MLB Power Rankings: The Greatest Left Fielders in Each Team’s History

April WeinerCorrespondent IFebruary 1, 2011

MLB Power Rankings: The Greatest Left Fielders in Each Team’s History

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    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 17:  Johnny Damon #18 of the New York Yankees makes a catch in left field in the top of the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Game Two of the ALCS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 17, 200
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    A lot of names come to mind when you think of the question: Who was the greatest left fielder in all of history?

    It's a tough question to answer. We made it a little bit easier by breaking it down by team.

    In the series of greatest player at the various positions in each team’s history, here’s the latest installment: the greatest left fielder for each team.

Baltimore Orioles: Frank Robinson

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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 28:  Hall of Famer Frank Robinson on the field before Game Two of the 2010 MLB World Series between the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on October 28, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Doug Pensi
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Frank Robinson had most of his best years with the Cincinnati Reds. But the reason he is listed under the Orioles is because after nine seasons with the Reds, Cincinnati thought he had had his best years and was done.

    They couldn't have been more wrong.

    In five years with the Baltimore Orioles, Robinson began his career in Baltimore by winning the AL Triple Crown.

    During his tenure with the Orioles, he helped the team to win two World Series and three AL pennants. He also was selected for the All-Star game every year but one with the Orioles.

Boston Red Sox: Ted Williams

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    COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 25:  A statue of Ted Williams is seen at the National Baseball Hall of Fame during induction weekend on July 25, 2009 in Cooperstown, New York.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    This was a tough choice because the Red Sox have had a long line of great left fielders.

    But I have to give it to Ted Williams. After spending all of his 21 seasons with the Boston Red Sox, I think Williams deserves it. He was a 19-time All-Star. He handed off his legacy to Carl Yastrzemski.

    Honorable Mention: Carl Yastrzemski

    Yastrzemski took over for the great Ted Williams and impressed. He played all of his 23-year career with the Boston Red Sox. He accumulated seven Gold Gloves over his career.

Chicago White Sox: Shoeless Joe Jackson

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    DYERSVILLE, IA - AUGUST 25: A 'ghost player' recreating the role of Chicago White Sox legend Shoeless Joe Jackson plays ball with a young tourist at the baseball field created for the motion picture 'Field of Dreams' on August 25, 1991 in Dyersville, Iowa
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    His career may have been tainted by the Black Sox scandal, but you can’t argue that “Shoeless” Joe Jackson wasn’t one of the all-time greats.

    Jackson was known primarily for his offensive and baserunning prowess, but he was an excellent fielder as well. During the infamous World Series loss to the Cincinnati Reds, Jackson posted perfect fielding, committing no errors and even throwing out a runner at the plate, which can be a difficult task for some outfielders.

    He probably would have had even better defensive numbers if he hadn’t allegedly helped fix the Series by not making defensive plays.

Cleveland Indians: Manny Ramirez

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    15 Apr 2000: Manny Ramirez #24 of the Cleveland Indians stands ready at bat during the game against the Texas Rangers at the Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Ohio. The Rangers defeated the Indians 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Harry How  /Allsport
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Ramirez is probably best known for his years in Boston and then Los Angeles, but Ramirez spent his first seven seasons with the Cleveland Indians.

    Ramirez is better known for his batting than his fielding. His fielding can be good, but he'll have little lapses from time to time. 

    He has been criticized for “Being Manny,” first coined by his Indians manager Mike Hargrove, to describe his lapses in hustling in the outfield or running the bases.

Detroit Tigers: Bobby Veach

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    NEW YORK - AUGUST 19:  Eddie Bonine #49 of the Detroit Tigers walks off the mound at the end of the sixth inning after allowing two runs against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on August 19, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees h
    Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    Bobby Veach played 11 seasons as the Detroit Tigers starting left fielder. He was part of the “greatest outfield of all time,” dubbed of the Veach, Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford trio by baseball historian Bill James.

    Veach was talented at the bat, but he was also an impressive left fielder. His speed increased his range factor. That, and his strong arm helped him to lead the American League with putouts and assists by an outfielder in 1921.

    His career total assists and range factor are among the top 10 in baseball history for left fielders.

Kansas City Royals: Bo Jackson

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - 1990:  Bo Jackson #16 of the Kansas City Royals stands on base during a game in the 1990 season at Royals Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Bo Jackson was an amazing athlete—playing both professional baseball and professional football. He was drafted into the NFL by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but chose to sign with the MLB’s Kansas City Royals instead.

    In 1989, Jackson was the All-Star game MVP for both his offense and defense. One of the most impressive displays of his talent in left field was in 1989. Jackson threw out Seattle Mariners’ Harold Reynolds from the warning track—a play that probably couldn’t be repeated.

    There was also Jackson’s famous “wall run” in 1990 when he made a catch a couple steps away from the wall, then to avoid running into the wall ran up and along the wall before coming down, thus avoiding a collision and potential injury from the impact.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Brian Downing

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    ANAHEIM, CA - 1989:  Brian Downing of the California Angels bats during a game in the 1989 season against the New York Yankees at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Brian Downing played 13 seasons for the California Angels (now the LA Angels).

    He was originally a catcher, with a great bat. In 1980, he suffered a broken ankle and to protect his offense, the Angels moved him to the outfield—a position he would play for his last 10 years as an Angel.

    Because of his former position, Downing didn’t have great speed or great range in the outfield. But he worked hard and had good hands. He even played the entire 1982 season without committing an error.

Minnesota Twins: Goose Goslin

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 18: Tsuyoshi Nishioka #1 of the Minnesota Twins puts on his Twins hats for members of the media during a press conference on December 18, 2010 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien /Getty Images)
    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Goslin is considered to be one of the greatest left fielders of all time. He played the majority of his career for the Washington Senators (now the Minnesota Twins).

    Goose Goslin played 11 seasons altogether for the Senators. At 20, Goslin was called up from the minors to play the final two weeks of the 1921 baseball season for the Senators. He never looked back.

    In 1922, he earned his spot in left field, which he would hold until 1930. Goslin is better known for his appearances at bat, than for his defense in left field though.

New York Yankees: Dave Winfield

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    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 21:  Dave Winfield takes the field during a pregame ceremony prior to the start of the last regular season game at Yankee Stadium between the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees on September 21, 2008 in the Bronx borough of New
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    The New York Yankees lineup has always been talent-packed, making it difficult to choose a best player for any position.

    Dave Winfield may not have begun his career in New York, but he had arguably the best years of his career in New York. He was stellar offensively but will be remembered for his defense as well.

    He won an astounding five of his career seven Gold Gloves (three of them were back-to-back-to-back) with the Yankees for his outstanding defense in the outfield. Among all the other Yankee greats, Winfield holds his own, quite a feat.

Oakland Athletics: Rickey Henderson

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    OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 24:  Former member of the Oakland Athletics Rickey Henderson looks on against the Texas Rangers during a Major League Baseball game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 24, 2010 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jed
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Rickey Henderson is another all-time greatest left fielder. He played some of his best years in an Oakland uniform. He played for the Oakland Athletics on four different occasions, for a cumulative 11 years as an Athletic.

    Six of his 10 All-Star selections, and his Gold Glove came when he was in Oakland. For his fielding, he became known for his “snatch catches,” after he made a catch.

Seattle Mariners: Raul Ibanez

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    SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 07:  Raul Ibanez #28 of the Seattle Mariners bats during the game against the New York Yankees on September 7, 2008 at Safeco Field in Seattle Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Ibanez played a cumulative eight seasons with the Seattle Mariners. He was best known for his offense but was solid defensively too.

    In 671 career games at left field for the Mariners, he has 1,232 putouts and 58 assists. His defense improved in later seasons.

Tampa Bay Rays: Carl Crawford

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    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 29:  Outfielder Carl Crawford #13 of the Tampa Bay Rays catches a fly ball against the Baltimore Orioles during the game at Tropicana Field on September 29, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    The Tampa Bay Rays have not been around that long so it will probably not surprise many to see the name Carl Crawford.

    Carl Crawford signed with the Boston Red Sox over the offseason to become the latest in a line of great left fielders for the Sox.

    Crawford is typically known for his offensive stats, but in 2010, he was rewarded for his defense with a Gold Glove. I’m sure it won’t be the last Gold Glove for Crawford.

Texas Rangers: Josh Hamilton

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 31:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers makes a diving catch in the second inning against the San Francisco Giants in Game Four of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Tex
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    He’s only been a Texas Ranger since 2008, but he’s shaping up to be one of their best players. He has been selected to the All-Star game all three of his seasons with the club and is perhaps best known for his 2008 home run derby performance.

    He hit 28 home runs in one round, beating the previous record of 24. He continued his successful years in 2009 and 2010, even winning the AL MVP in 2010.

Toronto Blue Jays: Joe Carter

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    8 Jul 1995:  First baseman Joe Carter of the Toronto Blue Jays swings at the ball during a game against the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California.  The Blue Jays won the game 9-6. Mandatory Credit: Jed Jacobsohn  /Allsport
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Joe Carter didn’t begin his career with the Toronto Blue Jays, but he had his best years in a Blue Jays uniform.

