Cody Decker

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Cody Decker
Cody Decker on April 9, 2016.jpg
Decker with the Omaha Storm Chasers, triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, in 2016
First baseman / Outfielder
Born: (1987-01-17) January 17, 1987 (age 32)
Santa Monica, California
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 14, 2015, for the San Diego Padres
Last MLB appearance
October 4, 2015, for the San Diego Padres
MLB statistics
Batting average.000
Home runs0
Runs batted in1
Teams

Cody Marshall Decker (born January 17, 1987) is an American former professional baseball player who played for the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball (MLB). A right-handed power hitter, he played first base, third base, left field, and could catch.[1]

Playing for Santa Monica High School in California, Decker batted .490 and was Ocean League MVP his senior year. Playing college baseball for UCLA, he led the Pac-10 in home runs with 21 during his senior year in 2009, was a two-time All-Pac-10 selection, and ended his college career tied for 7th on UCLA's all-time home run list with 47.[2][3]

Decker was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 22nd round of the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft. That summer he batted .354 and led the Arizona League (AZL) in home runs, RBIs (63-an AZL record), total bases (142-an AZL record), and slugging percentage (.717), and had the best fielding percentage for a first baseman. He was named the AZL Most Valuable Player and a Topps Post-Season All Star. In 2010, he was fourth in the California League in home runs (28) and seventh in RBIs (90). He was named an MiLB.com San Diego Organization All Star and MiLB.com Short-Season Best Hitter of the Year. In 2012, he was second in the Texas League in home runs (25) and third in slugging percentage (.540). That fall he played for the Israel national baseball team in the qualifying rounds of the 2013 World Baseball Classic. In 2014, Decker tied for fourth in the Pacific Coast League (PCL) in home runs (27), led all Padres minor leaguers in homers, and tied for third among Padres minor leaguers in RBIs (79). He was named a 2014 MiLB.com San Diego Organization All Star. In 2015, he was a PCL mid-season All Star, and an MiLB.com San Diego Organization All Star.

Decker made his Major League debut on September 14, 2015, after 2,566 at bats in 761 games over seven seasons in the minor leagues. At the time, his 154 home runs in the minors were the most by any MLB-affiliated minor league player since he was drafted in 2009. He played for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Early life[edit]

Decker was born in Santa Monica, California, and is Jewish.[1][4][5] His parents are Jay and Terri Decker, and he has an older brother (Jesse) and an older sister (Jenifer).[6]

He attended Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica, California. There, playing first base, third base, and catcher he batted .490 over three seasons, and was a three-time All Bay League pick.[6] In 2005, Decker was Ocean League MVP, Division IV Southern Section All-CIF first-team, and named to the Los Angeles Times All-South Bay/Westside Region team.[6]

College[edit]

Decker then attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) on a baseball scholarship, where he majored in History, minored in Film, and was a designated hitter, first baseman, and left fielder for the UCLA Bruins baseball team.[6][7][8] In his sophomore year in 2007, he was 3rd in the Pac-10 in home runs with 14.[9] He led the Pac-10 in home runs with 21 during his senior year in 2009, and was 3rd in walks (46), 5th in runs (55), and 6th in RBIs (53).[6][10] Decker was the first hitter since Eric Byrnes to hit at least five homers in each of his four college seasons, and ended his college career tied with Ryan McGuire for 7th on UCLA's all-time home run list with 47.[2] He was a two-time All-Pac-10 selection, in 2007 and 2009.[3]

Professional career[edit]

San Diego Padres[edit]

Decker was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 22nd round of the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft.[11] He said his after-tax signing bonus was $638.[12]

In 2009, he batted .354 (3rd in the league) and led the Arizona League in home runs (15), RBIs (63-an Arizona League record), doubles (21), extra-base hits (39), total bases (142-an Arizona League record), slugging percentage (.717), and OPS (1.138), was 2nd in hits (70), 4th in runs (46) and on base percentage (.421), and had the best fielding percentage for a first baseman, while playing for the Arizona League Padres.[2][4][13][14] Decker was named the AZL Most Valuable Player (beating out Mike Trout), a Topps Short-Season/Rookie All Star, and Topps Post-Season All Star.[2][4][14][15]

Decker with the Lake Elsinore Storm, advanced-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, in 2010

In 2010, Decker was fourth in the California League in home runs (28; tied for the lead among Padres minor leaguers), sixth in doubles (35), seventh in RBIs (90; second-best among Padres minor leaguers), and ninth in walks (60), with the High-A Lake Elsinore Storm.[4][16] He then was named an MiLB.com San Diego Organization All Star and MiLB.com Short-Season Best Hitter of the Year with the Arizona League Padres, and voted California League Player of the Week on August 30, 2010, with the Storm.[13]

Decker missed nearly three months of the 2011 season with a severe third-degree right ankle sprain, though he hit 15 home runs in 59 games, 13 of them in AA.[17][18][19][20]

In 2012, Decker finished second in the Texas League in home runs (25), third in slugging percentage (.540), and tenth in RBIs (68) with the AA San Antonio Missions.[3] In addition, he was twice named Texas League Player of the Week, on May 7 and May 14.[13]

Decker split the 2013 season between San Antonio and Tucson, hitting 19 home runs (second among Padres minor leaguers) with 70 RBIs.[21][22] He was third in the Pacific Coast League in slugging percentage (.534).[23]

In 2014, Decker tied for fourth in the Pacific Coast League (PCL) in home runs with 27 for the AAA El Paso Chihuahuas, and led all Padres minor leaguers in homers.[24][25] He also tied for third among Padres minor leaguers in RBIs, with 79.[26] He was named a 2014 MiLB.com San Diego Organization All Star.[17]

Decker, during his tenure with the El Paso Chihuahuas, at the 2015 Triple-A All-Star Game

In 2015, he was a PCL mid-season All Star with El Paso, and an MiLB.com San Diego Organization All Star.[17] Decker had the fourth-best home run/at bat ratio in the league, with a homer every 17.78 at bats.[27] On May 11, 2015, he was voted PCL Player of the Week. Through 2015, he was the all-time minor league home run leader for the Padres, with 154.[28] Sam Geaney, the Padres Director of Player Development, described him as "big-time right-handed power."[29] Afterwards, newspaper El Paso Times called him "the most popular player during the El Paso Chihuahuas' first two seasons."[30] Announcer Tim Hagerty said he had not ever seen a ballplayer connect with a team's fan base as Decker did with El Paso.[31]

Decker made his Major League debut with the Padres on September 14, 2015, after 2,566 at bats in 761 games over seven seasons while playing in the minor leagues.[32][33] At the time, his 154 home runs in the minors were the most by any MLB-affiliated minor league player since he was drafted in 2009, and the most ever by a Padres minor leaguer.[32][33] Decker went hitless with an RBI in 11 at bats,[34] and became a free agent after his debut season.

Royals/Rockies/Red Sox[edit]

Decker signed with the Kansas City Royals on December 3, 2015. They traded him to the Colorado Rockies on April 20, 2016, who released him on May 17, 2016. On June 13, 2016, Decker signed a minor league deal with the Boston Red Sox, who assigned him to the Portland Sea Dogs in the AA Eastern League.[35]

Milwaukee Brewers[edit]

In January 2017, Decker signed a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers.[36] Decker was to convert full-time to catcher.[37] Decker had been managed by Pat Murphy, the Brewers bench coach, when both of them were in the San Diego Padres system.[38] The Brewers released him on March 27.[39]

New York Mets[edit]

In April 2017, the New York Mets signed Decker to a minor league deal.[40] He was the leading active career minor league home run hitter at the time, with 173.[41][41] He initially played for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, of the Class AA Eastern League, for whom he batted .257/.351/.522 with 7 home runs and 24 RBIs in 113 at bats.[42][43] In June, he was promoted to the Las Vegas 51s of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League, for whom he batted .238/.304/.460 with 8 home runs and 21 RBIs in 126 at bats.[44]

Arizona Diamondbacks[edit]

Decker signed a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks on February 1, 2018.[45] He spent nearly the entire season playing for the Reno Aces in the Pacific Coast League, batting .268/.363/.516, with 9 home runs and 28 RBIs in 153 at bats.[46] He finished the season with 197 career home runs in the minor leagues.[47]

In October 2018, the Diamondbacks re-signed Decker and again assigned him to the Reno Aces.[47]

Retirement[edit]

On July 7, 2019, Decker announced the end of his playing career.[48]

Team Israel[edit]

In 2012, by virtue of his Jewish heritage, Decker played for the Israel national baseball team in the qualifying rounds of the 2013 World Baseball Classic.[49][50] He was 1-10 in three games, and had two RBIs.[51] During the opening game, Decker was the starting left fielder and batted fourth, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout.[52] During the second game, Decker again started in left field while batting clean up, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout.[53] In the third and final game Decker went 1-for-2 with two walks (one intentional), two RBIs and a strikeout.[54]

Decker played for Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic qualifier.[55] Decker was the starting third baseman during all three of Israel's games, batted fifth. During the opening game Decker went 1-for-3 with a double, an RBI on a sacrifice fly, and a run scored, with one strikeout, before being replaced defensively by Mitch Glasser.[56] Against Brazil in the second game, Decker with 1-for-2, while picking up the games only RBI on a sacrifice fly, before again being replaced defensively by Glasser.[57] During the third and final game of the qualifier, Decker went 1-for-3, with a solo home run and a walk.[58]

Decker played for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic main tournament, in March 2017.[59][60]

Decker brought the team's mascot with him to Asia from the United States for the WBC. The mascot is "Mensch on the Bench", a five-foot-tall plush stuffed toy that looks a bit like a rabbi or Hasidic Jew with a long beard and mustache who is wearing a tallis and holding a candle.[61][62][63][64] "Mensch", in Yiddish, means a person of integrity or honor.[62][65][66] Decker said he "tried getting him a first-class ticket. But that didn’t fly, so he was put in a duffel bag and checked."[67] The mascot proved to be a big hit, and the team took him everywhere.[62][63][61] The mascot had his own locker, sat on Team Israel's bench in the dugout during every game, and sat alongside Decker at a press conference in South Korea.[65][67][68] Decker said:

"He’s a mascot, he’s a friend, he’s a teammate, he’s a borderline deity to our team.... He brings a lot to the table.... Every team needs their Jobu. He was ours. He had his own locker, and we even gave him offerings: Manischewitz, gelt, and gefilte fish... He is everywhere and nowhere all at once. His actual location is irrelevant because he exists in higher metaphysical planes. But he’s always near."[65]

Personal life[edit]

Decker has earned his Screen Actors Guild card, and had a cameo in the NBC espionage thriller State of Affairs.[7] He also produces his own short films on the side.[7]

Decker is known for his pranks.[69] In 2014, while playing with the El Paso Chihuahuas in AAA, for the first month of the season he convinced gullible veteran outfielder Jeff Francoeur that their teammate, pitcher Jorge Reyes, was deaf.[1][7][70] Reyes cooperated with the prank, maintaining the appearance of being deaf by not speaking or listening to music.[71][72][73] Decker filmed and produced a seven-minute documentary, "On Jeff Ears,"[74] revealing the truth to Francoeur.[1][7] The prank documentary went viral, getting over 1.5 million hits on YouTube.[1][75] Sportswriter Peter Gammons called Decker "My new favorite person."[76] Decker raises money for the deaf and for animal rescue through charitable events.[1][77]

The San Diego Union-Tribune called him "One of the most colorful characters in professional baseball."[78] Decker is also known for having over 23,000 followers on Twitter.[79][80][81] In the off-season, he has worked as a bartender, a bouncer, and trivia night host.[82][83][84] He has also appeared in several videos for the YouTube channel Screen Junkies, most notably the debate series Movie Fights.

