David Justice
Justice in 2011
Outfielder
Born: (1966-04-14) April 14, 1966 (age 58)
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
Batted: Left
Threw: Left
MLB debut
May 24, 1989, for the Atlanta Braves
Last MLB appearance
September 29, 2002, for the Oakland Athletics
MLB statistics
Batting average.279
Home runs305
Runs batted in1,017
Teams
Career highlights and awards

David Christopher Justice (born April 14, 1966) is an American former professional baseball outfielder and designated hitter who played 14 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). He won the World Series with the Atlanta Braves and the New York Yankees, won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1990, and has been named a three-time MLB All-Star.

Early life

Justice was raised Catholic, and attended high school at Covington Latin School, a Catholic school across the river from his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio.[1] He later attended Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, Kentucky, on a basketball scholarship.[2]

Professional career

Atlanta Braves

Justice made his major league debut in May 1989, playing for the Atlanta Braves. The then 23-year-old right fielder earned the starting job after Braves fan favorite Dale Murphy was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in August 1990.[3] Justice promptly went on an offensive tear during the second half of the season, finishing with 28 home runs, which helped him claim the National League's Rookie of the Year Award.[4] In 1991, the upstart Braves surged to the top of their division and Justice was leading the National League in runs batted in when he was sidelined by a nagging back injury in June.[5] He finished with 87 runs batted in despite the injury and played in his first World Series.

After seeing his production slide slightly in 1992, Justice enjoyed a solid 1993 season. He clubbed 40 home runs and 120 runs batted in (RBIs) with 78 walks, finishing third in MVP voting behind Barry Bonds and Lenny Dykstra.[6] Justice was batting .313 with a .427 on-base percentage and .531 slugging average when the strike ended play in 1994. When baseball returned in 1995, Justice helped his Braves to the World Series against the Cleveland Indians. He drew attention (and boos) when he criticized Atlanta fans for the level of support they were providing the team.[7] However, Justice ended up a hero when his crucial home run in Game 6 provided the only run in a 1–0 game that clinched the championship.[8]

In May 1996, a swing and miss in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates caused a season-ending shoulder separation.[9]

Cleveland Indians

Before the 1997 season, the Braves traded Justice along with outfielder Marquis Grissom to the Cleveland Indians for outfielder Kenny Lofton and relief pitcher Alan Embree.[10] He hit .329 with a .418 OBP and .596 slugging average in 1997, with 33 home runs, while making another World Series appearance. He posted solid numbers in 1998 and 1999 with the Indians. In 2000, he hit a combined .286 with a .377 OBP and .584 slugging average, and slugged 41 home runs with 118 RBIs.

New York Yankees

On June 29, 2000, the Indians traded Justice to the New York Yankees for Jake Westbrook, Zach Day, and Ricky Ledée.[11] Justice won the League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award for the 2000 American League Championship Series en route to his second world series championship.[12] Between the Indians and Yankees, Justice hit a career-high 41 home runs in 2000. Justice hit the Disabled Listed with a groin in June 2001.[13] He reactivated the injury a month later.[14] As a result, his production slid considerably in 2001.[14][15]

Oakland Athletics

The Yankees traded Justice to the New York Mets on December 7, 2001, for third baseman Robin Ventura.[16] Mets GM Steve Phillips then sent him to the Oakland Athletics on December 14 in exchange for pitchers Mark Guthrie and Tyler Yates.[17] He played a final season on an Oakland team which reached the playoffs in 2002 and was named the American League Player of the Week for the first week of the season.[18] His addition to Oakland was referred to as an "experiment" by A's assistant GM Paul DePodesta.[19] The experiment was to evaluate whether hitters retained their ability to get on base as they got older (kept their batter's eye). His .376 OBP and BB/K ratio of greater than 1:1 seemed to prove that correct. Justice was a part of the A's 20 consecutive game winning streak in 2002.[20]

Career totals

Justice finished his career with a .279 batting average, with a .378 OBP and .500 slugging percentage, 929 runs, 1,571 hits, 280 doubles, 24 triples, 305 home runs, 903 walks and 1,017 RBIs in 1,610 games. From 1991 to his last season in 2002, Justice's teams made the postseason every year (with the exception of the strike-shortened 1994 season). Of those times, he made the World Series seven times, winning twice. He is in the top ten in a number of career postseason categories, such as at-bats, games played, hits, doubles and runs scored.[21]