    During his six-year tenure in Toronto, Carter received all five of his career All-Star selections. He also won back-to-back World Series with the Jays.

    Offensively, he won his two Silver Slugger Awards with the Jays as well.

Atlanta Braves: Rico Carty

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    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 11:  Manager Bobby Cox #6 of the Atlanta Braves waves to the crowd after the Braves were defeated by the San Francisco Giants 3-2 during Game Four of the NLDS of the 2010 MLB Playoffs on October 11, 2010  at Turner Field in Atlanta, Geor
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Rico Carty was great at offense, but not so great at defense. He began his career as a catcher, but with his poor defensive skills was moved to the outfield.

    His play was better in the outfield. He played 10 of his 15 seasons as a left fielder. He finished his career with 1,239 putouts and 33 assists as a LF.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Luis Gonzalez

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    PHOENIX - AUGUST 07:  Luis Gonzalez speaks during his number retirement ceremony before the Major League Baseball game between the San Diego Padres and the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 7, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Pet
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Gonzalez spent seven seasons in Arizona. They were arguably his best years.

    All five of his All-Star selections came while he was in Arizona. He helped them to win the World Series in 2001.

    His number, 30, was retired by the Diamondbacks.

Chicago Cubs: Billy Williams

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    CHICAGO - OCTOBER 4:  Former Cub Billy Williams throws out the ceremonial first pitch before the Chicago Cubs take on the Atlanta Braves during game four of their National League Division Series October 4, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois.  (Pho
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Billy Williams played 15 seasons for the Chicago Cubs. His rookie season (1961), he was chosen as the NL Rookie of the Year. He was selected to six All-Star Games during that period.

    His number, 26, was retired by the Cubs. In addition to retiring his number, the Cubs announced that they will be erecting a statue of Williams outside of Wrigley Field to honor his legacy as a Chicago Cub left fielder.

Cincinnati Reds: George Foster

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    CINCINNATI - OCTOBER 10: Starting pitcher Johnny Cueto #47 of the Cincinnati Reds walks back to the dugout after the 5th inning against the Philadelphia Phillies during game 3 of the NLDS at Great American Ball Park on October 10, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    George Foster spent 10 years in the Cincinnati Reds franchise. He began in right field, as Pete Rose was in left. Then Pete Rose was moved to third base, and Foster took his place in left.

    That’s when Foster really came into his own. He became a vital part of “The Big Red Machine.” During that time, Foster was selected to five All-Star Games. He also was part of two championship teams in Cincinnati.

Colorado Rockies: Matt Holliday

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    DENVER - JULY 20:  Matt Holliday #5 of the Colorado Rockies plays defense against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Coors Field on July 20, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the Pirates 11-3.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Matt Holliday began his career in Colorado and spent four seasons there. He was selected to three All-Star Games and awarded three Silver Slugger Awards during his tenure there.

    In 2007, he was the NLCS MVP.

Florida Marlins: Jeff Conine

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    NEW YORK - JULY 19:  Jeff Conine #18 of the Florida Marlins leaps but can not catch a three-run home run hit by Shane Spencer #43 of the New York Mets on July 19, 2004, at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Jeff Conine is known as Mr. Marlin.

    He is the only player to have played in the Marlins first season and on both of their World Series championship teams (1997 and 2003).

    He was selected to the All-Star Game twice, as a Florida Marlin.

Houston Astros: Lance Berkman

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    CHICAGO - JULY 21: Jeff Keppinger #8 (L) and Lance Berkman #17 of the Houston Astros avoid a collision as they try to catch a fly ball against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on July 21, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Astros defeated the Cubs 4-3 in 12
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Lance Berkman played his first 11 seasons in Houston. He was moved around between first base and the outfield.

    Berkman played a significant role in the Houston Astros for the past decade, before being traded to the New York Yankees.

    During his tenure in Houston, he was selected to the All-Star Game five times.  

Los Angeles Dodgers: Kirk Gibson

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    SAN DIEGO - 1988:  Kirk Gibson #23 of the Los Angeles Dodgers gets under a fly ball during a 1988 game against the San Diego Padres at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Gibson didn’t spend much of his career in a Dodgers uniform, but he made an impact. He brought leadership to the table and got the team focused on the right track.

    He was a big part of their 1988 World Series win. In the NLCS, he made an amazing diving catch in wet grass in left field to save the Dodgers’ win.

    Then during the Series, Gibson didn’t play much because of a virus and injuries. But he made one pinch hit appearance and made it count. He limped up to bat and hit a home run off of Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley.

