believed that the system was flawed, he thought managers and players should vote for the starters, not the fans. A few weeks later Gonzalez didn't dress for the Hall of Fame exhibition game because (according to the media) the uniform pants the Rangers brought for him were too large. Gonzalez later had this to say about the incident "I couldn't play because my right wrist was sore. The pants they gave me were size 40. I wear 34. They were clown pants."[15]

González's four-year peak aligned with the first three post-season appearances in the Rangers' franchise history.

Many years later, in June 2013, he would be invited to the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame to honor him for his success in this period. However, he declined the invitation.[16]

2000–2001: Detroit and Cleveland[edit]

Following the 1999 season, with one year left on his contract, the slugger was traded by the Texas Rangers along with Danny Patterson and Gregg Zaun in a blockbuster nine-player deal with the Detroit Tigers for Frank Catalanotto, Francisco Cordero, Bill Haselman, Gabe Kapler, Justin Thompson, and Alan Webb. He became the first two-time MVP to be traded since Dale Murphy was sent from Atlanta to Philadelphia in 1990. Detroit Tiger general manager Randy Smith was paying a high price for Gonzalez by trading six young players, but he couldn't pass up on acquiring Gonzalez, who he referred to as "a two-time MVP and future Hall of Famer", even though Gonzalez would more than likely be a one-year rental (and was).

Gambling that they would be able to extend his contract past the 2000 season, the Tigers reportedly offered Gonzalez an eight-year, $140 million contract soon after the deal was struck. Gonzalez refused, which turned out to be the bigger gamble. He began the season badly, hobbled by foot pain and unable to adjust to the spacious dimensions of Detroit's new Comerica Park, where the left-center field fence stood nearly 400 feet from home plate. By mid-season he had announced that the Tigers would have to bring the fences in if they wanted to re-sign him as a free agent.

Detroit shopped Gonzalez before the trading deadline, but a deal that would have sent him to the Yankees for outfielder Ricky Ledée and two minor leaguers was scuttled when the outfielder made it clear that he didn't want to play in New York. The Puerto Rico native stumbled through the rest of the season and saw his production dip to an all time low (22 HR, 67 RBI in 115 games). After missing the last weeks of the 2000 season, he was granted free agency on November 1.

On January 9, 2001, he signed a one-year $10 million contract with the Cleveland Indians. Gonzalez opened the season with a great start, batting .388 (40–103) with 9 homers and 32 RBIs in season's first 25 games through May 2. Gonzalez completed the first half on a torrid pace. He was voted in as an All-Star starter and batted 5th in the 2001 All-Star Game. Gonzalez hit .347 with 23 HR 83 RBI in 79 games (.640 SLG% / 1.031 OPS%) in the first half.

He appeared to be on his way to easily capturing the RBI title, but an RBI drought at the end of the season (0 RBI in last 10 games) allowed Bret Boone to pass him by one. Gonzalez hit over .300 in each of season's 1st 5 months before dropping to .299 for the month of September. His top months were .387 (36–93) in April and .356 (26–73) in July. Gonzalez was hitting as high as .360 on June 5, then went 17–64 (.266) in next 17 contests, dropping to .338 through June 26. Had a .351 (73–208) mark in next 56 games and was at .344 overall, 2nd in the A.L., through September 9. After this he hit just .130 (6–46) in final 13 games, going 3–34 (.088) in last 10 contests. Gonzalez was hitless in his final 15 trips after his single on September 24. Despite his cold streak over the last week and a half of the season, he still finished with a .325 BA /.370 OBP/.590 SLG% and an 147 OPS+ close to his MVP seasons. He also won his sixth Silver Slugger and finished fifth in MVP voting. His .325 average was one point shy of his career high (1999) and marked his 5th .300 season, 3rd in the last 4 years.

He was sixth in the 2001 AL in batting average, 5th in slugging, 6th in OPS, 9th in home runs (35), second in RBI (140, (in 140 games) one behind leader Bret Boone),8th in OPS+, tied for third in double plays grounded into (18) and led the league with 16 sacrifice flies. Gonzalez was also a 2nd team selection on Baseball America's Major League all-star squad and was named as the Indians player of the year by Baseball America. This proved to be the last season in which Gonzalez averaged an RBI a game. Although Gonzalez finished the regular season rather slowly, he showed up in a big way in the playoffs where he hit .348 BA/.348 OBP /.739 SLG for Cleveland in the Division Series with 3 doubles, 2 homers and 5 RBI in 5 games. Despite this Cleveland still fell in defeat.

Gonzalez had a season best 15-game hitting streak from August 29 – September 19 at .345 (20–58) and hit safely in 10 straight games from April 17–27. Gonzalez also had a 4 hit game April 11 at the Chicago White Sox. Gonzalez batted .368 (43–117) vs. left-handers, 3rd best in the A.L. and had a .335 (53–158) mark with runners in scoring position, the 8th highest. As the DH, he hit .392 (31–79), this was the highest average in A.L. among players with 35 or more DH at bats, with 8 homers and 33 rbi in 21 games.

Through 11 full major league seasons ('91-2001), González had 392 homers and 1263 RBI, an average of 36 homers and 115 RBI per year. Juan's 1263 RBI total was the most in MLB in during that time frame by 40, despite having 1,000 less Plate Appearances than #2 man, Jeff Bagwell

2002–2003: Return to Texas[edit]

On January 8, 2002, González made his return to Arlington by signing a two-year $24 million contract with the Texas Rangers. He hit .282/.324/.451 (94 OPS+) the first year in 70 games. On June 18, he participated in the first MLB game ever with four players with 400+ home runs to that point. Rafael Palmeiro and Fred McGriff joined Sosa and Gonzalez, which Texas lost to the Chicago Cubs 4–3. His first season back in Arlington he had a .358 (29–81) average versus Lefties and hit .328 (21–64) with runners in scoring position while posting a .307 mark(42–137) in Arlington. He hit just .171 (6–35) with 2 homers and 4 RBI as the DH. He had Texas' only hit, a leadoff double in the 8th, off Cory Lidle on July 19 at Oakland.

In 2003, Gonzalez started the first few weeks rather slowly. He had a .230 average with 4 homers and 8 RBI in his 1st 18 games through April 20. He quickly picked it up though and went on a .349 (29–83) tear with 9 homers and 24 RBI in his next 21 games, improving to .293 by May 5. As of May 7, Gonzalez was tied for the Major League Lead in HR with 12. He followed that up by going just 8-for-39 (.205) in his next 9 games, falling to .276 through May 25. He started a hot streak yet again though by hitting .321 (42–131) with 10 homers and 36 RBI in the next 34 games. But his season was cut short by a tear in his calf muscle on July 19. At the time, Gonzalez was hitting .294 and ranked 3rd in HR (24) 4th in SLG% (.572) and 7th in RBI (70) in the AL. Gonzalez was on pace to recapture his 2001 Indians form, but the tear lingered and the injury proved to be the end of his season.

Gonzalez hit 2 homers in a game 4 times: April 5 vs. Seattle; April 29 and May 1 at Toronto and July 10 against Minnesota. Juan's 47 career multi-homer games are 12th most all-time. He also hammered 5 homers in 3 games, April 29 – May 1 at Toronto, the 4th time in Rangers history that feat had been accomplished. He had a season best 5 RBI on April 29 at Toronto and drove in 4 runs in a game on 3 occasions. Gonzalez had 18 RBI in a 9-game span, April 22 – May 1, including 10 in 3-game series at Toronto, April 29 – May 1. He was selected as A.L. co-player of the week for April 28 – May 4. He also had a season high 9-game hitting streak, June 3–17.

He started 57 games in right field and 24 games as the designated hitter. He did not make an error in 108 total chances in the outfield and was tied for 6th in the league in outfield assists (10), despite his short season. He ranked 5th on the club in home runs (24), and completed his 11th season with 20 or more home runs. The Rangers, however, preparing for a youth movement and on October 26, 2003, he was granted free agency.

Statistics[edit]

2003 2003*
Games 82 138
Batting Average .294 .294
Home Runs 24 40
Runs Batted In 70 118
Hits 96 162
Runs Scored 49 83
On Base Percentage .329 .329
Slugging Percentage .572 .572
* indicates projected stats over entire season.