Honors

On May 9, 1994, Justice was listed in People's "50 Most Beautiful People" issue (Vol. 41 No. 17). The article goes on to state: "'I check my face to make sure there's nothing sticking on it,' he says. 'But I don't make sure every hair's in place.' He needn't worry. He gets the most fan mail on the team and is mobbed when he makes personal appearances on behalf of charities."[22][23]

In March 2007, it was announced that Justice would be inducted into the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame. He was the first member of any of the Braves' 14 consecutive division title teams (1991–2005, excluding the strike-shortened season in 1994) to be inducted in the Braves Hall of Fame. The induction took place on August 17, 2007. Numerous ex-Braves players and coaches were in attendance and tribute videos from Braves legend Hank Aaron and former owner Ted Turner were shown. Prior to that evening's game Justice was presented with a portrait by sports artist Bart Forbes during an on-field ceremony.[24]

Justice was eligible for the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008,[25] but he received only one vote, preventing him from being named on future ballots.[26] The timing of the vote may have adversely affected his candidacy, as it was held shortly after the release of the Mitchell Report. Justice was one of 86 players named in the report.[27]

Mitchell Report

In an interview for the Mitchell Report, released December 13, 2007, Justice denied using performance-enhancing substances, but was willing to report the names of individuals he suspected, though he claimed to have no direct knowledge of any other player's steroid use. He also claims to have never been warned of the side effects of steroids or explicitly told steroids were a banned substance. The Mitchell Report states that in a later interview, former New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski claimed to have sold Justice human growth hormone when Justice was with the Yankees after the 2000 World Series. Justice has called the allegation "a bald-faced lie" and says that he has never met Radomski.[28]

Justice has claimed that his only involvement with performance-enhancing drugs was a discussion about HGH in 2000 with Brian McNamee, then the New York Yankees' strength coach. Justice, who had shoulder problems, thought that HGH might aid in his recovery. Justice stated that after the discussion, he went to his locker and found a bag containing HGH and several injection needles; Justice claimed that he was unwilling to inject himself and never used any of it. Justice further stated in the interviews that all claims in the Mitchell Report concerning his alleged purchase and use of any performance-enhancing drugs were false and encouraged all players whose names appear in the report, especially Roger Clemens, to publicly deny any claims made by the Mitchell Report if they are untrue.[29]

Broadcasting career

After his playing career, Justice served as a commentator for ESPN baseball telecasts for two years. He later joined the YES Network of the New York Yankees as a game and studio analyst, and also hosted the network's youth-oriented program Yankees on Deck.[30] Prior to the 2008 season, the YES Network announced that Justice would not appear on air during that season,[31] but would contribute articles to the network's website. Justice stated that this change was not in response to his inclusion in the Mitchell report, but was due to the destruction of his San Diego County home in the 2007 California wildfires[32] and the recent passing of his mother. Justice never returned to the network.

Justice has also appeared on a 1992 episode of The Young and the Restless[33] and a 1997 episode of Arli$$.[34] He was played by Stephen Bishop in Moneyball, the film adaptation of the best-selling Michael Lewis book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game about the Oakland Athletics baseball team and its general manager, Billy Beane.[35]

Personal life

On New Year's Day 1993, Justice married film actress Halle Berry. The couple resided in Sandy Springs, Georgia. They separated on February 22, 1996, and divorced on June 20, 1997.[36] The marriage ended acrimoniously, with Berry seeking a restraining order against Justice. He married Rebecca Villalobos on February 8, 2001.[37] Villalobos is CEO of Exotic Spices Calendars.[38] They have three children: David Jr., Dionisio, and Raquel.[39] In 2014, the family was on an episode of Celebrity Wife Swap,[40][41] inspiring Raquel to pursue acting.[42]

