Luis Gonzalez (outfielder)


Luis Gonzalez (outfielder)

Infobox MLB player
name = Luis Gonzalez


width = 224
caption =
team = Florida Marlins
number = 26
position = Outfielder
birthdate = birth date and age|1967|9|3
birthplace = city-state|Tampa|Florida
bats = Left
throws = Right
debutdate = September 4
debutyear = 1990
debutteam = Houston Astros
statyear = 2008
stat1label = Batting average
stat1value = .283
stat2label = Home runs
stat2value = 354
stat3label = Runs batted in
stat3value = 1,439
teams =
*Houston Astros (by|1990by|1995)
*Chicago Cubs (by|1995by|1996)
*Houston Astros (by|1997)
*Detroit Tigers (by|1998)
*Arizona Diamondbacks (by|1999by|2006)
*Los Angeles Dodgers (by|2007)
*Florida Marlins (by|2008-present)
awards =
*World Series champion (2001)
*Silver Slugger Award winner (by|2001)
*5x All-Star selection (by|1999, by|2001, by|2002, by|2003, by|2005)
*Led NL in hits in by|1999

Luis Emilio Gonzalez (born September 3, 1967 in Tampa, Florida), nicknamed "Gonzo" [ [http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=gonzalu01 Luis Gonzalez Baseball Stats by Baseball Almanac ] ] , 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 by|1990. 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 by|1991 and played for the team until by|1995, 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 by|1997 as a free agent, but was not re-signed. So he signed with the Detroit Tigers in by|1998. 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 by|1993, 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 by|1999, 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 by|2000, the Diamondbacks came in third place in their division. He also blasted 31 home runs and cracked 192 hits.

2001-2003

In by|2001, 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 by|2006). 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 by|2002 and by|2003. 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. [ [http://espn.go.com/sportsbusiness/news/2002/0415/1369298.html ESPN.com: SPORTSBUSINESS - Gonzo's gum going, going, gone for 10 grand ] ] The buyer was Curt Mueller, owner of Mueller Sports Medicine Inc., manufacturer of the gum, Quench. [ [http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1P2-6091239.html Entrepreneur pays a wad for the wads - The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Encyclopedia.com ] ]

2004-2006

On May 22, by|2004, Gonzalez got his 2,000th career hit in a game against the Florida Marlins. In by|2005, he was selected to his fifth All-Star Team. On April 18, by|2006, 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 [Cite web
url=http://mlb.com/team/player_career.jsp?player_id=114935&y=2006|title=Luis Gonzalez 2006 Career Highlights|publisher=MLB.com|accessdate=2008-05-11
] , 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. [ [http://www.azcentral.com/sports/diamondbacks//articles/0615montini0615.html Suspicions sank some D-Backs ] ] 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. [ [http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2486240 ESPN - Luis Gonzalez angry over steroid rumors - MLB ] ]

Los Angeles Dodgers

On September 14, by|2006, the Diamondbacks announced that they would not pick up the team option of $10 million to re-sign Gonzalez after the 2006 season [. [http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2588223] ] On December 7, Gonzalez signed a two-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers for $7 million for the by|2007 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, by|2008, 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

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 [ [http://www.asuistalking.com 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. [ [http://www.azgop.org/FlexPage.aspx?area=gonzo] ]

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. [ [http://www.azcentral.com/community/gilbert/articles/0930gr-Maze0930Z12.html Gonzo enjoys cornfield maze likeness ] ]

ee also

* MLB players who have hit 30 or more home runs before the All-Star break
* 50 home run club
* List of major league players with 2,000 hits
* Top 500 home run hitters of all time
* List of Major League Baseball doubles records
* List of Major League Baseball players with 400 doubles
* List of Major League Baseball players with 1000 runs
* List of Major League Baseball players with 1000 RBI
* Hitting for the cycle
* Major League Baseball hitters with three home runs in one game

References

External links

*" [http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS179027+25-Mar-2008+BW20080325 MLB All-Star Luis Gonzalez Launches Social Networking Sites for College Students] " — Reuters March 25, 2008
*" [http://www.azcentral.com/sports/diamondbacks/articles/1206gonzo1207.html Gonzo signs deal with Dodgers] " — The Arizona Republic December 6, 2006
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