Obscure Spotlight: Todd Zeile

toddzeileTodd  Zeile was the Forrest Gump of Major League Baseball–the guy was there for EVERYTHING. I wish I thought of this analogy, but it was Zeile himself who applied the Forrest label. Follow him @todd_zeile on Twitter.

Zeile’s pro baseball journey began in 1986 when he was picked in the second round by the Cardinals out of UCLA. In August of 1989 he made his Major League début as a 23-year old catcher. The following season Zeile was moved to third base and in his first full season in the Bigs he hit 15 homers and drove in 57, finishing 6th in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting.

Todd Zeile played sixteen seasons in the majors, gathering over 100 RBI just once, in 1993 for St. Louis. He hit 31 home runs for the Dodgers in 1997, his highest total as a Major Leaguer. Zeile never played in an all-star game. He also led the league in errors by a third baseman four times in his lengthy career–one in which he played on 11 teams, and switched between the American and National leagues an amazing seven times. He’s the only player in the history of baseball to hit a home run for more than 10 Major League clubs.

He also obstructed Chuck Knoblauch in controversial fashion on this play, which led to an outrageous argument between Bobby Valentine and umpire Doug Eddings:

Oft-forgotten about Zeile, however, is what a beast he was for the O’s during the 1996 ALCS.

He was the best hitter Baltimore had to offer, hitting .364 in the series, with three home runs and a 1.189 OPS–a series the Orioles lost in five to the eventual World Series champion Yankees.

Zeile finished his career with a .265 average, .346 on-base percentage, and a final home run count of 253. He played his last game on October 3, 2004, hitting homr number 253 in his last ever at-bat. Todd Zeile: known for very little, but always around. One of the foremost obscure athletes of the 1990s. We love ya, Todd!

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