Thursday, June 5, 2014

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #139 REGGIE JEFFERSON

A MOST VALUABLE TRADE CHIP.



CAREER ENDED ABRUPTLY.



DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Reggie Jefferson was the last piece of the Indians' mini-dynasty of the mid-1990s -- in a roundabout way. In December '93, he, along with Felix Fermin, was dealt to the Mariners for shortstop Omar Vizquel, who cemented the Cleveland infield. Jefferson, coming off his best season so far in '93 with 10 homers, didn't do much in Seattle but enjoyed his two best seasons with the Red Sox, with whom hit hit 32 homers combined in '96 and '97. In his nine-year career, he slashed .300/.349/.474 with 72 homers and 300 RBI. 

DEFINING MOMENT

  • Trailing 9-7 entering the bottom of the ninth against the Rangers on June 16, 1996, Jefferson came to the plate with two on and no out against the Tigers' Mike Henneman. Jefferson went the other way and poked a line drive over the Green Monster and the Red Sox won 10-9. The homer was the beginning of a hot streak in which he slashed .412/.467/.711 with seven homers and 28 RBI over 29 games.

DEFINING SEASON

  • Playing 122 games, the second most in his career, Jefferson slashed .347/.388/.593 in '96. His batting average over 386 at-bats would've been third best in the AL if he would've reached the minimum number of 502. He added a career-high 19 homers and 74 RBI.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Jefferson was drafted by the Reds in '86, but because of a front office mistake had to be traded to the Indians in '91: He was accidentally designated for assignment instead of placed on the disabled list, and the Indians claimed him. A deal was worked out for the Indians to send Tim Costo to the Reds.
  2. Often hit behind #165 Mo Vaughn and #99 Jose Canseco in '96, which no doubt contributed to his stellar season.
  3. Followed up his '96 season by slashing .319/.358/.470 with 13 homers and 67 RBI in '97 in 489 at-bats.
  4. His major-league career ended abruptly in '99 when the Red Sox didn't add him to the postseason roster and he allegedly quit on the spot. He played one year in Japan afterward. 
  5. Currently a player agent for Reynolds Sports Management.

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