Byrd with the Mets in 2013
|Cleveland Indians – No. 6|
August 30, 1977 |
Boynton Beach, Florida
|September 8, 2002, for the Philadelphia Phillies|
(through 2016 season)
|Runs batted in||710|
|Career highlights and awards|
Marlon Jerrard Byrd (born August 30, 1977) is an American professional baseball outfielder for the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals, Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants and Cincinnati Reds. While primarily a first baseman earlier in his career, Byrd has since transitioned to being a corner outfielder. He has been suspended twice for using performance-enhancing drugs.
High school career
Byrd is a 1995 graduate of Sprayberry High School in Marietta, Georgia, and won All-State honors in baseball and football. He played on the 1993 state runner-up team as a sophomore, and was part of the 1995 state championship team.
Byrd played baseball at Georgia Tech. After a major injury, he transferred to Georgia Perimeter Junior College where he earned an AS Degree in Business in May 1999, while rededicating himself to baseball. The injury was to his right leg in which he sustained muscular damage and an infection which cut off the circulation to his nerves. He had to undergo three operations to correct the problem. Many doctors had wanted to amputate his right leg, but Byrd refused and underwent a two-year rehab process. During the rehab process, Byrd reached up to 300 pounds.
Major league career
Byrd reached the big leagues in 2003. He came in fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting, batting .303 with 86 runs scored, 28 doubles, four triples, seven home runs and 11 stolen bases in 135 games and 495 at-bats. In 2004, he did not keep his high level of performance.
Byrd was signed as a free agent by the Rangers on December 8, 2006, to compete for the starting position in center field. After failing to make the Rangers' major league roster out of spring training, Byrd was assigned to the Triple-A Oklahoma RedHawks. Byrd's contract was purchased on May 26, 2007, following injuries to outfielders Brad Wilkerson and Jerry Hairston, Jr. Making the most of his call-up by hitting over .400 for the month of June, Byrd played his way into the line-up, allowing the Rangers to trade center fielder Kenny Lofton prior to the trading deadline. On August 4, 2008, he hit a walk-off grand slam to help the Rangers beat the Yankees 9–5.
Byrd had a career season in 2009, hitting 20 home runs and collecting 89 RBIs.
On December 31, 2009, Byrd signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Chicago Cubs. In his first season with the Cubs, Byrd had his best season. He was selected for his first All-Star Game. Byrd entered the game as a substitute and drew a walk off of Matt Thornton. He scored from first base on a double by Brian McCann. In the ninth inning, while playing right field, Byrd made an outstanding play, forcing Boston DH David Ortiz at second after fielding what normally would have been a base hit.
On May 21, 2011, while batting during the 2nd inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Byrd was hit near his left eye by a pitch from Red Sox pitcher Alfredo Aceves. The pitch was, according to Aceves, unintentional. After the pitch hit him, Byrd dropped to the ground, covered the area by his left eye and rolled in pain; he was helped off the field by Cubs medical personnel and taken to the trainer's room in the clubhouse. Byrd did not return to the game. He was taken to Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he stayed overnight to be examined. The incident marked the fifth time that Byrd had been hit by a pitch in a ten-day period. Byrd was placed on the 15-day disabled list the following day. Justin Berg was called up to take his place. After coming off his stint on the disabled list, Byrd wore a protective mask customized to his helmet in order to shield his weakened facial bones.
On April 21, 2012 Byrd was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Michael Bowden and a player to be named later. Minor league pitcher Hunter Cervenka was the player sent to the Cubs May 15. On June 9, 2012, Byrd was designated for assignment by the Red Sox in order to make room for Daisuke Matsuzaka, who was returning from the disabled list. On June 12, 2012 Byrd was released. On June 25, 2012, Byrd was suspended 50 games for testing positive for a banned substance. Byrd was placed on the restricted list and remained there until August 20.
