June 30, 1962 |
San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic
|Batted: Switch||Threw: Right|
|September 2, 1983 for the Toronto Blue Jays|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 7, 2001 for the Toronto Blue Jays|
|Runs batted in||844|
|Career highlights and awards|
Octavio Antonio Fernández Castro (born June 30, 1962), better known as Tony Fernández, is a former Major League Baseball player most noted for his defensive skills, setting a nine-year record for shortstops with a .992 fielding percentage in 1989.
Fernández was first scouted by the Toronto Blue Jays' famed Latin America scout Epy Guerrero and was signed as an undrafted free agent. Promoted to the Blue Jays in 1983, Fernández became the team's full-time shortstop in 1985, and contributed significantly to the team winning its first division title that year. Fernández continued to star for the Jays for several years afterwards.
Before the 1991 season, Fernández was traded to the San Diego Padres in a major deal that also sent Jays star Fred McGriff to San Diego in exchange for Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter. Fernández played well for San Diego for two years and then began the 1993 season with the New York Mets. After a disappointing start, he was traded back to the Blue Jays. He played well for the remainder of the season and was instrumental in helping the Blue Jays win the 1993 World Series. In that World Series, Fernández drove in nine runs, a record for a shortstop.
In 1997, he reached the World Series again, with the Cleveland Indians, thanks in large part to his own game-winning home run against Baltimore in the American League Championship Series. Playing at second base, he committed an error in the bottom of the 11th inning in Game 7 of the World Series; this broke up a potential double play, and the eventual World Series-winning run was put on base. He hit a two-run single in the top of the third inning for the Indians' only runs of the game, and would have been credited with the Series-winning hit for Cleveland had they won the game. In 1998, he rejoined the Blue Jays, and revitalized his hitting, batting over .300 in two seasons there. In 2000, Fernández played for the Seibu Lions in Japan before returning to the majors the following year. When he returned in 2001, he briefly played for the Milwaukee Brewers but returned to Toronto late in the season, and retired at its conclusion.
A very thin man, Fernández had a tilted, wavering batting stance that made it appear as if he might not be strong enough to hold his bat. From early in his career he carried a scar on his right cheek from a pitched ball. Fernández was a noted fitness fanatic; he liked buying unusual home exercise machines and trying them out in the clubhouse.
Early in his career, Fernández was well known for his exceptional defensive skills at shortstop, and was described by Ivan Maisel in a Sports Illustrated article as having "the range of a Texas cattleman". He was especially famous for leaping into the air while simultaneously making an underhanded throw to first base, on balls hit far to his right.
Fernández was awarded four consecutive Gold Glove Awards for his defense, from 1986 to 1989. Fernández was also named to five All-Star teams. He finished his career with a .288 batting average in 2,158 games played, and batted .327 in postseason play. Fernandez hit for the cycle as a New York Yankee on September 3, 1995 playing against the Oakland Athletics.
See also 
- List of major league players with 2,000 hits
- List of Major League Baseball players with 400 doubles
- List of Major League Baseball players with 1000 runs
- List of Major League Baseball leaders in career stolen bases
- List of Major League Baseball triples champions
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- Zaiontz, Dan. "Sportsnet’s baseball panel discuss the greatest Jays to ever play the game". Urban Male Magazine. p. 65. Archived from the original on 2009-02-20. Retrieved 2009-02-21.
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- Baseball Digest 56 (9). Lakeside Publishing. 09 1997. p. 92. ISSN 0005-609X. Retrieved 209-02-20.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube