Mike “Gator” Greenwell was born on July 18, 1963 and played his entire career for the Boston Red Sox.
Well the jokster decided it would be fun one day in Spring Training to capture an alligator and tape its mouth shut while storing it in Ellis Burks’ locker.
Greenwell grew up down south in Florida where he attended North Fort Meyers High School and was drafted in 1982 at the age of 19. Greenwell, a left fielder by trade, had some huge shoes to fill as he showed up at the end of a dynasty of great let fielders from Ted Williams to Jim Rice. Though Greenwell was no Williams, he was a solid player for the BoSox and a fan favorite for the Fenway Faithful. You can see his full line of stats here:
Greenwell’s broke into the MLB in 1985 at the age of 21 but didn’t get a full season under his belt until 1987 where his steady play had him fourth in Rookie of the Year. He batted an impressive .328 with 19 homers and 89 RBIs in 125 games played that season, and then followed it up coming in second in MVP voting in 1988 as he batted .325 with a career high 22 homers and 119 RBIs. Unfortunately he was beaten out by the roided out Canseco who stole the show with his 40-homer 40-steal season. Here’s a pretty sweet video of the man himself in action:
Greenwell continued on from there playing for some truly crappy Sox teams while putting up some very sold numbers. The outfielder ended his 12 year career batting over .300 in seven seasons (five full) while leaving the MLB at the age of 32 with a career .303 average and 130 home runs.
His career was shortened down the stretch though with extended time off the field as injuries and age began to take their toll, though he was the picture of dependability in the start of his career Greenwell couldn’t stay on the field as he 97.4 games a season in his final five years.
Greenwell then opted to find a haven in Japan as he signed with the Hanshin Tigers in 1997, though his rise in the Japanese league halted before it began as he returned to the US during Spring Training with an injury. He did make it back for the season though in May only to announce his retirement eight days later after fracturing his foot on a foul tip.
1997 wasn’t his final year in baseball though as Greenwell was hired in 2001 as a player/hitting coach for Cincinnati’s AA affiliate while also serving as an interim hitting coach for the Reds that season. He currently owns an 800-acre ranch down in Florida where he has a small farm and orchard while running an amusement park–“Mike Greenwell’s Bat-A-Ball Family Fun Park”