Mo Vaughn

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Mo Vaughn
First baseman
Born: (1967-12-15) December 15, 1967 (age 46)
Norwalk, Connecticut
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 27, 1991 for the Boston Red Sox
Last MLB appearance
May 2, 2003 for the New York Mets
Career statistics
Batting average .293
Home runs 328
Runs batted in 1,064
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Maurice Samuel "Mo" Vaughn (born December 15, 1967 in Norwalk, Connecticut), nicknamed "The Hit Dog", is a former Major League Baseball first baseman. He played from 1991 to 2003. Vaughn was a three-time All-Star selection and won the American League MVP award in 1995.

Early life and education[edit]

Vaughn attended New Canaan Country School in New Canaan, Connecticut.[1] He played baseball for Trinity-Pawling School in Pawling, New York.[2][3] He then moved on to play baseball at Seton Hall for head coach Mike Sheppard. His teammates included seven-time All-Star Craig Biggio and Red Sox teammate John Valentin. Vaughn earned the Jack Kaiser Award as MVP of the 1987 Big East Conference Baseball Tournament while keying the Pirates championship run.[4]

Professional Career[edit]

Boston Red Sox[edit]

Vaughn became the center of the Red Sox's line-up in 1993, hitting 29 home runs and contributing 101 RBIs. In 1995, he established a reputation as one of the most feared hitters in the American League when he hit 39 home runs with 126 RBIs and a .300 average. He also garnered 11 stolen bases. His efforts, which led the Red Sox to the playoffs (only to lose to the Cleveland Indians in the American League Division Series), were rewarded with the American League MVP award.

Vaughn had his career year with the Red Sox in 1996, batting an average of .326, playing in 161 games, with 44 home runs, and 143 RBIs. On May 30, 1997 playing a game against the Yankees, Vaughn went 4-for-4 with three solo homers in the Red Sox's 10-4 win over the Yankees.

Vaughn continued to improve over the next several seasons, batting .315 or higher from 1996 to 1998 and averaging 40 home runs and 118 RBIs. The Red Sox lost in the American League Division Series in 1998, once again to the Cleveland Indians, although Vaughn played well, hitting two home runs and driving in seven runs in game one.

He was noted for "crowding the plate"; his stance was such that his front elbow often appeared to be hovering in the strike zone, which intimidated pitchers into throwing wide and outside.

Last season with the Sox[edit]

Though Vaughn's powerful personality and extensive charity work made him a popular figure in Boston, he had many issues with the Red Sox management and local media; his disagreements with Boston Globe sports columnist Will McDonough and Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette were particularly acute. As an outspoken clubhouse leader, Vaughn repeatedly stated that the conservative Sox administration did not want him around. Incidents in which he allegedly punched a man in the mouth outside of a nightclub and crashed his truck while returning home from a strip club in Providence led to further rifts with the administration.

Vaughn hit a walk-off grand slam in the ninth inning of Opening Day at Fenway Park against the Seattle Mariners in 1998. Despite this auspicious start, the season was filled with acrimony, as Vaughn and the Sox administration sniped at each other throughout the year. Vaughn formed a formidable middle of the lineup with shortstop Nomar Garciaparra. The two combined for 75 home runs in 1998, Vaughn's final year with the club. After the Cleveland Indians knocked Boston out of the playoffs in the first round, Vaughn became a free agent. Almost immediately, he signed a six-year, $80-million deal with the Anaheim Angels,[5] the highest contract in the game at that time. The Red Sox made little effort to retain him.

Anaheim Angels[edit]

While he hit well for Anaheim when he played—he hit 30-plus home runs and knocked in over 100 runs in both 1999 and 2000—Vaughn was plagued by injuries in 1999 and didn't play a single game in the 2001 season. He started his Anaheim career by falling down the visitor's dugout steps on his first play of his first game, badly spraining his ankle. Vaughn was nevertheless seen as a viable middle of the line-up producer before the 2002 season and was traded to the New York Mets on December 27, 2001 for Kevin Appier.