On February 1, 2013, Byrd signed a minor-league deal with the Mets. Byrd hit a walk-off 2 RBI single on April 7 for the Mets on their way to a 4-3 victory over the Miami Marlins. Before a game on June 5, 2013, Byrd joked with Mets teammate Anthony Recker that he was going to hit two home runs in the game. Byrd did hit two home runs in the Mets 10-1 win over the Washington Nationals. Byrd hit .285 with 21 home runs and 71 RBI in 117 games for the Mets before being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates. On August 27, 2013, Byrd and John Buck were traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for infield prospect Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later, identified on August 29 as Vic Black. In his first game with the Pirates, Byrd hit a 3-run home run in Pittsburgh's 7-1 victory over Milwaukee. In the 2013 National League Wild Card Game, Byrd went 2-4 with a home run and 2 RBI, as the Pirates defeated the Cincinnati Reds 6-2.
On November 12, 2013, Byrd agreed in principle to a two-year contract worth $16 million to return to the Phillies. The deal included an $8 million club option for 2016 that vests based on plate appearances. Unlike his previous years, Byrd began to strike out more often. In 154 games of 2014, Byrd struck out 185 times while batting .264 with 25 home runs and 85 RBI. On December 31, 2014, Byrd was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for starting pitcher Ben Lively. As of May 14, 2015 Byrd was hitting .342 with six home runs and 14 RBIs in the month of May. He reached 19 home runs before being traded to the San Francisco Giants.
On August 20, 2015, Byrd was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Double-A reliever Stephen Johnson. He hit a home run on his first at-bat with the Giants on August 21, 2015 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Byrd hit the Giants' record-breaking 8th grand slam of the season against the Cardinals on August 28, 2015 against Michael Wacha. This was Byrd's first career hit against Wacha, and it was Wacha's first grand-slam given up. After becoming a free agent following the 2015 season, Byrd signed a minor-league contract with the Cleveland Indians on March 18, 2016 with an invitation to major-league spring training camp. The Indians purchased his contract and added him to the active roster on April 3, 2016. On June 1, 2016, Byrd was suspended 162 games for his second positive PED test. The day his suspension started, he told his teammates that his career was over.
- "Marlon Byrd: Biography and Career Highlights | cubs.com: Players". Texas.rangers.mlb.com. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
- T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com. "Rangers sign Byrd to one-year deal | MLB.com: News". Mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
- Sullivan, T.R. (May 30, 2007). "Notes: Byrd trying hard to stay". mlb.com. Retrieved August 13, 2007.
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- Sullivan, T.R. Byrd, Rodriguez decline arbitration, MLB.com. Published December 7, 2009. Retrieved December 8, 2009.
- "Cubs, Outfielder Marlon Byrd Agree to Three-Year Contract". Mlbcontracts.blogspot.com. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- "Byrd to be hospitalized overnight after beaning | cubs.com: News". Mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
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- "Marlon Byrd uses Muay Thai to get ready for season | MLB.com: News". Mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
- Edes, Gordon. "Red Sox get OF Byrd for Bowden". ESPNBoston.com.
- "Marlon Byrd banned 50 games". ESPNBoston.com. June 25, 2012. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
- Moore, Jack (February 1, 2013). "Mets sign outfielder Marlon Byrd to minor-league deal". CBSSports.com. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
- Axisa, Mike. "Pirates acquire John Buck and Marlon Byrd from Mets". CBSSports.com. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
- "Mets get prospect Black to complete Bucs trade | mets.com: News". Mlb.mlb.com. August 29, 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
- Cody Derespina (August 29, 2013). "Vic Black to go to Mets in Marlon Byrd deal". Newsday.com. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
- "Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates - Recap - October 01, 2013 - ESPN". Scores.espn.go.com. August 21, 2010. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
- "Phillies, outfielder Marlon Byrd finalize two-year contract | phillies.com: News". Mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- Sheldon, Mark (December 31, 2014). "Reds acquire outfielder Byrd in deal with Phils". MLB.com. Retrieved December 31, 2014.
- Gleeman, Aaron (August 20, 2015). "Giants acquire outfielder Marlon Byrd from Reds". NBC Sports. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
- "Indians Sign OF Marlon Byrd". Indians.MLB.com. March 18, 2016. Retrieved March 18, 2016.
- "Indians set 2016 Opening Day roster". Retrieved 3 April 2016.
- ESPN Staff (June 1, 2016). "Marlon Byrd suspended 162 games for PED violation". espn.go.com. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
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