Melvin Mora
Mora with the Baltimore Orioles
Third baseman
Born: (1972-02-02) February 2, 1972 (age 49)
Yaracuý State, Venezuela
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
Professional debut
CPBL: February 28, 1998, for the Mercuries Tigers
MLB: May 30, 1999, for the New York Mets
Last appearance
CPBL: June 6, 1998, for the Mercuries Tigers
MLB: June 29, 2011, for the Arizona Diamondbacks
CPBL statistics
Batting average.335
Home runs3
Runs batted in11
MLB statistics
Batting average.277
Home runs171
Runs batted in754
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Melvin Mora Diaz (born February 2, 1972) is a Venezuelan-American former professional baseball infielder. He played for the New York Mets, Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks of the Major League Baseball (MLB).

From his debut in 1999 to 2003, Melvin Mora was known as a utility player, playing all three outfield positions, shortstop, and second base. In 2004, the Orioles made Mora their everyday third baseman, a position he occupied through 2009.

Career

New York Mets

Mora was signed out of Venezuela as an amateur free agent in 1991. After spending seven years in the Astros farm system and few months in the Chinese Professional Baseball League with the Mercuries Tigers, he signed as a free agent with the Mets in 1998 and made his major league debut in the 1999 season. Mora made himself more valuable by being able to play all three outfield positions, shortstop, second base and third.

Mora with the New York Mets in 1999
Mora with the New York Mets in 1999

In 1999, he scored the winning run of the final game of the year for the Mets on a wild pitch by the Pirates' Brad Clontz, which propelled the Mets to a one-game playoff with Cincinnati, which they won.

Mora became a cult hero in New York as he starred in the 1999 National League Championship Series, batting a clutch .429 with an OPS of 1.143, and throwing runners out at home plate and third base from his right field position.[1]

Baltimore Orioles

2000–02

Melvin Mora started the year red hot for the Mets, but everything changed when shortstop Rey Ordoñez broke his arm, ending Ordoñez's season. Mora was moved to shortstop, where he struggled defensively. Criticized by the media, Mets' general manager Steve Phillips reacted by trading Mora to Baltimore on July 28, 2000, with two minor league players and Mike Kinkade for veteran shortstop Mike Bordick, which became a steal for the Orioles.[2][3]

Used as a utility player in Baltimore, Mora showed promise and hints of ability to contribute as an everyday player but struggled to break through. Things changed when an injury-depleted Orioles team used Mora almost exclusively in left field, and Mora responded with the best stretch of his career. He reached base in 32 straight games while using a 23-game hitting streak to temporarily become the American League batting leader. Finally excelling as a hitter, Mora was chosen for his first All-Star selection. Mora's season was cut short due to injuries (a bruised wrist and a partially torn ligament in his left knee), but finished with a .317 batting average, 15 home runs, and a .418 on-base percentage in 96 games.

2003–04

Mora's 2003 season proved that he could be a consistent hitter at the major league level. In 2004, Mora became the Orioles' regular third baseman and enjoyed his most productive season in the majors. Mora hit a career-high .340, finishing second in the AL batting race to Ichiro Suzuki's .372 mark; led the league in on-base percentage (.419); ranked 5th in slugging average (.562) and OPS (.981); 6th in runs (111), doubles (41) and times on base (264); 8th in hits (187), and 9th in total bases (264). His 27 home runs and 104 RBI were also career-highs, while leading his team in batting average, runs, on-base percentage, slugging average and OPS. At third base, he improved and became more consistent as the season wore on. Mora finished 18th in American League MVP voting and won a Silver Slugger Award.

2005–07

Melvin Mora, during a break in the action, playing for Baltimore Orioles in 2006.
Melvin Mora, during a break in the action, playing for Baltimore Orioles in 2006.

In 2005, Mora once again hit 27 home runs, although his batting average and on-base percentage dropped. On May 19, 2006 Mora agreed to a three-year, $25M deal that included a no-trade clause because Mora did not want to move his family to another city.[4]

In 2006, Mora's home run total dropped to 16, and again dropped in 2007 to 14. Mora also saw his batting average fall to .274 for both seasons.

2008

Mora was named American League Player of the Month for August 2008. Mora batted .418 (41-for-98) with 8 home runs and had an MLB leading 32 RBIs in 24 games. He posted a .765 slugging percentage and a .455 on-base percentage, with 17 extra-base hits, including eight doubles. Mora had a 13 multi-hit games in August 2008 and maintained an 8-game hitting streak from August 1–10. On August 17 at Detroit, Mora went 5-for-6 with two doubles, 2 home runs, 4 runs scored and 6 RBIs during a 16–8 Orioles win. Overall, Mora had five games in August in which he collected four-or-more RBIs. Mora injured his hamstring on August 29, 2008, missing the final games of his impressive month.

2009

On September 18, 2009, Brooks Robinson made a rare appearance at Camden Yards to honor Mora for moving into second all-time in games played at third base by an Oriole (behind only the Hall of Famer Brooks, himself). He presented Melvin with the third base from the game he moved into second.

