- CF, OF, RF, LF, DH
- Mick the Quick
- October 31, 1948
- 5' 10"
- 165 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 8-04-1970 with CAL
'''John Milton "Mickey" Rivers''' (born October 31, 1948 in Miami, Florida) is a former Major League Baseball player from 1970-1984 for the California Angels, New York Yankees, and Texas Rangers. He was generally known as a speedy leadoff hitter who made contact and was an excellent center fielder, with a below-average throwing arm.
Originally signed by the Atlanta Braves, "Mick The Quick" began his big league career in 1970 with the Angels playing center field and third base, and stayed with them through the 1975 season. Rivers played part-time in his first few years, until becoming the starter in 1974. He led the league in triples both years and swiped a career-high 70 bases in 1975, tops in the American League.
Along with Ed Figueroa, Rivers was dealt to the Yankees in the 1975-76 off-season for Bobby Bonds, a trade which immediately paid dividends for the Yankees. Figueroa won 19 games and Rivers enjoyed a career year. Rivers was named to the All-Star team, batted .312, stole 43 bases and posted then-career highs in home runs (8) and runs batted in (67). Rivers placed third in the Most Valuable Player voting behind teammate Thurman Munson and George Brett and was named an outfielder on ''The Sporting News'' AL All-Star team.
Rivers posted good numbers in his two other full seasons as a part of the "Bronx Zoo", including a .326 batting average in 1977, but was traded in the middle of the 1979 season to Texas. There he set the single-season record for hits by a Ranger with 210 in 1980, a mark since eclipsed by Michael Young. He concluded his career in 1984 with a .295 lifetime average, 267 stolen bases, 1,660 hits.
While Rivers played for them, the Yankees won the World Series in 1977 and 1978, both times against the Los Angeles Dodgers. They also won the 1976 pennant, but lost in the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. Rivers posted a .308 average in his 29 postseason games. Bill James ranked Mickey Rivers as the 59th greatest center fielder of all time.
Mickey, who has been called the fastest Yankee of all time was honored with many of his fellow teammates from the 1977 World Series champion New York Yankees, in the Yankee Old Timers Game in 2007. In ''The Bronx Is Burning'', the ESPN minseries based on the 1977 Yankees, he was portrayed by Leonard Robinson and portrayed as a person with financial problems. When Reggie Jackson once remarked to a reporter that he had an IQ of 160, Rivers responded, "Out of what, a thousand?".
Since his playing career ended, Rivers has trained racehorses in his native Florida.
His son, Mickey Rivers Jr. played minor league baseball in the Texas Rangers organization.
Here are some great quotes from Rivers:
"Me and George and Billy are two of a kind."
-Baseball player Mickey Rivers, on his relationship with George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin
"My goals are to hit .300, score 100 runs, and stay injury-prone."
"Out of what, a thousand?"
Mickey Rivers, responding to teammate Reggie Jackson's claim he had an IQ of 160.
"Pitching is 80% of the game and the other half is hitting and fielding"
"No wonder you're all mixed up. You got a white man's first name, a Spanish man's second name and a black man's third name."
-Mickey made this comment to Reginald Martinez Jackson in July of 1977
"You'd better stop readin' and writin' and start hittin' ! "
-Mickey Rivers' quip back at Reggie Jackson when Jackson told Rivers, in front of reporters, that he should learn how to read and write
"I'm going to double my limit."
-Mickey Rivers' response to a 1975 interview question asking him how many bases he was going to steal that season.
"I was eating too well and getting too much rest. I take my old lady dancing every night now. Doin' the bump keeps your legs in shape."
-Mickey Rivers' response to a 1975 interview question of why he started playing better
"He's so ugly. When you walked by him, your pants wrinkle. He made fly balls curve foul."
-Mickey Rivers on former Major Leaguer Danny Napoleon's looks
"He is so ugly he should have to wear an oxygen mask."
-Mickey Rivers on teammate Cliff Johnson's looks
"I might have to commute. You know, left field, DH, wherever."
"The first thing you do when you get out to center field is put up your finger and check the wind-chill factor."
"The wind was blowin' about 100 degrees"
-Mickey Rivers' response to the wind in the outfield at Chicago's Comiskey Park
"I was brought up in Florida, so there isn't much difference between playing there and playing here. The climax are about the same."
-Mickey Rivers on playing in Texas
"He was lost out there. He was the Lost Mohegan."
-Mickey Rivers on a teammate who just played his first game
"I felt alone out there, like I was on a desert island. I felt like Gilligan."
-Mickey Rivers' response to playing left field for the first time
"I've been doing my 2 1/2 miles every day and I've gained 2 pounds. My stomach is getting smaller but my butt's getting bigger."
-Mickey Rivers in response to the Texas Rangers training methods of 1981
"I like playing on this team. We actually been doin' real good. Got a different mix here. Most important thing is you gotta keep pickin' up in paces. That's why we're playing contentious play. We got top names, guys can still hit in the majors, guys been out of the game hittin' the ball, shockin' it. Don't have no old, old guys. Not sayin' they don't get a good job done. Fact is, they've been vice versa. So that's incentive right there. It's been a plus."
-Mickey Rivers commenting on his teammates in the SPBL in 1989
"I threw about 90% fastballs and sliders, 50% fastballs and 50 % sliders...I'm starting to sound like Mickey Rivers."
-John Butcher, former Texas Rangers Pitcher
"These guys are so old they're eligible for meals on wheels."
-Mickey Rivers commenting on the age of Texas Rangers teammates Bill Stein and Larry Bittner
"That felt good. I hadn't hit off a lefty in two months."
-Mickey Rivers' post game comment after hitting a double off of Boston Red Sox right handed pitcher Bob Stanley
As retrieved from Wikipedia
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- 1976 World Series, 1977 World Series, 1978 World Series, Bill James, Bobby Bonds, California Angels, Ed Figueroa, George Brett, Mickey Rivers, New York Yankees, Reggie Jackson, Texas Rangers, The Bronx Zoo, Thurman Munson