|BIG DADDY COULD MASH.|
|STINT IN JAPAN WAS A MASTERSTROKE CAREER MOVE.|
DEFINING THE PLAYER
- Cecil Fielder was a Japanese import even Detroit could love. After being a part-time player with the Blue Jays for four seasons, Fielder went to Japan to play regularly in 1989. When he returned to the majors the next season, he was a new and improved model, becoming the first player in 13 years to hit 50-plus home runs. It began an eight-year renaissance during which he was one of the most feared sluggers in the game.
- Needing a dinger to reach the 50-homer club on the season's last day on Oct. 3, 1990, Fielder got it in the fourth inning against the Yankees' Steve Adkins. He slugged No. 51 in the eighth off Alan Mills to complete a historic season that also included 132 RBI and a slash line of .277/.377/.592.
- In addition to homers in '90, Fielder led baseball in RBI, slugging and strikeouts (182). He led the AL in total bases with 339 and finished second to #86 Rickey Henderson for MVP.
FIVE FINAL FACTS
- Fielder was the 11th player to reach 50 homers and second in the past 25 seasons.
- Led baseball in homers (44) and RBI (133) again in '91 and was runner-up again for AL MVP, this time to #96 Cal Ripken Jr.
- The second Tiger to blast 40-plus homers in back-to-back seasons, joining Hank Greenberg. Miguel Cabrera became the third last season.
- The epitome of a lumbering first baseman, Fielder needed a record 1,096 games to record his first major-league stolen base. It occurred in '96 and came as the result of a botched hit-and-run.
- A rather large human, Fielder naturally hit some titanic blasts: He's one of four to clear the left-field roof of Tiger Stadium, coming against Dave Stewart in '90 and joining Harmon Killebrew, Frank Howard and #92 Mark McGwire; he's the only player to hit one out of Milwaukee's County Stadium, victimizing Dan Plesac in '91.