Sep 27, 2016

Former Mets First Baseman: Dave Magadan (1986-1992)

David Joseph Magadan was born September 30, 1962 in Tampa, Florida. Magadan was originally drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1980 but chose to stay in school instead.

He was the MVP of the American Legion World Series, and then attended the University of Alabama where he won the Golden Spikes Award in 1983.

He helped the Crimson Tide get to the College World Series where he faced Calvin Schiraldi & Roger Clemens. He was selected College Player of the Year by Baseball America and got signed by the New York Mets, as a second round pick in 1983.

Magadan was pure natural hitter, batting well over .300 at all minor league levels, getting a cup of coffee to te big leagues in September of 1986. He came up as a third & first baseman making his Mets debut on September 7, 1986. He got his first start on September 17th, the night the Mets clinched the 1986 NL East title. Magadan went 3-4 with 2 RBIs, as everything seemed to go well for the Mets in those days. He went 8-18 that September but was not eligible for post season play.

In 1987 he hit a pinch hit HR in his second game played, & strong May gave him a .323 average at months end. He hit well through the summer, including a four hit day at Shea against the Chicago Cubs on August 9th. 

Overall he got into 85 games, hitting .318, with 3 HRs 13 doubles 22 walks 24 RBIs & a .385 on base percentage. He showed good patience at the plate and didn’t strike out much, just 22 times in 192 at bats. Manager Davey Johnson tried to get him in the lineup as often as he could although it was tough with Keith Hernandez at first & Howard Johnson at third base.

In 1988 he had a bad start hitting just .209 by early June. He then hit safely in 30 of his next 35 games, and was up at .314 near the All Star break. He then dropped off to a bit to finish with a .277 average in 314 at bats, he hit 1 HR with 15 doubles with 35 RBIs. He played in 71 games at first base behind Keith Hernandez posting a .988 fielding % & 48 games at third base making 4 errors in 83 chances. In the 1988 NLCS he went 0-3 as a pinch hitter in three games.

In 1989 he got into 127 games as injury as age began to catch up to Keith Hernandez. On May 13th his 11th inning RBI single off San Diego’s Greg Harris was a game winner walk off for a Mets win.

Three weeks later on June 3rd he hit a walk off HR in the 11th inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates. On the 1989 season Magadan batted .286, with 22 doubles, 4 HRs 49 walks a .367 on base % & 41 RBIs, while posting a .991 fielding percentage playing a solid first base.

By 1990 Magadan became the Mets everyday first baseman by June, beating out Mike Marshall for the job when he was hitting over .300. On June 12th he had a huge day at Wrigley Field gathering up four hits with six RBIs and a HR in the Mets 19-8 win. He got three more hits the next day & then in the next three game series at Pittsburgh he had eight hits with another four hit day on June 15th.

He closed out the month hitting safely in 15 of 16 games with nine multiple hit games raising his average to .361 by July 1st. Hit continued hitting well through the rest of the year hitting .328 (3rd in the league), posted the leagues 2nd best on base percentage (.417). He drew 77 walks (8th in the league) & had 10 sacrifice flies (5th in the league). He hit 28 doubles, with 6 HRs, & 72 RBIs.

Overall he played in a career high 144 games in the 1990 season with 10 sac flies (5th in the NL). At first base he led all first baseman with a .998 fielding percentage, making only two errors in 903 chances with 113 games at that position.

He was never able to put up the same kind of numbers again, dropping to a.258 average the next year, although he still posted a strong .378 on base percentage. He was the Mets main first baseman that season although the team finished a disappointing 5th.

1992 would be his last season as a Met; he brought his average back up to .283 with a .390 on base percentage, although he was limited to playing only 99 games. The Mets had acquired Hall of Famer Eddie Murray for first base, & Magadan was moved over to third base full time.

He had been playing a small number of games at that position for the past few seasons. He posted a .941 fielding percentage making 11 errors in 187 chances. The Mets didn’t resign him in 1993 as Howard Johnson came back to third base after playing in centerfield the previous year. Magadan signed on with the expansion Florida Marlins as a free agent for 1993.

There he batted .286 with 4 HRs 12 doubles & 44 RBIs in 66 games before being traded to the Seattle Mariners that June. He was traded back to Florida batting .275 in 74 games played behind Jerry Browne who hit .295. Magadan then signed a one year deal as a free agent with the Houston Astros in 1995 where he hit .313 with 24 doubles 2 HRs 51 RBIs 71 walks & a career high .428 on base %. After a year in Chicago with the Cubs (78 games batting .254), he went to the Oakland Athletics for two seasons.

In 1997 he hit over .303 with a .414 on base % in 128 games. The next season he missed alot of action playing in only 35 games but batted .321. In 1999 he was a member of the NL Western Champion San Diego Padres, batting .274 with 2 HRs 12 doubles & 30 RBIs. He stayed in San Diego for three seasons finishing out his career there in 2001.

In his 16 year playing career (1582 games) he had 1197 hits, batting .288, with 218 doubles 13 triples 42 HRs & 495 RBIs posting a .390 on base percentage putting him at #101 all time. At first base he posted a .994 fielding % (60th all time) making 28 errors in 4344 chances. At third base he posted a .951 fielding % with 71 errors in 1449 chances turning 84 double plays.

Retirement: After his playing days, he first became the San Diego Padres hitting coach (2003-2006). He then became the Boston Red Sox hitting coach (2007-through the present 2011) winning a World Series there in 2007, as his team batted .333 in the Series.

In his first season as their batting coach the team improved in batting average (.269 to .279), slugging percentage (.435 to .444) and on base percentage (.351 to .362), leading the American League with 689 walks.

In 2008 they led the league in walks & on base % coming in second with a .280 batting average. In 2009 he was suspended for one game after arguing balls & strikes with umpire Bob Davidson, that season the Sox fell to 4th with a .270 batting average, coming in second in doubles, walks, slugging & on base %.

In 2010 they were 5th with a .268 batting average, but second in HRs, runs scored & slugging. In 2011 the Red Sox finished second in hitting with a .280 batting average. They were first in hits, runs, doubles, slugging & on base % in the AL. The Red Sox collapse at the end of the season got Manager Terry Francona fired as the team did not make the post season.

In 2012 Magadan became hitting coach under  new manager Bobby Valentine. The Red Sox finished fifth, their worst placing since 1993. In 2013 John Farrell took over as manager & all new coaches were brought in as well. Magadan moved on to the Texas Rangers, becoming the hitting coach under Manager Ron Washington.

By early September the Rangers were in first place, but lost out in the West once again to the Oakland A's & did not make the playoffs.  The club batted .262 (fourth best in the AL). They were fourth in hits, sixth in HRs & 7th in runs scored as well on base %.

The 2014 Rangers fell off in the bottom of the AL West standings. Their hitting for average ranked in the top five but they dropped off in hits, HRs & Runs scored. In 2015 the Rangers were ranking 7th in hits, HRs, triples, walks & on base %.

Family: Magadan is the cousin and godson of former manager Lou Piniella. 

Dave has been married twice. He has two sons from his first marriage & a daughter with his wife Monique.

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