Sep 18, 2012

Former Mets Utility Player: Desi Relaford (2001)

Desmond Lamont Relaford was born September 16, 1973 in Valdosta, Georgia. He was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the fourth round, of the 1991 draft.

Relaford spent five years in the Mariners minor leagues then was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for pitcher Terry Mulholland. Relaford became a utility infielder for the Phillies from 1997-2000. In 1998 he played a career high 142 games hitting .245 with 5 HRs 25 doubles 9 stolen bases & 41 RBIs.

He played in far fewer games in 1999 (65) hitting just .242. He dropped off to .221 in 2000 & after 83 games was dealt to the San Diego Padres. In San Diego he hit just .204 and got put on waivers. He was picked up by the New York Mets for the 2001 season and wound up having a career year.

He was another one of Bobby Valentines all around guys, playing at second base, third base, short stop and even got to pitch. In that outing he threw one perfect inning & had one ball reach 90 mph. Relaford had a big day on April 26th at Milwaukee gathering up four hits with a double, his first Mets HR & two RBIs. Two days later he came back to have a three hit day in St. Louis. In May 8th at Coors Field in Colorado Desi hit a pair of HRs scoring all four Mets runs in the 12-4 loss.

Relaford made the most of his opportunity to play, as he kept his batting average up around .300 through most of the season. On September 27th in a game centerfieldmaz attended in Montreal, Relaford had three hits while driving in three runs in the Mets 12-6 win. On the season he batted .302 with 8 HRs 27 doubles 36 RBIs & a 364 on base %, while leading the team with 13 stolen bases & 5 sac flies.

He played in 120 games (340 at bats). During the year he had 24 multiple hit games and a pair of four hit games as well. At second base he played 54 games, posting a .969 fielding % making six errors in 196 chances. At shortstop he played 25 games making three errors in 71 chances with a .958 fielding %. He also played 20 games at third posting a .939 fielding %.

After the season he was traded to the San Francisco Giants along with Tsuyoshi Shinjo for pitcher Shawn Estes. The next month he was sent to the Seattle Mariners for David Bell. He hit .267 in Seattle and his average gradually dropped over the next three seasons. He would play in Kansas City for two seasons batting .254 with 27 doubles 8 HRs & a career high 59 RBIs in 2003. Relaford would also play a year in Colorado, ten miss the entire 2006 season. He came back to play 14 games for the Texas Rangers in 2007 finishing up his career.

In a dozen seasons, he was a lifetime .243 hitter with 714 hits 40 HRs, 147 doubles, & 308 RBIs.

Retirement: Relaford now lives in Jacksonville Florida where he opened a baseball facility. He is also the founder of the underground Six Hole Records.

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