    Gibson’s tenure may have been short, but his impact was huge.

Milwaukee Brewers: Ryan Braun

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    HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 15:  Left fielder Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers makes a running catch on a ball hit by Angel Sanchez of the Houston Astros in the ninth inning at Minute Maid Park on September 15, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/G
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    His career is young yet so this may be presumptuous, but if he continues on the path he’s headed down, I believe by the end of his career, he will be lauded the greatest left fielder in Brewers history.

    In 2008, he led major league outfielders in fielding percentage. In 2009, he led NL left fielders in putouts, range factor and fielding percentage.

    He’s also started in three All-Star Games so far in his young career.

New York Mets: Moises Alou

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    NEW YORK - MAY 12: Moises Alou #18 of the New York Mets can't make the catch at the wall of a Lastings Milledge double against the Washington Nationals at Shea Stadium on May 12, 2008 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Moises Alou could have had a more impressive career with the Mets, was it not cut short by injury. In 97 games as a New York Met, Alou had 156 putouts, seven assists and only four errors.

    However, during Alou’s first season with the Mets, he tore his quadriceps muscle and missed a significant amount of play. Upon his return though, he rebounded with a 30-game hitting streak, the longest of the 2007 season, for a player over 40, and breaking the Mets record.

    Then, the next year, Alou’s bad luck continued. He had a hernia and then during his rehabilitation, he tore his right hamstring. He subsequently retired.

Philadelphia Phillies: Ed Delahanty

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    PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 15: Pitcher Cliff Lee #33 of the Philadelphia Phillies talks with the media while general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. watches during a press conference at Citizens Bank Park on December 15, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by
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    Delahanty played for Philadelphia Phillies in the late 1800s.

    He was known as being one of the first real power hitters in the game. He was best known for his offense and base-running; Delahanty was a gifted base-stealer.

    He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1945.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Willie Stargell

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    PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 23:  Manager John Russell #7 of the Pittsburgh Pirates jobs back to the dugout after relieving Brian Burres #71 during the game against the St Louis Cardinals on September 23, 2010 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    He played all of his 21-career seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. During his career, he helped the Pirates win six NL East division titles, two NL pennants and two World Series championships.

    During the last World Series title (1979), Stargell was awarded the NL MVP, the NLCS MVP and the World Series MVP. He was selected to seven All-Star Games in his career as well.

    His number, 8, was retired by the Pittsburgh Pirates, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, 1988.

San Diego Padres: Dave Winfield

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    SAN FRANCISCO - JULY 08:  USA Team All-Star manager Dave Winfield of the San Diego Padres looks on from the dugout against the World Team All-Stars during the XM Satellite Radio All-Star Futures Game at AT&T Park on July 8, 2007 in San Francisco, Californ
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Dave Winfield is on here twice. That’s because he was a fantastic outfielder.

    He played his first seven years in San Diego. He was team captain from 1978, until his departure to the Yankees in 1980.

    His number, 31, was retired by the Padres. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.

San Francisco Giants: Barry Bonds

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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 19:  Former San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds throws out the first pitch prior to Game Three of the NLCS against the San Francisco Giants during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at AT&T Park on October 19, 2010 in San Francisco, Cal
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Barry Bonds probably won’t be remembered for his defense in left field. He’ll be remembered for his offense—his home run record and..well let’s keep this list positive.

    He was selected to 12 All-Star Games and won five Gold Gloves as a Giant.

    He holds many other records as well. This is why he’ll go down as the greatest left fielder in San Francisco Giants history.

St. Louis Cardinals: Stan Musial

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    ST. LOUIS - OCTOBER 2: Former St. Louis Cardinals player Stan Musial greets members of the St. Louis Cardinals in between innings against the Colorado Rockies at Busch Stadium on October 2, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Cardinals beat the Rockies 1-0
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Stan Musial was one of the most talented players. He was selected to the All-Star Game a remarkable 24 times.

    During his career in St. Louis, he helped the team win three World Series titles. He was also named the NL MVP three times.

    His number, 6, was retired by the St. Louis Cardinals. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1969.

Washington Nationals: Tim Raines

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    5 Apr 2001:  Tim Raines #30 of the Montreal Expos runs the bases during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Expos 2-1.Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel  /Allsport
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Tim Raines played for the Montreal Expos from 1979-1990 (and then again briefly in 2001). During his career in Montreal, he was selected to the All-Star Game seven times, becoming the MVP of the 1987 Game.

    He played excellent defense stemming from his aggressive style of play. In 1983, he led the league with 21 assists and in 1985 tied for the lead with four double plays.   

    His number, 30, was retired by the Montreal Expos.