Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Otis Nixon

He had a mug that only a mother could love, and legs that often made catchers want to kick the dirt and scream out a few choice expletives in frustration.

Make no mistake, Otis Junior Nixon wreaked havoc on the basepaths.

He ranks 15th on the all-time list with 620 career thefts.

He swiped 30 or more bases for 12 straight seasons, including a high of 72 with the Atlanta Braves in 1991.

And, he once pilfered six bases in a single game to set the National League record and tie the American League mark.

Nixon credited his mother for his blazing speed. "I got some of it [genetic] wise from my mother, she was a runner," Nixon said. "She ran until she was 42 years old. She played basketball and ran track." He added, "It took me until I was probably in the 9th or 10th grade before I beat her myself. She could flat out run."

Like mother, like son.

Although Nixon had a face you desperately wanted to forget, his speed was undeniably unforgettable.

A native of Columbus County, North Carolina, Nixon was selected by the New York Yankees in the first round of the secondary phase of the 1979 amateur draft. He played in the big leagues for 17 seasons with nine different teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1997.

The 39-year old Nixon was acquired by the Dodgers from the Toronto Blue Jays during the heat of the pennant race for a minor league catcher by the name of Bobby Cripps. Nixon played well during his limited time in Los Angeles, batting .272 with 12 steals in 42 games. However, the club finished in second place, two games behind the division winning San Francisco Giants.

[1] Loving, James. "Sports Notes." <http://www.nationalradio.com/sports10.html>
[2] -----. "Dodgers Acquire OF Nixon from Blue Jays." <http://www.canoe.ca/StatsBBM/BC-BBM-LGNS-TORLOSDEAL-R.html>


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