- 2B, DH
- May 1, 1964
- 5' 11"
- 155 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 8-28-1987 with PIT
- Allstar Selections:
- 1992 GG
Jose “Chico” Lind was a pivotal part of the three Pirate championship runs in the early nineties, not as much for his bat as it was for his impressive glove. After coming up in 1987, he became a fixture up the middle for the Bucs for five years.
As Chico went up through the Bucco system, he won honors in both the Eastern League, where he made the all-star game as the starting shortstop in 1986 and then the following year in 1987 when he was named to the Pacific Coast Leagues post-season All-Star team after leading the circuit in most of the important defensive categories.
He came up as the air apparent to the second base throne in late August of 1987 and was part of the reason the club traded incumbent second sacker Johnny Ray, to make room for the Puerto Rican native.
Lind responded in a big way, hitting .322 while starting the last 34 games of the season, 34 amazing games in which he was a big part of the Pirates incredible run to respectability, coming out of nowhere in September to almost finish .500.
Chico got off to a difficult start at the plate in his first full season as a starter, but caught fire after the all-star break, hitting .292. He also showed his glove as he finished only .09 behind Houston’s Bill Doran for the lead in field percentage among National League second baseman. To end the season, Lind went 29 consecutive games without an error.
Slumping in 1989 with a .232 average, his lowest as a starter in the majors despite a team high 11 game hitting streak and a career low .976 fielding percentage, Lind rebounded in 1990. The second baseman hit .261 and led the league in putouts and chances by a second sacker. His .991 fielding percentage was the second best in the circuit and he had a personal best 54 game errorless streak which stretched from 1989 into 1990.
After a solid 1991 season where Chico hit .265 with career high’s in homers, 3 (he only had 9 career shots) and RBI’s, 54, Lind would fall back in 1992 to .235. Although ’92 would be one of his toughest offensive seasons, Jose finally led the league in fielding percentage with a .992 mark, and was at last rewarded with his long sought after and deserved gold glove. For a few years, he was beaten by the Cubs Ryne Sandberg, who had won 9 consecutive awards. Even though some thought Jose deserved it, and was in fact the best defensive second basemen in the NL, Sandberg always came out on top, until this year. With the well-deserved award, Lind became the first Pirate to win a gold glove since Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski took his last of eight awards in 1967.
In the 1992 NLCS, hit a clutch homer in game 1. Despite the fact he virtually had no power in his time in the majors and hit only .205 in his three appearances in the NLCS in the 90’s, Lind did hit two shots in his NLCS career, one in ’92 of course and the other in 1990.
Ironically it was a miscue in the field in game 7 of the ’92 series Chico will always be remembered for. In the ninth inning, with the Bucs up 2-0 Jose bobbled a ball hit to him by David Justice, who ended up getting to first via a very uncharacteristic error by the usually sure handed fielder. Later on in the inning, Francisco Cabrera’s painful game winning hit came with two outs. Many put the blame on Lind for the loss as if he had made the seemingly easy play, the Pirates would have gone to their first World Series since 1979.
As it turned out, the disappointing moment would be the last for Lind in his black and gold career as he was traded in November to the Royals in part of the breakup of the Pirates, for pitchers Dennis Moeller and Joel Johnston.
He spent the next few years in Kansas City, before he went to the Angels mid way in the 1995 campaign. It would be his last season in the majors.
Chico’s story hit a down moment shortly after he ended his time in the majors. Lind was first charged in July of 1996 with beating his ex-wife and cocaine possession when policeman found a half gram of cocaine on him, and then again in April of the following year after he was pulled over in his car after leaving the scene of an accident, and was found not only to be visibly drunk, naked from the waist down, but once again to be possessing an gram of cocaine.
He eventually righted the ship, trying a comeback with the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League. Lind played three seasons with the Bluefish between 1999-2001, including a .301 performance in 2000 when he was named to the circuit’s all-star team. Jose tore his hamstring in June of 2001 and took a position as infield coach, a position he currently holds today.