2004 to 2008: Ending of MLB Career[edit]

On January 6, 2004, González was signed by the Kansas City Royals. However, his back worsened during in the middle of May and his season came to an end. He ended up hitting .276/.326/.441 in 33 games. His $4.5 million deal was one of the largest on the club so on October 28 of the same year, the Royals granted free agency.[17]

He was signed by the Cleveland Indians for the 2005 season, and was activated in May. Despite a thorough workout regimen, Gonzalez suffered a major hamstring injury (he tore his right medial hamstring totally off the bone at the knee joint) in his first plate appearance of the season while running out a grounder. This put him out for the season after just one at-bat.

González signed on with the independent Atlantic League in 2006, playing for the Long Island Ducks. He hit .323/.377/.515 in 36 games, with 6 HR and 23 RBI. His time was again limited by injuries.

The St. Louis Cardinals invited Gonzalez to spring training prior to the 2008 season.[18] He was one of 26 non-roster invitees, participating in full roster workouts that began on February 19, 2008.[19] He hit .308 with a .462 SLG% in spring training with 1 home run, 1 double and 5 RBI in 9 games. However, he was put on the inactive list with an abdominal strain and he returned to Puerto Rico with an invitation to rejoin the Cardinals once he was healthy. Gonzalez decided to stay in Puerto Rico, and did not rejoin the Cardinals.[20]

Career in Puerto Rico[edit]

In the 1989–1990 Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League, González hit .269/~.345/.500 for the Criollos de Caguas and hit 9 home runs, one less than former league leader Greg Vaughn.

During the 1992–1993 season, he batted .333 for the Santurce Crabbers and won the league MVP award despite not playing until after the All-Star break. He hit 7 home runs and led the league despite playing in only 66 games. González did not accompany Santurce to the 1993 Caribbean Series. The next season, he ended up hitting .268 with 7 homers, 3 behind Phil Hiatt.

In 1995, González joined the San Juan Senators for the 1995 Caribbean Series and hit .375 with 6 RBI as the Puerto Rican "Dream Team" won the title. González hit 5th, between Carlos Delgado and Rubén Sierra on a team that also boasted Roberto Alomar, Bernie Williams, Carlos Baerga and Edgar Martínez. San Juan outscored their opponents 49–15.

During the 2006–2007 Puerto Rican League, in 33 games playing for the champion Carolina Giants, González hit .281 with 18 RBIs and 4 homers. In 12 playoff games, he batted .369 with 3 home runs and 5 RBIs. González claims he is healthy and no longer feels pain in his legs. He was 10 for 26 (.385) in the 2007 Caribbean Series and made the All-Star team at DH.

Right now, he is the owner of the baseball team in his hometown, Vega Baja, in the Confederative Baseball League in Puerto Rico, where he also plays as a DH. Aside from baseball, Juan focuses on helping the community in Puerto Rico, with one condition: he doesn't want any attention from the media when he becomes involved in a cause. "What value does it have to help someone and then publicizing it in newspapers? That is not giving. I help, but I ask them to please not say anything." – Gonzalez.[21]

Canseco's allegations[edit]

González was one of several baseball players to whom Jose Canseco claims to have given steroid injections, according to Canseco's book Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big.[22] González was also one of many players who were named in the Mitchell Report, in regard to a 2001 incident in which a piece of team luggage belonging either to González or his personal trainer was found to contain then legal (but now illegal) drugs. It is still disputed whether or not the bag actually contained steroids. A story ran in the New York Daily News that stated the bag contained steroids. According to Gonzalez's then trainer, Angel Presinal, the bag contained Soladek (a painkiller), Dolo-neurobion (a vitamin B complex used in fighting the flu),and Clenbuterol (a stimulant similar to ephedrine, which is believed by some to promote muscle tone and weight loss). Gonzalez said the bag was Presinal's, while Presinal said the bag was Gonzalez's and that the bag did not contain steroids. Gonzalez immediately cut ties with Presinal following the incident.[23]

