Designated Hitter – Cecil Fielder
Cecil Fielder’s career wasn’t objectively great when looked at overall, but his thunderous bat brought incredible excitement to the team when he came to town in 1990.
After spending the 1989 season in Japan, Fielder announced his return to the states with a bang. He crushed 51 home runs* in the 1990 season, the first 50+ home runs season the major leagues had seen since George Foster in 1977 and the first the American League had seen since Roger Maris in 1961.
*Fielder’s 51 home runs in 1990 means he has the same number of 50+ home run seasons as Barry Bonds.
Cecil finished as the runner up in the 1990 MVP balloting and then finished second again in 1991 when he belted a league leading 44 home runs.
He never again hit 40 home runs in a season, but remained a fan favorite in the city until he was traded to the New York Yankees in the middle of the 1996 season. Fielder spent a few years with the Yankees then Angels and Indians, but never repeated the level of success he had with the Tigers where he put up a .351 on-base percentage and .498 slugging average with 245 home runs.
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