Friday, April 22, 2011

Familiar Faces / Strange Places: Fred Lynn / Padres

In 1975 Fred Lynn burst into the big leagues winning the AL Rookie of the Year and the Most Valuable Player award, becoming the first player to ever win both awards in the same season. He also led his Boston Red Sox to the World Series where they lost to the Reds in seven exciting games. Combined with fellow Red Sox rookie Jim Rice, they were called the "gold dust twins".

Unfortunately for Red Sox fans, he couldn't maintain the same level of his rookie season. Lynn still excelled beyond your average major leaguer, winning three more Gold Gloves in 1978-80 and finishing 4th in the 1979 MVP voting and was elected to the All-Star team for nine straight seasons.

Having attended college at USC, Lynn had a strong desire to play in California. The Sox traded him the the Angels after the 1980 season. He performed well on a team that included 4 different MVPs. He was named MVP of the 1982 ALCS, becoming the first player to ever win the award for the losing team. In 1983, he hit the only grand slam in All-Star history and was named MVP in what turned out to be his last All Star game. His four home runs in All-Star games ranks second behind only to Stan Musial. One thing about Fred Lynn, he was incredibly predictable and consistent with his power production. From 1982-1988, his home run totals were 21-22-23-23-23-23-25.

After the 1984 season Lynn became a free agent and signed a fat contract with the Orioles, but never lived up to the very high expectations placed on him. He was traded to the Tigers in a 1988 deadline deal -- and played a single full in a stadium seemingly designed for this left handed swing. But, injuries and time had taken their toll. His once seemingly clear road to Cooperstown was detoured to a dead end.

Lynn wrapped up his career with one season with San Diego in 1990, retiring at the age of 38 with 306 career home runs and 1111 RBIs. He was elected to the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2002 and College World Series Hall of Fame in 2007. You can check out his own personal web site here.


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