On December 23, 2016, Decker became engaged to model and sports journalist Jenn Sterger, whom he met on Twitter.[85][86][87] On January 19, 2018, Decker married Sterger.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Red Sox bring another 'character' to Portland; Veteran Cody Decker can hit with power, field several positions, play pranks on teammates and belt out Seventy-Six Trombones," The Portland Press Herald, June 26, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Dan Watson (November 9, 2009). "Cody Decker Wins AZL Player of Year Honors," MiLB.com.
  3. ^ a b c "Cody Decker, El Paso 1B - Player Evaluation," Scout.
  4. ^ a b c d "Cody Decker Stats, Fantasy & News," mlb.com.
  5. ^ Hillel Kutler (April 3, 2016). "8 Jewish Baseball Players To Watch — and One Manager," The Forward.
  6. ^ a b c d e [1] Player Bio: Cody Decker at the Wayback Machine (archived January 2, 2016)
  7. ^ a b c d e Rustin Dodd (March 10, 2016). "Meet Cody Decker, the Royals’ utility man with a Screen Actors Guild card," The Kansas City Star.
  8. ^ Josh Jackson (January 3, 2010). "Even off the field, Decker stays under lights; Minor League slugger finds opportunities for himself in entertainment," milb.com.
  9. ^ 2007 "Pacific-10 Conference - Season Review," The Baseball Cube.
  10. ^ "2009 Pacific-10 Conference - Season Review," The Baseball Cube.
  11. ^ "Cody Decker Baseball Statistics (2006–2014)". The Baseball Cube. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
  12. ^ Danny Wild (June 10, 2013). "Minoring in Twitter: A tribute to Cody Decker," milb.com.
  13. ^ a b c "Cody Decker Stats, Video Highlights, Photos, Bio". Mlb.com. March 27, 2014. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
  14. ^ a b Dan Watson (January 4, 2010). "Cody Decker MiLB's Best Short-Season Hitter," MiLB.com.
  15. ^ John Conniff (July 18, 2015). "El Paso Notebook-2015," San Diego - Scout.
  16. ^ Robert Emrich (December 3, 2010). "Deckers form Padres' dynamic duo; Cody, Jaff team up for 45 homers, 148 RBIs in Cal League," milb.com.
  17. ^ a b c "Cody Decker Stats, Highlights, Bio," MiLB.com.
  18. ^ John Parker (May 7, 2012). "Offensive Players of the Week; For the week ending May 6," MiLB.com.
  19. ^ UCLA 2012 Baseball Media Guide, UCLA.
  20. ^ "Cody Decker Activated From Disabled List", OurSports Central, August 23, 2011.
  21. ^ "Cody Decker Debuts with the Padres," Northwoods League, September 15, 2015.
  22. ^ "Possible 2014 Chihuahuas Position Players," El Paso Chihuahuas News, November 24, 2013.
  23. ^ "2013 Pacific Coast League - Season Review," The Baseball Cube.
  24. ^ Bill Center (September 3, 2014). "From the Farm, 9/2/14: Playoff Schedules; El Paso, San Antonio, Eugene Season Reviews," FriarWire.
  25. ^ "MadFriars' End of the Year Review: El Paso," FOX Sports, October 17, 2014.
  26. ^ Mark Emery (October 6, 2014). "First-round pick Trea Turner headlines San Diego Padres' Organization All-Stars," MiLB.com.
  27. ^ 2016 Memphis Redbirds Media Guide, Memphis Redbirds.
  28. ^ 2015 San Diego Padres Season Review, San Diego Padres.
  29. ^ "MadFriars' Preview: 2015 El Paso Chihuahuas," Fox Sports, April 9, 2015..
  30. ^ "Chihuahuas' Cody Decker called up to San Diego Padres,", El Paso Times, September 13, 2015.
  31. ^ John Conniff (March 19, 2016). "Ex-Chihuahua Cody Decker now with Kansas City," El Paso Times.
  32. ^ a b Jeff Goodman (September 21, 2015). "Samohi grad Cody Decker called up by Padres," Santa Monica Daily Press.
  33. ^ a b "Cody Decker Earns Call-Up From Padres," UCLA Bruins, September 14, 2015.
  34. ^ Barry M. Bloom (March 19, 2016). "Easy to root for good-natured Decker; 29-year-old trying to earn a job with Royals after long stint in Padres' system," mlb.com.
  35. ^ Todd, Jeff (May 24, 2016). "Minor MLB Transactions: 5/24/2016". mlbtraderumors.com. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  36. ^ "Brewers' Cody Decker: Signs minor league deal," CBS Sports, January 8, 2017.
  37. ^ Adam McCalvy (January 8, 2017). "Brewers sign Cody Decker", mlb.com.
  38. ^ Tom Haudricourt (January 9, 2017). "Brewers sign Decker to minor-league deal", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  39. ^ "Mets sign Cody Decker" - Amazin' Avenue
  40. ^ "Mets sign Cody Decker to Minor League deal" | MLB.com
  41. ^ a b "Mets sign Cody Decker to a minor league deal, but assignment unspecified" – Las Vegas Review-Journal
  42. ^ "Decker leads Binghamton to 7-5 win over Erie" | stltoday.com
  43. ^ Cody Decker - The Baseball Cube
  44. ^ "Mets make multiple roster moves" – Las Vegas Review-Journal
  45. ^ Pollshuk, Mark (February 1, 2018). "Minor MLB Transactions: 2/1/18". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  46. ^ "Cody Decker homers in first at-bat in PCL return" - KVIA