See also

References

  1. ^ Pomerantz, Gary (March 22, 1992). "Justice Serves Food for Thought". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  2. ^ "David Justice – Society for American Baseball Research". Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  3. ^ "BRAVES TRADE MURPHY TO PHILLIES FOR PITCHER". Deseret News. August 4, 1990. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  4. ^ "It's near-unanimous: Justice is NL's Rookie of the Year". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  5. ^ "BASEBALL DAILY REPORT : AROUND THE MAJOR LEAGUES : Justice Hits a Home Run for Macon". Los Angeles Times. August 17, 1991. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  6. ^ "1993 Awards Voting". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  7. ^ Olney, Buster (October 29, 1995). "Justice asks Braves fans to prove comments wrong; Outfielder says support isn't what it was in '91". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved November 3, 2012.
  8. ^ Paul Hoynes, cleveland com (October 28, 2015). "1995 World Series Game 6: Braves 1, Indians 0: Boxscore, broadcas". cleveland. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  9. ^ "Braves' Justice Out for the Season". Los Angeles Times. May 18, 1996. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  10. ^ Chass, Murray (March 26, 1997). "Eye on the Bottom Line, Braves and Indians Trade". The New York Times – via NYTimes.com.
  11. ^ "Indians close book on trade of Justice". Archived from the original on August 31, 2017. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  12. ^ Teters, Sean. "David Justice – Society for American Baseball Research". Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  13. ^ King III, George A. (June 16, 2001). "YANKS PUT JUSTICE ON 15-DAY DL". Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  14. ^ a b "GROIN INJURY SHELVES JUSTICE AGAIN". New York Daily News. July 3, 2001. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  15. ^ King III, George A. (August 3, 2001). "JUSTICE PAIN-FREE BUT HITLESS IN FIRST GAME BACK". Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  16. ^ Olney, Buster (December 8, 2001). "BASEBALL; Mets and Yankees Find a Common Solution". The New York Times – via NYTimes.com.
  17. ^ Marchand, Andrew (December 15, 2001). "JUSTICE TRADE TO OAKLAND SAVES PHILLIPS BIG BUCKS".
  18. ^ Butler, Isaiah (September 19, 2022). "David Justice thrived during Oakland's 'Moneyball' experiment". BVM Sports. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  19. ^ "Beane Count by Dan Julien". danjulien.atspace.com.
  20. ^ "Oakland A's turn back the clock for 2002 "Streak" reunion". The Mercury News. August 28, 2022. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  21. ^ "Baseball Reference All-time and Single-Season Postseason Batting Leaders". Retrieved August 1, 2011.
  22. ^ "Beautiful Through the Years". People. May 12, 1997.
  23. ^ "David Justice - Most Beautiful, David Justice : People.com". March 18, 2009. Archived from the original on March 18, 2009. Retrieved November 18, 2023.((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  24. ^ COSTA, BRIAN. "Justice inducted into Braves Hall of Fame". Savannah Morning News. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  25. ^ "Tim Raines, David Justice head new Hall of Fame candidates". ESPN.com. November 26, 2007. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  26. ^ "2008 Hall of Fame Voting". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  27. ^ "Justice: Clemens should speak out if he's clean". ESPN.com. December 14, 2007. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  28. ^ "Justice, Gooden deny Radomski's allegations". ESPN.com. January 27, 2009.
  29. ^ "Justice: Clemens should speak out if he's clean". ESPN.com. December 14, 2007.
  30. ^ Marchand, Andrew (March 11, 2005). "JUSTICE JOINING YES LINEUP – BOLTS ESPN FOR YANKS' BOOTH GIG". New York Post. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  31. ^ Sandomir, Richard (January 29, 2008). "Cone Nears Deal With Yes". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  32. ^ McKay, Hollie (March 25, 2015). "Hollywood Under Fire: David Justice's Digs Burn Down, Sean Penn Loses Trailer". Fox News. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  33. ^ Ballplayers to appear on The Young and the Restless Buddytv.com, June 13, 2007
  34. ^ "David Justice | Actor". IMDb. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  35. ^ "Stephen Bishop plays idol David Justice in Moneyball" - Page 2 - ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  36. ^ Divorce between Halle Berry, David Justice final The Albany Herald. June 25, 1997
  37. ^ "David Justice Opens Up about Divorce from Halle Berry, Abuse Rumors". Peoplemag. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  38. ^ "WarnerBros.com | Landing". Telepixtvcgi.warnerbros.com. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  39. ^ "At Home with David & Rebecca Justice". Ranch & Coast. March 5, 2012. Retrieved May 10, 2019.
  40. ^ Bernstein, Scott (June 4, 2014). "Dweezil Zappa & Family Featured On Celebrity Wife Swap". JamBase. Retrieved May 10, 2019.
  41. ^ "Celebrity Wife Swap" David Justice/Dweezil Zappa (TV Episode 2014) ⭐ 5.2 | Reality-TV, retrieved November 18, 2023
  42. ^ "Interview with Disney's "Andi Mack" actress Raquel Justice". Naluda Magazine. March 25, 2019. Retrieved May 10, 2019.