Definitions

outfielder

Luis Gonzalez (outfielder)

Luis Emilio Gonzalez (born September 3, 1967 in Tampa, Florida), nicknamed "Gonzo" , is a Major League Baseball outfielder for the Florida Marlins. A Cuban-American, Gonzalez spent his best years with the Arizona Diamondbacks and was one of the most popular players in that organization's history. He is a native of Tampa, Florida, but he and his family (which includes wife Christine and triplets Megan, Jacob and Alyssa) are residents of Scottsdale, Arizona.

Professional career

Gonzalez graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Tampa, Florida in 1985, and attended the University of South Alabama. He earned Baseball America's All-Freshman Second Team honors while there. He was drafted by the Houston Astros in the fourth round of the 1988 amateur draft.

Astros, Cubs, Tigers

Gonzalez broke in as a Major League Baseball player with the Astros in . He made his debut on September 4, 1990, against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He struck out in his first appearance, as a pinch hitter. He recorded his first career hit on September 8 against Steve Bedrosian of the San Francisco Giants. He played in 12 games as a September call-up and became the Astros' primary left fielder in and played for the team until , when he and Scott Servais were traded in mid-season to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for catcher Rick Wilkins. He came back to Houston in as a free agent, but was not re-signed. So he signed with the Detroit Tigers in . He finally became a Diamondback when he was traded by Detroit to Arizona in December 1998 in exchange for Karim Garcia and cash.

Between 1990-1998, Gonzalez was a slightly below average player and was not putting up the kind of batting numbers expected of a corner outfielder. His best year during that period was , when his batting average was .300, with 162 hits, including 34 doubles and 15 home runs.

Arizona Diamondbacks

1999-2000

It was in Arizona that Gonzalez became a star. He helped the Diamondbacks into title contention immediately, hitting a career-best .336 in , leading the NL in hits with 206 and helping them win the National League's western division that season before the team fell to the New York Mets in a divisional playoff series. He was selected to his first All-Star Team in 1999. In , the Diamondbacks came in third place in their division. He also blasted 31 home runs and cracked 192 hits.

2001-2003

In , Gonzalez astonished many when he hit 57 home runs, his personal best for one season and almost twice as many as he hit in any other season. The total is the third most in National League history for a left-handed batter (behind Barry Bonds's record 73, which also came in 2001, and Ryan Howard, who hit 58 in ). Gonzalez was selected to his second All-Star Team and finished second in the NL in hits with 198. Gonzalez also won the Home Run Derby that year.

The Diamondbacks reached the World Series that year. In the climactic moment, Gonzalez came to the plate in the bottom of the 9th inning of game 7, with the game at a 2-2 tie, the bases loaded and 1 out. The Yankee pitcher was Mariano Rivera, one of the game's most feared closers with an especially good record in the postseason. Gonzalez swung at one of Rivera's pitches and hit a bloop single into left field that won the World Series for Arizona.

He was also selected to All-Star Teams in and . During the 2002 season, Gonzalez received publicity as a piece of gum chewed by Gonzalez during a spring training game was sold for $10,000 on April 15, 2002. The buyer was Curt Mueller, owner of Mueller Sports Medicine Inc., manufacturer of the gum, Quench.

2004-2006

On May 22, , Gonzalez got his 2,000th career hit in a game against the Florida Marlins. In , he was selected to his fifth All-Star Team. On April 18, , he got his 500th career double, becoming the 20th player in Major League history to hit 500 doubles and 300 home runs. On May 13, 2006, he passed Babe Ruth for 38th place all-time for the most doubles hit in league history.

On June 15, 2006, The Arizona Republic printed an interview by columnist E. J. Montini with Diamondback managing general partner Ken Kendrick. In the interview, Kendrick mentioned whispers of alleged steroid use by Gonzalez; in the interview Kendrick never directly accused Gonzalez of using performance enhancing drugs. The interview came 8 days after Diamondback relief pitcher Jason Grimsley was released by the team after the team learned that federal agents had searched his home looking for evidence that he was a distributor of human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing drugs. On June 16, 2006 an angry Gonzalez called a press conference to deny that he had ever used steroids.

Los Angeles Dodgers

On September 14, , the Diamondbacks announced that they would not pick up the team option of $10 million to re-sign Gonzalez after the 2006 season On December 7, Gonzalez signed a two-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers for $7 million for the season.

Gonzalez hit his first home run as a Dodger on Sunday, April 8, 2007 versus Barry Zito of the San Francisco Giants. He hit two home runs in that game.

Florida Marlins

On February 7, , he signed with the Florida Marlins. The deal is reportedly worth $2 million for 1 season. In acquiring Luis Gonzalez, the Marlins see him as a back-up to current leftfielder Josh Willingham and first baseman Mike Jacobs.

Career stats

Regular season

Year Team G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG BA SF SH HBP IBB GDP
1990 HOU 12 21 1 4 2 0 0 0 6 2 5 0 0 .261 .286 .190 0 0 0 1 0
1991 HOU 137 473 51 120 28 9 13 69 205 40 101 10 7 .320 .433 .254 4 1 8 4 9
1992 HOU 122 387 40 94 19 3 10 55 149 24 52 7 7 .289 .385 .243 2 1 2 3 6
1993 HOU 154 540 82 162 34 3 15 72 247 47 83 20 9 .361 .457 .300 10 3 10 7 9
1994 HOU 112 392 57 107 29 4 8 67 168 49 57 15 13 .353 .429 .273 6 0 3 6 10
1995 HOU 56 209 35 54 10 4 6 35 90 18 30 1 3 .322 .431 .258 3 1 3 3 8
1995 CHI 77 262 34 76 19 4 7 34 124 39 33 5 5 .384 .473 .290 3 0 3 5 8
1996 CHI 146 483 70 131 30 4 15 79 214 61 49 9 6 .354 .443 .271 6 1 4 8 13
1997 HOU 152 550 78 142 31 2 10 68 207 71 67 10 7 .345 .376 .258 5 0 5 7 12
1998 DET 154 547 84 146 35 5 23 71 260 57 62 12 7 .340 .475 .267 8 0 8 7 9
1999 AZ 153 614 112 206 45 4 26 111 337 66 63 9 5 .403 .549 .336 5 1 7 6 13
2000 AZ 162 618 106 192 47 2 31 114 336 78 85 2 4 .392 .544 .311 12 2 12 6 13
2001 AZ 162 609 128 198 36 7 57 142 419 100 83 1 1 .429 .688 .325 5 0 14 24 14
2002 AZ 148 524 90 151 19 3 28 103 260 97 76 9 2 .400 .496 .288 7 0 5 8 12
2003 AZ 156 579 92 176 46 4 26 104 308 94 67 5 3 .402 .532 .304 3 0 3 17 19
2004 AZ 105 379 69 98 28 5 17 48 187 68 58 2 2 .373 .493 .259 2 0 2 11 9
2005 AZ 155 579 90 157 37 0 24 79 266 78 90 4 1 .366 .459 .271 4 0 11 12 14
2006 AZ 153 586 93 159 52 2 15 73 260 69 58 0 1 .352 .444 .271 6 0 7 10 14
2007 LAD 139 464 70 129 23 2 15 68 201 56 56 6 2 .359 .433 .278 2 0 4 4 11
2008 FLO 134 340 30 89 26 1 8 47 141 40 43 1 2 .335 .415 .262 5 0 0 1 10
Total 2589 9156 1412 2591 596 68 354 1439 4385 1154 1218 128 87 .367 .479 .283 98 10 111 150 213

Other activities

Gonzalez has launched IsTalking, LLC, a Phoenix based company that develops new social networking Web sites exclusively for college students. The company just launched a new social network with Arizona State University called ASUIsTalking.com. He has also formed a partnership with the ASU Alumni Association to be the exclusive online social-network for its 250,000 members.

Gonzalez has served as a color commentator on ESPN Radio's broadcasts of National League Division Series games in recent years, and also worked on Fox Sports' television broadcast of the 2006 National League Championship Series.

Gonzalez formerly owned and operated a restaurant called Gonzo's, located in oldtown/downtown Gilbert, Arizona. It then changed name several times, and as of March, 2007, it is called "The Grain Belt".

Gonzalez is a prominent member of the U.S. Republican Party. As a resident of Arizona, he wrote a letter of endorsement for Arizona's Junior Senator, Jon Kyl, who won his bid for re-election in 2006.

Gonzalez was also the Celebrity face for a cornfield maze in Queen Creek, AZ for the Schnepf Farms' annual Celebrity Maze. Gonzalez is the first local celebrity featured. Oprah Winfrey, Larry King and Jay Leno were featured in the past.

See also

References

External links

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