August 13, 2013

The Prince

It's hard to believe that 23 years ago, Cecil Fielder was the best Japanese import ever to arrive in Detroit. 

I remember thinking it was awesome when the Tigers signed Cecil Fielder prior to the 1990 season. I had liked Fielder when he was a member of the Blue Jays, but back then the Jays were loaded and Fielder didn't get much of a chance. This is back in the day when I knew all the stats and all the players on all the teams. I wish I had that much room in my brain still today because it was fun knowing all that trivia. But, I liked the Cecil Fielder signing for the Tigers.

I remember going to the old Kansas City Royals Boardwalk & Baseball in Plant City, Florida, to catch the final tune up game before the guys headed north for the season. We still had high hopes for the 1990 Tigers even after the abysmal 1989. Fielder gave them some hope. I told my best friend Bru that if he stayed healthy and had a chance to play regularly, "he might hit 40 home runs." As everyone knows, I was wrong! Fielder was a great Tigers until they traded him to the Yankees in the middle of the '96 season.

Ten years later, Cecil's son, Prince, made it to the Show with the Milwaukee Brewers. Prince made an immediate impact and has had several successful seasons. After the 2011 season, he was a free agent and hadn't signed with anyone well into January. Suddenly, the Tigers DH Victor Martinez was injured and possibly lost for the season. The Tigers struck quickly and signed Fielder. His contract is lengthy and expensive, but he adds an element to the Detroit nine.

I had expected his second season in the American League to be far superior to last season. I even predicted that Fielder would win the MVP award, but that's not likely to happen this season. After '13, he has seven seasons left in the Motor City. During a Spring Training game in February, I watched Prince hit a ball farther than anyone I've ever seen in person. I still like the signing and look forward to several successful seasons for the slugger.

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