Dec 13, 2014

Former Italian / American Player: Joe Randa (1995-2006)

Joseph Gregory Salvatore Randa was born December 18, 1969 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A star athlete from early on, in high school he played baseball, basketball, tennis & football having his #12 retired by the school.

The five foot eleven infielder, attended the University of Tennessee getting signed by the Kansas City Royals in 11th round of the 1991 draft. He hit over .290 three times in the minors making it to the big leagues in 1995.

In 1996 he became the Royals regular third baseman, leading the team (tied with Jose Offerman) in batting at batting .303. He also had 24 doubles 6 HRs 47 RBIs & 13 stolen bases. The next season he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Jay Bell & Jeff King. He spent just one year with the Pirates batting .302 helping the Pirates remain in the pennant race despite having the league's lowest payroll.

It was there he earned the nickname “The Joker” because his teammates said he resembled the comic book villain when he smiled. Randa was always smiling & was known for being a good guy with a positive attitude.

In late 1997 he got drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the expansion draft but was soon traded to the Detroit Tigers playing there for one season. On December 4th 1998 he was traded to the New York Mets for Willie Bair. He was a Met for just six days, never suiting up as he was quickly traded back to the Royals for a minor leaguer on December 10th 1998.

Randa would spend the next six seasons in Kansas City as one of the leagues better infielders. After coming in second place in fielding percentage three straight years, he led all AL third baseman in 2003 (.980%). That year Randa set the Kansas City Royals' team record for the most consecutive errorless games by a third baseman, going 75 games without an error. He also led the league in put outs three times (1999-2001) games played twice (1999-2000) & assists once (1999) at third base.

He batted over.290 three times, including two .300 seasons. He hit over 30 doubles six times & was among the league leaders in triples, singles, & sac flies over those seasons as well. In 1999 he had career highs in batting (.314) runs scored (92) & hits (197) posting a .363 on base %.

He followed up in 2000 with a career high 106 RBIs while batting .304 with 15 HRs & 186 hits. In 2005 he was granted free agency & signed with the Cincinnati Reds.

During the season he was traded to the San Diego Padres, and then finished out the year as thier main third baseman behind Sean Burroughs. Randa's last year was spent back in Pittsburgh in 2006.

After 12 seasons he hit .284 with 1543 hits 123 HRs 327 doubles 36 triples 739 RBIs 67 sac flies (150th all time) & a .339 on base %. At third base he played 1362 games (53rd most all time) & his .962 fielding % is 40th best all time . He made 2489 assists are 62nd all time with 1005 put outs (88th all time).

Retirement: He is currently a host of Crunch Time on Sports Radio 810 in Kansas City

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