Mitchell Page

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Mitchell Page
Designated Hitter / Leftfielder
Born: (1951-10-15)October 15, 1951
Los Angeles California
Died: March 12, 2011(2011-03-12) (aged 59)
Jupiter, Florida
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 9, 1977 for the Oakland Athletics
Last MLB appearance
September 30, 1984 for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Career statistics
Batting average .266
Home runs 72
Runs batted in 259
Teams

Mitchell Otis Page (October 15, 1951 – March 12, 2011) was a Major League Baseball player. He finished second to Hall of Famer Eddie Murray in American League Rookie of the Year balloting when he came up with the Oakland Athletics in 1977.

Page played the role of the California Angels first baseman, "Abascal," in the 1994 Disney movie Angels in the Outfield.[1][2]

Early years[edit]

Page was originally drafted out of Centennial High School in Compton, California by the A's in the fourth round of the 1970 Major League Baseball Draft, but chose instead to attend Compton Community College. After transferring to California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the third round of the 1973 Major League Baseball Draft.

After clubbing 43 home runs and driving in 173 runs with a .292 batting average over two seasons in the Pirates' farm system, the A's finally acquired Page on March 15, 1977, along with Tony Armas, Doc Medich, Doug Bair, Dave Giusti and Rick Langford for Phil Garner, Chris Batton and Tommy Helms.

Oakland A's[edit]

Immediately upon joining his new club, Page assumed the job of everyday left fielder, and showed poise with a promising career ahead of him when he batted .307 with 21 home runs and 75 runs batted in for the Oakland Athletics his rookie year. He collected nine first place votes to Murray's twelve to finish second in voting for the AL Rookie of the Year Award.

Page had a respectable 1978 season, batting .285 with seventeen home runs and 70 RBIs. He got into a contract dispute with A's owner Charlie Finley during Spring training 1979, and wound up getting suspended by the owner for refusing to play in exhibition games.[3] He was used as the designated hitter during the regular season as injuries had limited his range in the outfield. He produced just a .247 batting average with nine home runs and 42 RBIs in his new role.

Page batted just .146 with four home runs and thirteen RBIs in the first half of the strike shortened 1981 season. When play resumed in August, Page saw just three more at-bats for the rest of the season, spending most of his time with the triple A Tacoma Tigers. The A's won the first half of the season; Page was kept off the roster for 1981 American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals and the 1981 American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees.[4] Page spent most of 1982 with Tacoma and 1983 on the disabled list.

Pittsburgh Pirates[edit]

Page was released by the A's during Spring training 1984. He signed a minor league deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates shortly afterwards, and in twelve at bats, hit .333, with three walks as a pinch hitter in August. After spending all of 1985 with Pittsburgh's Triple-A affiliate in Hawaii, he was released.

Coaching career[edit]

Page returned to Tacoma as their hitting coach from 1992 through 1994, and served as first base coach for the Kansas City Royals from 1995 to 1997.

He accepted a job with the St. Louis Cardinals as hitting coach for the Memphis Redbirds in 1998. From there, he moved to minor league hitting coordinator in 1999. Midway through the 2001 season, he was promoted to the St. Louis Cardinals as hitting coach. He remained with the club through the 2004 World Series, but left the post immediately afterwards to enter an alcohol treatment facility near his Oakland, California home.[5] The Cards batted just .190 in the World Series against the Boston Red Sox.

Page returned to baseball as minor league hitting instructor for the Washington Nationals in 2005, and became the major league hitting coach in 2006.[6] He rejoined the Cardinals' organization, and began 2010 as a coach with the Quad Cities River Bandits, but left in May due to "personal reasons."[7]

Death[edit]

Page died in his sleep on March 12, 2011, at the age of 59. The cause of death was not immediately disclosed.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]