Gonzalez has stated that he has never taking steroids, and is in fact a vegetarian.[8] "I have nothing to hide", said Gonzalez. "Nothing. And I offered to be tested, whenever they wanted. If you have nothing to hide, there is nothing to worry [about]", Gonzalez said.[24]

Accomplishments[edit]

  • 3-time All-Star (1993, 1998, 2001)
  • 2-time American League MVP (1996, 1998)
  • 3-time Top 10 MVP (9th, 1997; 4th, 1993; 5th, 2001)
  • His 434 career home runs ranks 37th on the all-time list
  • 6 Silver Slugger awards (1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001)
  • 2-time American League Home Run Champion (1992, 1993)
  • 5 40+ HR Seasons (1992, 43; 1993, 46; 1996, 47; 1997, 42; 1998, 45)
  • Finished Top 5 in RBI 5 times. (1993, 4th, 118; 1996, 2nd, 144; 1997, 3rd, 131; 1998, 1st, 157; 1999, 5th, 128; 2001, 2nd, 140)
  • Finished Top 5 in slugging percentage 5 times. (1992, 5th, .561%; 1993, 1st, .632%; 1996, 2nd, .643%; 1997, 4th, .589%; 1998, 2nd, .630%; 1999, 4th, .601%; 2001, 5th, .590)
  • Became just the 2nd player in major league history to have at least 100 RBI before the All-Star Break. (101 in 1998, second to Hank Greenberg who had 103)
  • Holds all-time record for RBI in the month of April (35 in 1998.)
  • Ranks 4th all-time in plate appearance/HR with 16.49 (#1 Mark McGwire – 13.14 No. 2 Babe Ruth – 14.87 No. 3 Sammy Sosa – 16.25)
  • Ranks 7th all-time in RBI/game with .831.
  • Ranks 15th all-time in AB per HR with 15.1 AB/HR.
  • Ranks 16th all-time in slugging percentage with .561%
  • Hit his 300th home run in the fewest amount of games in American League history (1,096)
  • 9th Youngest ever to hit 300 Career HR (28 years, 334 days)
  • Tied for 1st in postseason history in home runs in a single Division Series with Ken Griffey, Jr. (Gonzalez – 5 HR in 4 games 1996, Griffey – 5 HR in 5 games in 1995)
  • Tied for 2nd in most HR in a single playoff series with 5 HR in just 4 games in 1996. (Reggie Jackson 1977, 5 HR in 6 Games, Chase Utley 2009, 5 HR in 6 Games, Ken Griffey, Jr. 1995, 5 HR in 5 Games) Nelson Cruz is 1st with 6 HR in 6 games in 2011.
  • Ranks 2nd in postseason history in slugging percentage in a single playoff series (1.375% in 1996)[25]
  • Ranks 2nd in postseason history in OPS in a single Division Series (1.901 in 1996)
  • Ranks 5th in postseason history in OPS in a single playoff series among qualified leaders (1.901 in 1996)
  • Tied for 2nd with 10 other players in extra base hits in a single Division Series (5 in 1996 & 2001)
  • Ranks 3rd in postseason history in total bases in a single Division Series (22 in 1996)
  • Ranks 7th in postseason history in RBI in a single Division Series (9 in 1996)
  • Tied for 2nd in postseason history in career HR in the Division Series (8 HR)
  • Ranks 4th in postseason history in career slugging percentage in the Division Series (.742)
  • Ranks 7th in postseason history in career extra base hits in Division Series (12)
  • Ranks 8th in postseason history in career OPS in the Division Series (1.075)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Durrett, Richard. "'Juan Gone' lived up to his nickname". ESPN Dallas. Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  2. ^ Bush only owned a small percentage of the Rangers as part of a large group of collective owners
  3. ^ Notes On A Native SonHarper's Magazine, Feb, 2000 by Joe Concson, Kevin P. Phillipscite book
  4. ^ Omar Marrero (December 5, 2007), 'Amistad más allá del béisbol' (in Spanish), Puerto Rico: El Nuevo Dia, "La amistad de Bush con González y Rodríguez Mayoral se remonta a finales de la década de 1980 cuando Bush era uno de los dueños de los Rangers de Texas, equipo en el que debutó y se hizo estrella el jugador boricua." 
