April 19, 1961 |
|Batted: Switch||Threw: Right|
|June 25, 1983 for the Seattle Mariners|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 2, 1995 for the California Angels|
|Runs batted in||439|
Spike Dee Owen (born April 19, 1961 in Cleburne, Texas) is a former shortstop in Major League Baseball (who got his colorful first name by his mother, a Margie Spikes with an obvious sense of humor) played for the Seattle Mariners (1983–86), Boston Red Sox (1986–88), Montreal Expos (1989–92), New York Yankees (1993) and California Angels (1994–95). He made his major league debut on June 25, 1983. In his 13 seasons in the majors, he hit .246 batting average with 46 home runs and 439 RBI in 1544 games.
A switch-hitter, he attended The University of Texas at Austin and was the All-Tournament Team shortstop in the 1982 College World Series. He was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the first round (the sixth overall pick) of the 1982 amateur draft.
On June 25, 1983 he went 1 for 4 against the Toronto Blue Jays in his major league debut with the Mariners. His first hit came off Jim Gott. On July 13, 1983, he hit his first big league home run against Boston Red Sox pitcher Doug Bird at Fenway Park.
In 1986, he was named team captain of the Mariners. On August 19, Owen and center fielder Dave Henderson were traded to the Boston Red Sox for Rey Quiñones and cash. In his third game with the Red Sox, he tied a major league record with six runs scored in a game. In the 1986 American League Championship Series, he hit .429 as the Red Sox, one scant strike away from elimination in Game 5, came back (starting with Henderson's go-ahead homer against closer Donnie Moore) and upended the California Angels 4 games to 3. In the 1986 World Series he hit .300 in a Boston loss to the New York Mets 4 games to 3 after having the Mets down to their last strike twice in extra innings of Game 6.
In 1990, he set a National League record with 63 consecutive errorless games at shortstop. Despite hitting only .234, he showed some decent power with 24 doubles, five triples and five home runs among his 106 hits. Patience at the plate was the secret of his success with 70 walks (12 intentional), for a respectable .333 on-base percentage -- walks are important for an eighth-place hitter in the NL since there is no designated hitter, the usually weak-hitting pitcher bats ninth, and the top of the order starts the next inning if the pitcher makes the last out. Or if the pitcher bats with less than two out, he can make a productive out by bunting the runner(s) over.
Owen's most productive season was 1992, with career highs in average (.269), home runs (7), stolen bases (7) and slugging percentage (.381). In addition, he had a healthy .348 on-base percentage and hit well in the clutch at .319 in 91 at-bats with runners in scoring position. He also led the NL in fielding percentage twice. A hard-nosed competitor, he quickly established himself as a leader in the Montreal clubhouse and helped rookie Delino DeShields transition to second base.
After the 1992 season, Owen was supplanted as Montreal shortstop by the emergence of Wil Cordero and became a free agent. On December 4, 1992, he signed a three-year contract with the New York Yankees, aspiring to anchor their infield and provide team leadership, but in 1993 he led a horde of AL middle infielders in one category and one only; i.e., salary. Not surprisingly, the Yanks traded him after 1993 to the California Angels for a mere minor leaguer.
From 2002 to 2006, Owen served as bench coach of the Round Rock Express, formerly the Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. He is currently back with the Express, now the Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, as interim manager.
In 2003, the Spike Owen Memorial Ballpark in Bay Village, Ohio and the site of several games of MLB Showdown, a card game created by Wizards of the Coast, was named after him by Michael Eller, a former Bay Village resident who is both a fan of Owen and an avid Showdown player.
- Street, Jim. "Mailbag: What's lowdown on Lowe?". MLB.com. Major League Baseball. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Baseball Almanac
- Baseball Library