Saturday, December 13, 2014

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #168 DELINO DeSHIELDS

EQUAL TO PEDRO MARTINEZ?


THE DODGERS THOUGHT SO IN '93.



DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • A top-of-the-order presence who averaged 35 steals during his 13-year career, Delino DeShields is known more for being part of one of the most lopsided trades in major-league history. The NL Rookie of the Year runner-up in 1990 was traded to the Dodgers in November '93 for top prospect and future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez. At the time, the trade seemed fair, what with DeShields averaging 45 steals, batting .277 and getting on base at a .367 clip. That filled a hole at second base for the Dodgers and gave them a needed injection of speed. However, DeShields faltered in Los Angeles, batting only .241 with a .326 on-base and averaging 38 steals in his three years. Overall, DeShields batted .268 with a .352 on-base percentage and stole 463 bases and was successful 76 percent of the time.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • DeShields put his speed to use on June 22, 1991, against the Reds. He reached base three times and stole three bases in the Expos' 7-4 victory.

DEFINING SEASON

  • After becoming a free agent and leaving the Dodgers to sign with the Cardinals, DeShields bounced back in '97. He led the majors in triples with 14, batted .295 with a .357 on-base percentage and stole a career-high 55 bags. 

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. DeShields finished behind #1 David Justice for NL Rookie of the Year in '90.
  2. While DeShields was struggling with the Dodgers, Martinez was establishing himself as one of the decade's best pitchers with the Expos, winning the first of three Cy Youngs in '97.
  3. From '90-'98, DeShields finished in the top 10 in the NL in steals.
  4. One of the first modern players I remember who wore their socks below the knee to honor the Negro League ballplayers.
  5. Son Delino DeShields Jr. played for the Astros' Double-A Corpus Christie farm team last season.

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