Maurice Samuel “Mo” Vaughn was a first basemen who played twelve season career that included eight seasons with the Red Sox. Although he is now no longer on the Hall of Fame ballot and can never be immortalized in Cooperstown, he was an incredibly skillful hitter during his playing days.
Vaughn was born on December 15, 1967 in Norwalk, Connecticut. Before reaching the majors, Vaughn played for Trinity-Pawling school in Pawling, New York, and then for Seton Hall when he moved onto college. At Seton Hall, Vaughn won the Jack Kaiser Award as MVP of the 1987 Big East Conference Baseball Tournament for his role in the successful Pirates championship Run. Check out the scouting report from 1987 before Vaughn was drafted:
He was drafted during the first round in the 1989 Draft, and by 1991 Vaughn had reached the big leagues and began his professional career with the Red Sox. He quickly established himself as one of the most dominant hitters in the American League, and by 1993 was at the center of the Red Sox lineup. In ‘93, Vaughn broke out, hitting .297 with 101 RBIs in 152 games.
Starting in the 1994 season, Vaughn hit at or above .300 for five consecutive seasons, never hitting fewer than 26 homeruns or 82 RBI in the same span either. These were Vaughn’s most successful years with the Red Sox and throughout his entire career. Just check out his full stats here:
Vaughn’s hitting ability was key to the Sox’s success during the ‘90s. During his break out season in 1993 he was one of the main reasons that the team made it to the playoffs, and though they lost to Cleveland in the Divisional Round that season he was also named American League MVP.
Check out this sweet video of Vaughn in his prime with the Sox:
In 1998 Vaughn and the Red Sox made it back to the playoffs, that time losing again to the Indians in the ALDS. 1998 would be Vaughn’s last season with the team, and during the rest of his career he spent two seasons with the Anaheim Angels and two with the New York Mets before retiring after the 2003 season.
He was a popular player, especially with the Red Sox, but Vaughn was not without his flaws off the field. During his time in Boston Vaughn had several disagreements and issues with the organization’s management and the media as well. He was a leader in the clubhouse but voiced repeatedly that the front office did not want him around. Incidents such as when he allegedly punched a man in the mouth outside a nightclub in Providence and crashed his truck while returning home from a strip club did not make matters any easier for Vaughn as well.
Furthermore, Vaughn was also named on the Mitchell Report in 2007 for purchasing performance-enhancing drugs from Kirk Radomski on at least three different occasions. He was instructed by a trainer to take HGH in an attempt to recover from injury, but regardless of the reasoning it is likely that his name being in the report is what cost him a spot in Cooperstown. In 2009 when he was first eligible to be voted in he only received 1.1% of the vote, which was less than the 5%, he needed to stay on the ballot.
Off-field troubles aside, Vaughn was still an important figure in Boston and was involved in extensive charity work. Since retiring he has become a Managing Director of OMNI New York LLC and has had a hand in buying and rehabilitating over 1,100 units of distressed housing in the New York metro area.
To this day, Boston still holds a place in Vaughn’s heart. In April 2013 after the Patriots Day Bombing, Vaughn bought an advertisement section in the Boston Globe and used the space to salute the men and women who helped victims that day when he wrote, “You are all heroes in my eyes. Boston will march on.”