Following Vaughn's departure from Anaheim, Angels closer Troy Percival took a shot at him saying "We may miss Mo's bat, but we won't miss his leadership. Darin Erstad is our leader." This prompted the normally mild-mannered Vaughn to go off on a profanity-laced tirade, saying that Percival and the Angels "ain't done (expletive) in this game." He remarked "They ain't got no flags hanging at friggin' Edison Field, so the hell with them." Ironically, the Angels would go on to win the World Series that year and hang a World Series flag at Edison Field.[6]

New York Mets[edit]

With the Mets, Vaughn was counted upon to be a key catalyst in a revamped lineup that featured imports Roger Cedeño, Jeromy Burnitz, and Roberto Alomar. Vaughn got off to a slow start in 2002, was lampooned in local papers and on sports talk radio shows, and was clearly not in the same shape he was during his signature seasons in Boston—he weighed 268 pounds during his first season in New York. A late surge after the all star break that saw him hit one of the most prodigious home runs in Shea Stadium history (in the middle of the "Bud" Sign on the monstrous Shea scoreboard) on July 28 was one of the few highlights in a mostly disastrous season for Vaughn. However, in 2002, he hit his 300th career home run on April 3, against Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Kip Wells, and a game winning three-run home run in the 8th inning of a game on June 16 that gave the Mets a 3–2 win over the Yankees.

Looking for a comeback in 2003, he played less than a month in 2003 before a knee injury ended the season for him.[7]

Post-playing career[edit]

Vaughn is a Managing Director of OMNI New York LLC along with Eugene Schneur which has bought and rehabilitated 1,142 units of distressed housing in the New York metropolitan area. The company also manages these properties to provide low cost housing using government tax credits. He recently purchased the Noble Drew Ali Plaza in Brownsville, Brooklyn for $21 million, and plans to add massive security upgrades and renovate it.[8] He has also been involved in refurbishing the Whitney Young Manor in Yonkers, New York, a development first constructed by a company owned by his hero Jackie Robinson. Besides the New York metropolitan area, his company is also involved in projects in Cheyenne, Miami and Las Vegas and has expressed an interest in Boston.[9]

In January 2009 it had been reported by WCVB-TV in Boston that Vaughn had recently committed to investing "$6 million in improvements to the 168-unit Sycamore Village complex that will include new appliances and exterior renovations. Vaughn said his company does not tolerate guns, drugs and criminal behavior. Planning Director Michael Sweeney said Omni's purchase is a 'major reinvestment' in the city" of Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Mo Vaughn is currently the president of a trucking company out of Solon, Ohio.[10] His nephew Cory, is in the New York Mets organization.

On April 18, 2013, Vaughn bought an advertisement section of The Boston Globe and used it to salute those involved in helping the victims of the April 15, 2013 Patriots Day Bombing in Boston. "You are all heroes in my eyes," wrote Vaughn, "Boston will march on."

Hall of Fame candidacy[edit]

Vaughn became eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009. 75% of the vote was necessary for induction, and 5% was necessary to stay on the ballot. He received 1.1% of the vote and dropped off the ballot.

Performance-enhancing drugs[edit]

It was revealed on December 13, 2007 in the report by Senator George J. Mitchell that Vaughn had purchased steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs from Kirk Radomski, who said he delivered the drugs to him personally. Radomski produced three checks, one for $2,200 and two more for $3,200, from Vaughn, one of the latter dated June 1, 2001, and another dated June 19, 2001. Radomski said that the higher checks were for two kits of HGH, while the lower one was for one and a half kits. Vaughn's name, address and telephone number were listed in an address book seized from Radomski's house by federal agents. Vaughn's trainer instructed him to take HGH in attempt to recover from injury.

Mitchell requested a meeting with Vaughn in order to provide Vaughn with the information about these allegations and to give him an opportunity to respond, but Vaughn never agreed to set a meeting.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/1999/03/22/sports/baseball-vaughn-brings-bat-and-leadership.html
  2. ^ "Mo Vaughn". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved April 23, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Dedication of Mo Vaughn '86 Baseball Field". Trinity-Pawling school via YouTube. September 29, 2012. 
  4. ^ 2012 Big East Baseball Media Guide. Big East Conference. p. 66. Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Risk of further injury is too high". ESPN.com. January 25, 2004. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  6. ^ Vaughn Blasts Percival, TeamThe Los Angeles Times
  7. ^ BASEBALL; Vaughn Is Out for the Year And Is Unlikely to ReturnThe New York Times
  8. ^ RICH CALDER (2007-01-10). "MO'S THE MAN OF THE HOUSE". New York Post. Retrieved 2007-06-17. 
  9. ^ Stan Grossfeld (2007-06-17). "Vaughn is in rebuilding mode". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-06-17. 
  10. ^ McIntyre, Michael K. (2011-08-28). "'Divine intervention' lands a baseball buyer for Ken Lanci's posh pad: Michael K. McIntyre's Tipoff". The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH). Retrieved 2011-09-01. 
  11. ^ Mitchell, George (December 13, 2007). "Report to the Commissioner of Baseball of an Independent Investigation into the Illegal Use of Steroids and Other Performance Enhancing Substances by Players in Major League Baseball". MLB.com. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Frank Thomas
American League Player of the Month
May 1996
Succeeded by
Mark McGwire