  5. ^ a b Omar Marrero (December 5, 2007). 'Amistad más allá del béisbol' (in Spanish). Puerto Rico: El Nuevo Dia. "La reunión a puertas cerradas entre Bush, González y el historiador Luis Rodríguez Mayoral, se extendió durante unos 35 minutos por invitación del presidente. "Fue una experiencia que muy pocos pueden tener. La amistad que hemos creado va más allá del béisbol", manifestó González a The Associated Press, en una entrevista telefónica desde Washington, Distrito de Columbia. "Hablamos mucho de béisbol, de mi futuro en las Grandes Ligas y de Puerto Rico", reveló el pelotero." 
  6. ^ Omar Marrero (December 5, 2007). 'Amistad más allá del béisbol' (in Spanish). Puerto Rico: El Nuevo Dia. "De acuerdo con Rodríguez Mayoral, es la segunda vez que él y González se reúnen con Bush en la Casa Blanca. La primera ocasión, recordó, fue el día 16 de abril del 2001." 
  7. ^ Omar Marrero (December 5, 2007). 'Amistad más allá del béisbol' (in Spanish). Puerto Rico: El Nuevo Dia. "El itinerario del toletero puertorriqueño en la capital estadounidense incluye una reunión el martes con el precandidato republicano a la presidencia, Rudolph Giuliani, y una visita el jueves al hospital militar Walter Reed, donde compartirá con soldados puertorriqueños que han sido heridos en combate." 
  8. ^ a b Ortiz, Jorge L. (February 8, 2007). "Juan 'Gone' for good?". USA Today. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b c "The Ballplayers – Juan Gonzalez". BaseballLibrary.com. Retrieved September 17, 2008. 
  10. ^ Chass, Murray (June 27, 2000). "ON BASEBALL; Yankee Scout Reveals The Error of His Ways". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ "Juan Gonzalez has hit a happy beat in life". Fort Worth Star Telegram. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Sins, Ken. "A Rising Star". Texas Rangers' Souvenir Program. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Baseball Awards Voting for 1996". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved September 17, 2008. 
  14. ^ Juan Gonzalez Stats, Bio, Photos, Highlights | MLB.com: Team. Mlb.mlb.com (January 1, 2011). Retrieved on November 13, 2011.
  15. ^ "Courting Disaster". CNN. May 29, 2000. 
  16. ^ Grant, Evan (June 7, 2013). "Juan Gonzalez declines induction into Texas Rangers Hall of Fame". Dallas Morning News Texas Rangers Blog. 
  17. ^ "Juan González Statistics and History". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved August 24, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Juan Not Gone: Former star Juan Gonzalez to attempt comeback with Cardinals". Slam! Sports. Associated Press. February 4, 2008. Retrieved February 4, 2008. [dead link]
  19. ^ "Gonzalez attempting comeback: Former AL MVP invited to Cardiansl camp". Sports Illustrated. Associated Press. February 4, 2008. Archived from the original on February 8, 2008. Retrieved February 5, 2008. 
  20. ^ Juan Gonzalez Is Gone-zo From Cardinals' Camp but May Be Back. Mlb.fanhouse.com (March 27, 2008). Retrieved on November 13, 2011.
  21. ^ Berríos, Alfredo. "'Igor' refocuses role in Puerto Rico". ESPNDeportes.com. ESPNDeportes.com. Retrieved September 15, 2011. 
  22. ^ "J. Gonzalez denies allegations regarding performance-enhancing drugs". KFFL. February 19, 2008. Retrieved January 12, 2009. 
  23. ^ Fish, Mike (February 14, 2007). "Presinal's past makes MLB wary about his present". ESPN. 
  24. ^ Berrios, Alfredo. "Gonzalez on PEDs: Never used them". ESPNDeportes.com. Retrieved September 15, 2011. 
  25. ^ Reference, Baseball. "Playoffs Batting". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Mark McGwire
Bernie Williams
American League Player of the Month
July 1996
September 1997
Succeeded by
Alex Rodriguez
Manny Ramirez