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Leonard playing for the Giants in 1985
September 22, 1955 |
|September 2, 1977, for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 3, 1990, for the Seattle Mariners|
|Runs batted in||723|
|Career highlights and awards|
Jeffrey Leonard (born September 22, 1955) is an American former left fielder in Major League Baseball with a 14-year career from 1977 to 1990. He played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, San Francisco Giants, Milwaukee Brewers and Seattle Mariners.
Leonard was born in Philadelphia. He was a standout in football, basketball and baseball at Overbrook High School in Philadelphia, which produced basketball stars Wilt Chamberlain and Walt Hazzard. He got 60 scholarship offers for football, five for basketball and none for baseball, where he played shortstop and twice hit two home runs in one inning.
Minor league career
While playing in the minor leagues in the middle of the 1981 season Max Venable and Guy Sularz gave Jeffrey Leonard the nickname "HackMan" because he had a habit of swinging at the first pitch no matter what. People spelled it "Hackman" but he did not like the way the spelling looked, and said, "Spell it like the video game PacMan", so it came out as "HacMan." Leonard was known for his "one flap down" routine: running around the bases after hitting a home run with one arm hanging motionless at his side. Leonard tied for the California League lead for assists by an outfielder with 13 while playing for the Bakersfield Dodgers in 1976. He also led the Pacific Coast League in hits (183) and batting average (.365) while playing for the Albuquerque Dukes in 1978.
Notable achievements in Major League Baseball
Jeffrey Leonard's greatest moment as a player most likely occurred during the 1987 National League Championship Series while with the San Francisco Giants. During the seven game-long series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Leonard had five runs, ten hits, four home runs, five runs batted in, a batting average of .417, and a slugging percentage of .917. For his performance, Leonard was awarded the 1987 NLCS Most Valuable Player Award. As of 2015, Jeffrey Leonard is the last person to be named the Most Valuable Player of a League Championship Series or World Series while a member of the losing team. His four home runs tied a record shared by Bob Robertson (1971) and Steve Garvey (1978) for most home runs in a League Championship Series.
It was also during this NLCS that Leonard would draw ire for a "Cadillac" home run trot; the Cardinals felt he took a little too much time rounding the bases on his home runs, thereby showing up the pitcher. In response to this attitude, and for Leonard's repeated "one-flap down" routine of running bases, Cardinals pitcher Bob Forsch famously hit Leonard in the back with a fastball in the fifth inning of Game 3. The St. Louis press began calling Leonard "both flaps down" after the incident.
Leonard had a solid career in the majors that included a lifetime .266 batting average, 144 home runs, 614 runs scored, and 723 RBI. During his first season as a starting outfielder, he hit .290 for the Houston Astros in 1979. His best season was in 1984 when Leonard hit .302 with 21 homers and 86 RBI for the Giants. His best season for power came with Seattle in 1989 as the 6-2, 200-pound slugger finished with a .254 average along with 24 home runs and 93 RBI.
Breakout regular season performances
• On August 8, 1989, Leonard went 3-for-5 with 2 home runs and 4 RBI as his Seattle Mariners knocked off the California Angels 6-4 in 10 innings. Leonard and his teammate Darnell Coles both homered in the tenth inning as the Mariners' record improved to 54-58 on the season.
Pittsburgh drug trials
Leonard was one of seven then-current or former major league baseball players who testified at the 1985 cocaine trafficking trial of Curtis Strong, which became known as the Pittsburgh drug trials. Many of the players who testified, including Leonard, were given immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony. Baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth suspended 11 players on February 28, 1986, including Leonard. Ueberroth interviewed the involved players during the off-season at the end of that year, and imposed sansctions against players for their apparent involvement in the cocaine network. Leonard was among a group of players that Ueberroth cited as having had a "prolonged pattern of drug use" and had involvement in cocaine distribution; these players were issued one-year suspensions from Major League Baseball, however, the suspensions were to be waived in exchange for donations to drug-treatment programs, and community service performed with drug-related organizations. The donations for many, including Leonard, were to amount to 10% of their base salaries (in Leonard's case, this amounted to $80,000) and players had to submit to drug testing for the rest of their careers. The Pittsburgh drug trials are considered one of Major League Baseball's biggest scandals of all time, albeit one that was "behind the scenes" and did not affect play on the field.
Since his retirement, Leonard has coached both in Minor League organizations and college baseball. He coached the Antelope Valley College Marauders baseball team in 2003 and 2004, where he had a total win-loss record of 25-44-1. Currently[when?] he teaches students whom are serious about furthering their baseball careers to a college level and/or professional level.
He and his wife Karen reside in Rocklin, California. They have seven children between them and enjoy spending time with their three grandchildren. Leonard and his wife are currently very active in the fight against breast cancer. They started a foundation called the One Flap Down Foundation to help single parents going through treatment, after Leonard's step-daughter Christine, a single mother of three, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009.
- Hitting for the cycle
- List of sportspeople sanctioned for doping offences
- List of Major League Baseball career stolen bases leaders
- List of Major League Baseball career runs scored leaders
- 1980 Topps #106 Jeff Leonard
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- "Jeffrey Leonard". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
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- "Pittsburgh Cocaine Trial : Baseball's 2nd Biggest Scandal: One Year Later". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. 21 September 1986. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
- Peter S. Finley; Laura L. Finley; Jeffrey Fountain (2008). Sports Scandals. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 29. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
- Craig Neff; Robert Sullivan (10 March 1986). "GROPING FOR A DRUG PLAN THAT WILL WORK". Scorecard. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
- "Ueberroth Punishes Baseball Players Linked To Drugs". Philly.com. 1 March 1986. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
- Snyder, Matt (5 August 2013). "Biogenesis scandal ranks among MLB's biggest in history". Eye on sports. CBS Sports. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
- "2013 MARAUDER BASEBALL 38 Marauder Baseball Year By Year Since 1969" (PDF). Antelope Valley College. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
- Finnigan, Bob (July 8, 1990). "The HacMan -- The Other Side Of Jeffrey Leonard -- There's More To Enigmatic Mariner Than Most People See". The Seattle Times. Seattle, Washington. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- "About Us". One Flap Dpwn Foundation. Retrieved 2 December 2013.