In 2009, he led all major league starting third basemen in range factor, at 3.14.[5]

Mora's option was declined by the Orioles on October 29, 2009.

Colorado Rockies

On February 5, 2010, the Colorado Rockies signed Mora to a one-year, $1.275 million contract.[6][7] He played in 113 games for the NL West third place Rockies (83-79) and batted .285 with seven home runs and 45 RBI.[8][9]

Arizona Diamondbacks

Mora signed a one-year $2.35 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks on December 6, 2010.[10] He was expected to replace Mark Reynolds as the starting third baseman.[11] Mora missed a few days of spring training as a precautionary measure despite not having any serious injuries after his automobile was struck from behind by another vehicle on Arizona State Route 101 on March 7, 2011.[12] He was in the starting lineup on Opening Day, scoring a run while going hitless in five at-bats in a 7–6 victory over the Rockies at Coors Field on April 1.[13] His playing time eventually was limited due to the emergence of Ryan Roberts. After a 6–2 loss to the Cleveland Indians at Chase Field on June 29 in which he struck out as a pinch hitter for Zach Duke with one out and a runner on first base in the fifth inning, he was given his unconditional release effective the following day. He batted .228 with no home runs and 16 RBI in 42 games with the Diamondbacks.[11] He allegedly officially announced his retirement as an active player on December 29, 2011, though in mid-January, Mora corrected that claim by saying he still wished to play in 2012.[14][15]

World Baseball Classic

Melvin Mora agreed to represent his native country, Venezuela, in the 2006 World Baseball Classic but pulled out after being denied the third base position in favor of Miguel Cabrera.

Highlights

Career statistics

In 1556 games over 13 seasons, Mora posted a .277 batting average (1503-for-5422) with 794 runs, 283 doubles, 19 triples, 171 home runs, 754 RBI, 93 stolen bases, 520 bases on balls, .350 on-base percentage and .431 slugging percentage. He finished his career with a .966 fielding percentage playing at all infield positions except catcher and at all three outfield positions. In 9 postseason games, he hit .400 (6-for-15) with 4 runs, 1 home run and 2 RBI.

Personal life

When he was seven years old, his father was murdered in front of him in Venezuela in a case of mistaken identity.[16]

On July 28, 2001, Mora's wife Gisel gave birth to quintuplets at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. They also have an older daughter.[17] The family resides in Fallston, Maryland.[18]

In the Orioles media guide, Mora stated his most embarrassing moment as a player came in his rookie year in 1999 when, knowing little English, he thought his manager Bobby Valentine had told him to go to left field when he was actually being told to go to second base.[citation needed]

Mora was naturalized as a United States citizen in Baltimore on May 10, 2017. He holds U.S.-Venezuela dual citizenship.[19]

See also

References

  1. ^ Curry, Jack (19 June 2003). "BASEBALL; Mora Hits the Right Spots". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Melvin Mora". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-06-23.
  3. ^ "New York Mets: The Franchise's 5 Worst Midseason Trades in History".
  4. ^ "Mora signs three-year, $25M extension with Orioles". ESPN. Associated Press. 2006-05-19. Retrieved 2009-06-23.
  5. ^ "MLB Player Fielding Stats – As 3b – 2009" ESPN, accessed October 6, 2009
  6. ^ Harding, Thomas (2010-01-31). "Rockies agree to one year deal with Mora". MLB. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
  7. ^ "Rockies agree to terms with Mora". Archived from the original on 2010-02-12. Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  8. ^ Baseball-Reference.com (player)
  9. ^ Baseball-Reference.com (team)
  10. ^ Gilbert, Steve "Mora signs one-year deal with Arizona" Archived 2010-12-11 at the Wayback Machine, MLB.com, Monday, December 6, 2010
  11. ^ a b Bloom, Barry M. (29 June 2011). "D-Backs release veteran Mora". MLB.com. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
  12. ^ Bollinger, Rhett."D-backs keeping Mora out after car accident" Archived 2011-03-08 at the Wayback Machine, MLB.com, Monday, March 7, 2011
  13. ^ Gilbert, Steve. "D-backs scoot by Rockies on wild pitch in 11th", MLB.com, Friday, April 1, 2011
  14. ^ Star, Jon. "Longtime Oriole Mora retires after 13 seasons", MLB.com, Thursday, December 29, 2011
  15. ^ Baltimore Sun
  16. ^ Armstrong, Jim (22 March 2010). "Rockies' Mora a five-tool player off the field". The Denver Post. Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  17. ^ Klingaman, Mike "Mora's abundance of fatherly joy"[permanent dead link] The Baltimore Sun, Sunday, June 21, 2009
  18. ^ Connolly, Dan (January 5, 2010). "Three teams showing interest in Mora, his agent says". The Baltimore Sun. p. 3.
  19. ^ Encina, Eduardo A. "Orioles Hall of Famer Melvin Mora on becoming U.S. citizen: 'I finally did it,'" The Baltimore Sun, Wednesday, May 10, 2017.
Preceded byCarlos BeltránMiguel Cabrera American League Player of the Month May 2004August 2008 Succeeded byIván RodríguezShin-Soo Choo