December 31, 1961 |
Evergreen, North Carolina
|April 7, 1987, for the Seattle Mariners|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 1, 1990, for the Baltimore Orioles|
|Runs batted in||35|
Robert Donell Nixon (born December 31, 1961 in Evergreen, North Carolina) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder. He played all or part of four seasons in the majors, from 1987 until 1990, playing all three outfield positions, most often in center field.
Nixon was originally drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 10th round of the 1980 Major League Baseball Draft out of West Columbus High School in Cerro Gordo, North Carolina. He began his professional career the following season with the Wausau Timbers of the Single-A Midwest League. He spent most of the next two seasons at Single-A as well. In 1983, while with the Bakersfield Mariners Nixon stole 144 bases in just 135 games, one short of the minor league record of 145 by Vince Coleman set the same year.
In 1984, Nixon was promoted to the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts, where he continued to impress on the basepaths, stealing 102 bases. Unfortunately, he suffered a compound fracture in his left leg in 1985, which stalled his promising career. The injury cost him almost 2 years of his career but did not take away much of his speed. He ran a 6.25 sixty-yard dash prior to the injury and a 6.3 after.
Major league debut
Despite not playing at all in 1985 and appearing in only 12 games in 1986, Nixon made the Mariners' Opening Day roster. He started the season's first game as Seattle's center fielder and leadoff hitter, coming to the plate four times with two walks and one stolen base. Although he continued to start for the Mariners, Nixon did not get his first hit until the season's fifth game, a run-scoring double off Les Straker. On May 1, with Nixon batting just .130, he was sent back to the minors, where he played for the Triple-A Calgary Cannons, the Mariners' top farm team. He returned to the team in July, and finished with a much more respectable .250 average.
The Giants immediately added Nixon to the major league roster. He played in 59 games over the remainder of the season, batting .348. He spent the entire 1989 season with the Giants, the only season in which he did not play in the minor leagues. He made his only postseason appearances in 1989 as well. In the 1989 World Series against the Oakland Athletics, he played in two of the four games, getting one hit in five at bats. The following year, the Giants released Nixon at the end of spring training.
Eight days after his release by the Giants, Nixon signed with the Baltimore Orioles. He spent most of the season with the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings, although he did appear in eight games for the Orioles in late June and early July. After the season, Nixon became a free agent.
Nixon spent the last three years of his playing career in the Cleveland Indians organization, but Nixon never returned to the major leagues.
Nixon is the younger brother of Otis Nixon, who is also a former major league outfielder.