Sep 20, 2015

Former NFL Running Back & Mets Outfielder: D.J. Dozier (1992)

William Henry Dozier was born on September 21th, 1965 at Norfolk, Virginia. The six foot right hand batter was originally signed by the Detroit Tigers in 1983 but chose not to sign, instead going off to college.

He attended Penn State University and became a star running back leading the Nitanny Lions in rushing four straight seasons. He was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in both November 1985 and again in 1987.


That year he scored the winning touchdown in the Fiesta Bowl in the National championship game win over the Miami Hurricanes. Dozier would be the Minnesota Vikings first round pick in 1987 (14th pick overall) debuting the following season.

In Minnesota he spent most of his time on the bench because the Vikings had Herschel Walker as their main back. He was traded to the Detroit Lions, only to sit behind another star running back; Barry Sanders. Dozier battled for his free agency, taking it all the way to court. After five NFL seasons no one signed him and he signed as an amateur free agent with the New York Mets.

In his NFL career he rushed the ball 172 times for 691 yards (4.0 average). In his final season he average 5.3 yards a rush. He threw one pass in his career, and he completed it. He caught 33 career passes, averaging 9.1 yards a catch. He also fumbled the ball 4 times & as a kick returner, he averaged 19.4 yards a return.

He spent two seasons in the Mets farm system, stealing 33 bases with 13 HRs in 93 games at A ball St. Lucie in 1990. Overall he batted .303 in A ball then AA ball. In 1991 he stole 33 bases, with 18 doubles, 11 triples, 9 HRs & 52 RBIs at both the AA & AAA levels.

The Mets called him up in May of 1992 and he made his MLB debut on May 5th in Cincinatti as a pinch hitter going 0-1 in a game against the Cincinnati Reds. Two days later he stayed in the game after coming in as a pinch runner & got his first MLB hit at Shea Stadium.

At the end of May he was sent back down to the minors but returned as a September call up, playing out the year. He only batted .191 (9-47) with four stolen bases, two RBIs & two doubles, playing in left field. In October he was sent to the San Diego Padres along with pitcher Wally Whitehurst for Tony Fernandez.

He spent the next season in the minors & then walked away from baseball as well as football in 1994 at the age of 29. He coached briefly at Virginia Beach’s Rocky Acadamey, and then joined a ministry in Orlando Florida.

Retirement: Since his sports days, Dozier has gone round the world serving in different Christian ministries. He has also worked as a financial planner & investment banker.

No comments: