Former Mets Utility Player: Desi Relaford (2001)

Desmond Lamont Relaford
was born September 16, 1973, in Valdosta, Georgia. Relaford 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. 

MLB Career: 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.

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

Mets Career: Desi was another one of Bobby Valentines all around utility guys, playing at second base, third base, short stop and even got to pitch a game. In that outing he threw one perfect inning & had one pitch reach 90 mph. 

On April 26th, Relaford had a big day at Milwaukee gathering up four hits while hitting his first Mets HR. He also doubled & drove in two runs. Two days later he came back to have a three-hit game in St. Louis. 

On 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.

Post 911 Games: In the first game played after the 911 attacks, Relaford collected two hits in the 4-1 win over the Pirates in Pittsburgh. On September 21st, in the now famous game where Mike Piazza's 8th inning HR beat the Atlanta Braves in the first game played back in New York after 911, Relaford was on base as a pinch runner when Piazza blasted his HR off Steve Karsay.

On September 27th, in a game
centerfieldmaz attended in Montreal at Stade Olympique between the Mets & Expos, 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 %.

Post Mets Career: After the season he was traded to the San Francisco Giants along with Tsuyoshi Shinjo for pitcher Shawn Estes. He was then sent to the Seattle Mariners for David Bell. 

In 2002 Desi hit .267 in Seattle with 6 HRs & 43 RBIs. He was granted free agency & signed on with the Kansas City Royals for two seasons. 

In 2003 he batted .254 with 8 HRs matching a career high 27 doubles & driving in a career best 59 runs. Relaford would then play one season in Colorado. He missed the entire 2006 season, then came back to play 14 games for the Texas Rangers in 2007 finishing up his career.

Career Stats: In a twelve-year career, he batted .243 hitter with 714 hits 40 HRs 147 doubles 308 RBIs & a .319 on base %.

Retirement: From 2021 to 2023 Relaford managed the Danville Otterbots of the Appalachian League.

Desi & his wife Cassandra lives in Jacksonville Florida where he opened a baseball facility. Together they have two daughters. He is also the founder of the underground Six Hole Records.


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