  47. ^ a b "Cody Decker Re-signs with Arizona Diamondbacks and Assigned to Reno"
  48. ^ Dan Grantland (July 8, 2019). "Monday's Hot Clicks: Career Minor Leaguer Hits Walk-Off Homer, Then Retires". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  49. ^ John Manuel (August 14, 2013). "Cody Decker Continues Budding Film Career," Baseball America.
  50. ^ Daniel Archuleta (September 20, 2012). "Baseball: Decker represents Israel", Santa Monica Daily Press.
  51. ^ Ron Kaplan (September 16, 2015). "Welcome Cody Decker, your latest JML", New Jersey Jewish News.
  52. ^ "Israel 7, South Africa 3", mlb.com, September 19, 2012.
  53. ^ "Israel 4, Spain 2", mlb.com, September 21, 2012.
  54. ^ "Spain 9, Israel 7", mlb.com, September 23, 2012.
  55. ^ Vince Lara-Cinisomo (September 22, 2016). "Rosters for WBC Qualifier in Brooklyn; Israel, Pakistan, Great Britain, Brazil", Baseball America.
  56. ^ "Israel 5, Great Britain 2," mlb.com, September 22, 2016.
  57. ^ "Israel 1, Brazil 0," mlb.com, September 23, 2016.
  58. ^ "Israel 9, Great Britain 1", mlb.com, September 25, 2016.
  59. ^ Aron Heller (January 11, 2017). "Israel taps Jewish major-leaguers for World Baseball Classic", The Star.
  60. ^ Hillel Kuttler (January 11, 2017). "For these pro-baseball players, visiting Israel is like coming home", Times of Israel.
  61. ^ a b Lidia Jean Kott (March 10, 2017). "The 'Mensch on the Bench' might be Israel's baseball team's secret weapon," Public Radio International.
  62. ^ a b c "Israel's Mensch on the Bench mascot at World Baseball Classic," Newsday, March 9, 2017.
  63. ^ a b Robert Siegel (March 8, 2017). "Dutch Players Take Leave From Spring Training For World Baseball Classic," NPR.
  64. ^ "Mensch on a Bench, mascot of Israel baseball team, a hoot ahead of WBC,", The Times of Israel, March 6, 2017.
  65. ^ a b c Liz Roscher (March 7, 2017). "Israel's World Baseball Classic mascot: Mensch on a Bench," Yahoo.
  66. ^ Barry M. Bloom (March 2017). "With Mensch on Bench, Israel ready for Classic," mlb.com.
  67. ^ a b Charles Curtis (March 7, 2017). "The best thing about Team Israel’s World Baseball Classic run is their delightful mascot," USA Today.
  68. ^ Dan Martin (March 7, 2017). "Israel’s suddenly the undefeated darling of the baseball world," The New York Post.
  69. ^ "Meet the man behind the epic prank on Jeff Francoeur; Former UCLA baseball player Cody Decker has become something of an infamous minor league fan sensation," Fox Sports, July 25, 2014.
  70. ^ Josh Leventhal (April 28, 2015). "Decker Does It Again With Latest Prank," Baseball America.
  71. ^ Nick Schwartz (April 13, 2014). "Jeff Francoeur's minor league teammates tricked him into thinking a pitcher was deaf". USA Today.
  72. ^ Townsend, Mark (April 13, 2014). "Jeff Francoeur's new Triple-A teammates welcome him with month-long prank". Yahoo! Sports.
  73. ^ King, James (April 13, 2014). "Baseball Team Convinces teammate Jeff Francoeur That Another Teammate Is Deaf For A Whole Month - and videotapes the entire prank". Daily Mail.
  74. ^ "On Jeff Ears", Antihero Baseball/Daylight Films, YouTube, April 12, 2014.
  75. ^ Danny Wild (June 5, 2015). "Minoring in Twitter: The ugly side of Tommy John; Decker debuts new film,", Prospective.
  76. ^ Peter Gammons (April 14, 2015). "Peter Gammons: My new favorite person, Cody Decker". Gammons Daily.
  77. ^ . Archived 2016-06-23 at the Wayback Machine, sportstownelpaso.com.
  78. ^ Dennis Lin (September 14, 2015). "Cody Decker's big-league dream becomes reality with call-up to Padres," The San Diego Union-Tribune.
  79. ^ Ryan Posner (September 14, 2015). "Career Minor Leaguer Cody Decker to Finally Get Shot with Padres," Times of San Diego.
  80. ^ Jeff Sanders (December 3, 2015). "Cody Decker scooped on own minor league deal," The San Diego Union-Tribune.
  81. ^ "Cody Decker", Twitter.
  82. ^ Wayne McBrayer (August 16, 2013). "Getting to know Cody Decker – Tucson Padres," Padres360.
  83. ^ Patrick Finley (April 15, 2013). "Tucson Padres Patrick Finley: Decker hopes shift can be majors one," Arizona Daily Star.
  84. ^ Corey Brock (January 9, 2013). "For Padres farmhands, work doesn't end on field; Some pick up offseason jobs to supplement modest Minor League income," mlb.com.
  85. ^ Matt Lombardi (December 24, 2016). "Jenn Sterger Engaged To Minor League Baseball Player Cody Decker,", College Spun.
  86. ^ Max Rieper (December 4, 2015). "New Royals minor leaguer Cody Decker is the most interesting man in the world; Slugging first baseman, filmmaker, actor, the guy is a real triple threat," Royals Review.
  87. ^ Chris Han (March 2017). "Cody Decker, fiancee Jenn Sterger enjoying WBC," mlb.com.

External links[edit]