Cecil Grant Fielder (Template:PronEng) (born September 21, 1963 in Los Angeles, California) is a former professional baseball player who was a noted power hitter in the 1980s and 1990s. He attended college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). He played with the Toronto Blue Jays (1985–88), Detroit Tigers (1990–96), New York Yankees (1996–97), Anaheim Angels and Cleveland Indians (both in 1998). In Template:By, he became the first player to reach the 50-home run mark since George Foster hit 52 for the Cincinnati Reds in Template:By. He is the father of Milwaukee Brewers power hitting first baseman Prince Fielder, who in 2007 reached the 50-home run mark as his father had done.

Early careerEdit

Cecil Fielder was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 31st round of the 1981 amateur draft, but did not sign. He was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 4th round of the 1982 amateur draft, and this time did sign. In 1983, he was traded by the Royals to the Toronto Blue Jays for Leon Roberts.

A part-time first and third baseman for the Blue Jays, Fielder had hit 31 homers with 84 runs batted in during four seasons. The Hanshin Tigers signed him after the 1988 season. With Toronto, he earned $125,000 per season; the Hanshin Tigers paid him $1,050,000 ($Template:Inflation in current dollar terms), including a chauffeur and a full-time interpreter. More than the money, he said, he went to Japan for the opportunity to play every day. He became a hero to the local baseball fans that nicknamed him "Wild Bear" (wild, in Japan, is the image of power; bear, for his hulking presence).

Fielder, built for power at 6-foot-3 and 280 pounds, gained Detroit's attention by hitting 38 home runs in Japan's Central League in Template:By.

Detroit TigersEdit

Once again in the majors with the Detroit Tigers, Fielder, with his 51-homer, 132 RBI year in Template:By, became one of the biggest stories of the season - and perhaps the biggest bargain in the sport (he earned $1.25 million). On the last day of the Tigers' season at Yankee Stadium, Fielder hit his 50th and 51st home runs to become the 11th player in ML history - and only the second in the previous 25 years - to reach the 50-HR plateau. No Detroit Tigers player had turned the mark since Hank Greenberg slugged 58 in Template:By. Fielder, whose previous high mark was 14 with Toronto in Template:By, provided a sudden and unexpected emergence as a legitimate slugger.

During the 1990s, Fielder built a reputation for clutch hitting and power, though the Tigers continued to be no better than mediocre. His new fans nicknamed him "Big Daddy" for his big smile, peaceful temperament, and prodigious home runs (as well as his massive physical stature).

In his six-year tenure with Detroit, Fielder had four consecutive 30-homer and 100-RBI seasons, and if the Template:By season had not been strike-shortened he almost certainly would have had another (he had 28 HRs and 90 RBI in 109 games that year). He became the only Tiger ever to hit at least 25 homers in six consecutive seasons. No player in Detroit history had hit as many over a six-year period (219), and no major league player had more home runs between 1990-95. In 1990, Fielder became the fourth American League player to have two 3-home run games in a season. Rickey Henderson and Cal Ripken, Jr. narrowly edged him for the AL's MVP Award in 1990 and 1991, respectively.

Fielder was a member of the All-Star Team in Template:By, Template:By, and Template:By. Fielder was named "Tiger of the Year" by the Detroit chapter of the BBWAA in Template:By, Template:By, and Template:By. He is the only player to receive the award three consecutive years.[1]

In 1992, Fielder avoided salary arbitration by agreeing to a 1-year, $4.5 million dollar contract, which at the time set a record for highest salary by an arbitration-eligible player. In 1993, Fielder signed a 5-year, $36 million dollar contract with the Tigers; which made him the highest paid player in baseball for 2 seasons (1995 and 1996) [2].

Fielder had a reputation as something of a slow baserunner [3]. In 1996 set a major league record by taking 1,096 games to record his first career stolen base, which occurred on a botched hit and run. He stole another base that season as well, and finished his career with 2 stolen bases over 13 seasons and 1,470 games. Fielder also had a reputation as a below average fielder, mostly caused by his poor speed and range. He was, however, considered an adept thrower and capable of scooping tough throws for putouts at first base.

Fielder's massive power was exemplified by two long blasts:

Later careerEdit

Fielder was traded to the New York Yankees on July 31, 1996, for Ruben Sierra and Matt Drews. Fielder's acquisition was integral in the Yankees' World Series championship that year. Fielder stayed with the Yankees in Template:By, and he played for the Anaheim Angels and Cleveland Indians in Template:By. Fielder was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays before the start of the 1999 season, but was let go after spring training. He subsequently retired.

In his career, Cecil Fielder batted .255, with 319 HRs, 1008 RBI, and a .482 slugging average, drawing 693 walks for a .345 on base percentage with 2 career stolen bases. As neither of his stolen bases came in the 1990 season, he held the single season record for most home runs (51) without a single stolen base (later passed by Mark McGwire's 52 HR and 65 HR seasons). He was inducted in the Kinston Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994.

Personal lifeEdit

In October 2004, The Detroit News reported that Fielder was suffering from domestic and gambling problems. They relied on court documents from Fielder's divorce and a lawsuit brought against him by Trump Plaza Hotel and Casinos in New Jersey describing debts to various casinos, credit card companies and banks. [5] Fielder later filed a libel suit against Gannett, the parent company of The Detroit News, and the lead reporter, Fred Girard, accusing them of slander and defamation of character. The suit sought US$25 million in damages and fees. The trial court dismissed the suit and the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the decision.[1]

Fielder's son Prince is a first baseman with the Milwaukee Brewers. Fielder was originally involved in his son's professional career, even negotiating his first contract. Because Cecil insisted upon getting a part of Prince's salary as a reward for assisting him, Prince and his family are no longer on speaking terms with Cecil.[6] On September 25, 2007, Prince hit his 50th home run of the season, making Cecil and Prince the only father/son duo in Major League history to each reach the milestone.

After managing the South Coast League's Charlotte County Redfish in Template:By, Fielder became the manager of the Atlantic City Surf of the Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball in Template:By.

Cite error: <ref> tags exist, but no <references/> tag was found