Gene Richards (baseball)

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Gene Richards
Outfielder
Born: (1953-09-29) September 29, 1953 (age 63)
Monticello, South Carolina
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
April 6, 1977, for the San Diego Padres
Last MLB appearance
September 30, 1984, for the San Francisco Giants
MLB statistics
Batting average .290
Home runs 26
Runs batted in 255
Teams

Eugene Richards Jr. (born September 29, 1953) is an American former Major League Baseball (MLB) outfielder. He played eight seasons in the Majors, from 1977 until 1984, for the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants. As a rookie with San Diego in 1977, he set a modern-day MLB rookie single-season record for stolen bases.

Early life[edit]

Richards was born in Monticello, South Carolina, and attended South Carolina State University.

Playing career[edit]

He was the first player selected (by the Padres) in the 1975 January Major League Baseball Draft. He threw and batted left-handed, stood 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and weighed 175 pounds (79 kg). Richards played two seasons (1975–1976) of minor league baseball. In his first pro season, spent with the Class A Reno Silver Sox, he led the 1975 California League in hits (191 in 134 games played), runs (148), stolen bases (85) and batting average (.381). Reno won the California League championship and Richards was named the circuit's Most Valuable Player.[1] Promoted all the way to the Triple-A Hawaii Islanders in 1976, he led the Pacific Coast League in hits (173) and batted .331.[1]

In 1977, he made his major league debut with San Diego and set a then modern-day MLB rookie record with 56 stolen bases during the season,[a] surpassing the previous mark of 49 set by Rollie Zeider in 1910 and tied by Sonny Jackson in 1966.[4][5] He finished the season batting .290, and finished third in the voting for the National League Rookie of the Year Award.[b] In 1980, Richards was tied for 22nd place in MVP voting after he led the league in singles with 151, and set a then-Padres single-season record with 194 hits, broken by Tony Gwynn in 1984.[7] In 1981 he was tied for the NL lead in triples with 12.

During his Major League career, Richards hit 26 home runs. He also led the National League in 1980–1981 in assists by an outfielder. He had 247 stolen bases in his career, with a career-best 61 during the 1980 season. He had 63 career triples and 127 doubles, and 1,028 hits. He especially had successes against the Chicago Cubs. In one game he went 6 out of 7 in a 15-inning game.

Richards held then-Padres career records for triples (63) and steals (242), also broken by Gwynn.[8][9] He is also the only Padre other than Gwynn to wear the number 19, which he did so in the 1978 season.

Coaching career[edit]

Richards retired as an active player following the 1984 Major League season. He spent almost two decades as a coach, roving instructor, and manager in minor league baseball, working in the California/Anaheim Angels' farm system (1992–2001) and the Los Angeles Dodgers' organization (2002–2004). Richards managed the New York Mets' Class A Hagerstown Suns affiliate (2005). He has instructed such players as Matt Kemp, James Loney, Russell Martin, Shane Victorino, Franklin Gutierrez, Garret Anderson, Tim Salmon, Troy Glaus, and David Ross, among others. He also served as a Major League scout for the Seattle Mariners.

He is became a baseball instructor for little league, high school, and college players in Reno, Nevada.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Broken by Tim Raines with 71 in 1981.[2][3]
  2. ^ Andre Dawson won the award, and Steve Henderson was runner-up.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Johnson, Lloyd; Wolff, Miles, eds. (1997). The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (2nd ed.). Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America. ISBN 978-0-9637189-8-3. 
  2. ^ "Expos' Raines makes off with SB record". The Sun. San Bernardino, California. Associated Press. August 30, 1981. p. D-6. Retrieved September 3, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  3. ^ La Russa, Tony; Purdy, Dennis (2006). The Team-By-Team Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball. Workman Publishing. p. 1142. ISBN 9780761153764. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Padres' rookie ties steal mark". The Xenia Daily Gazette. AP. September 23, 1977. p. 7. Retrieved September 3, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  5. ^ Walz, Steve K. (May 26, 1978). "Sports file". The Taylor Daily Press. p. 7. Retrieved September 3, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  6. ^ "Expos Have Top Rookie". High Point Enterprise. AP. November 23, 1977. p. 3-B. Retrieved September 3, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  7. ^ Center, Bill (October 7, 2001). "THE GREATEST PADRE: career timeline: '84". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on September 22, 2012. 
  8. ^ "San Diego Padres Top 10 Batting Leaders". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved April 17, 2011. 
  9. ^ Center, Bill (October 7, 2001). "Through the years: '90 – '91". The San Diego Union-Tribune. 

External links[edit]