Versatile Mondesi makes debut on BBWAA ballot
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – At the plate or in the field, Raul Mondesi could do it all on the diamond.
Now, the former National League Rookie of the Year gets his shot at Cooperstown.
Mondesi, who played 13 big league seasons with the Dodgers, Blue Jays, Yankees, Diamondbacks, Braves, Pirates and Angels, is one of 33 players on the 2011 Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot for the Class of 2011 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Mondesi is making his debut on the BBWAA ballot.
BBWAA members who have at least 10 years of tenure with the organization can vote in the election, and the results will be announced Jan. 5. Any candidate who receives at least 75 percent of all BBWAA votes cast will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2011. The Induction Ceremony will be held July 24 in Cooperstown.
Born March 12, 1971, in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, Mondesi was signed by the Dodgers in 1988 as an international free agent. Mondesi displayed fast feet and a powerful arm in the minors, and debuted in the majors in 1993 at the age of 22. The next season, Mondesi was named the National League's Rookie of the Year after hitting .306 with 16 homers and 56 RBI in 112 games.
Mondesi won his first Gold Glove Award in 1995 for his play in right field, and was also named to the All-Star Game. In 1997, Mondesi won another Gold Glove Award and finished fifth in the NL Most Valuable Player voting after hitting .310 with 30 homers, 87 RBI and 32 steals – the first of two 30 homer/30 steal seasons for Mondesi.
He is one of only 10 players with multiple 30/30 seasons at the big league level.
"He loves to play the game," said Braves manager Bobby Cox, who managed Mondesi during his final big league season in 2005. "The players loved him, and he was great in the clubhouse."
Mondesi was traded to the Blue Jays after the 1999 season for Shawn Green, then went to the Yankees during the 2002 season. During the next four years, Mondesi played for the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Pirates, Angels and Braves.
His final numbers: a .273 batting average, 1,589 hits, 271 home runs and 229 stolen bases.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum