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Juan Pierre

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Juan D'Vaughn Pierre

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[edit] Biographical Information

Juan Pierre, a top base stealer with a career average of .300 (through the beginning of 2010), has played in the majors since 2000. In the 2003 World Series, he hit .333 for the champion Florida Marlins.

Pierre was born in Alabama, went to high school at Alexandria (LA) High School and attended college at the University of South Alabama, where he was 1998 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year.

Seattle had drafted him twice, but he chose instead to go with the Colorado Rockies in 1998 when drafted in the 13th round. That summer, he impressed with .352/~.399/.402 at Portland of the Single A Northwest League. At Single A Asheville the next year, he hit .320/~.365/.390 with 66 stolen bases. At Double A Carolina of the Southern League in 2000, he hit .326/~.376/.380 in 107 games, with 47 stolen bases. Moved up to Triple A at Colorado Springs, he hit .471 in 4 games and was brought up to the majors to stay. He was a minor league all-star in 1998 in Single A, in 1999 in Single A, and in 2000 in Double A.

Pierre made an immediate impression at the major league level with the Rockies in 2000, hitting .310 in 51 games, although with little power and only 7 stolen bases. He was # 6 in the 2000 National League Rookie of the Year Award voting. In 2001, he hit .327 with 46 stolen bases, scoring 108 times. In 2002, he dropped to .287 but had 47 stolen bases. After the season, he was traded to the Florida Marlins, where he spent the next three years.

He hit .305 with 65 stolen bases in 2003, the year the Marlins won the World Series. He was 10th in the MVP voting. In 2004, he hit .326 with 45 stolen bases. In 2005, he hit .276 with 57 stolen bases. After the season, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs. History shows that Pierre has been traded at the major league level when his average dips under .300. It happened after the 2002 season, and it happened after the 2005 season. In 2006, he hit .292, and moved as a free agent. He set a mark for the lowest batting average ever for a player with 200 hits or more in a season.

After the 2006 season he signed a five-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, although it was not clear whether he would bat first in the lineup, second, or elsewhere. The contract was criticized as he was likely to block one of the Dodgers' younger - and better-hitting - outfielders, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. In 2007, he was indeed a regular, playing all 162 games and banging out 196 hits in 668 at bats without hitting a single home run. However, in 2008, after the Dodgers signed Andruw Jones, who would turn out to be a tremendous flop, he played only 119 games, hitting a customary .283 with 40 steals. He was no longer starting when the team acquired slugger Manny Ramirez to play left field at the trading deadline. In 2009, he filled in for Ramirez while he was serving a 50-game suspension for a violation of Major League Baseball's PED policy. He played 145 games, hitting a solid .308 - his highest average since 2004 - and stealing 30 bases. Both years, he saw very little use in the postseason, as the Dodgers lost twice to the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Championship Series: 4 plate appearances in 2008, and 3 in 2009. After that season, he was traded to the Chicago White Sox, as his playing style was closer to that favored by Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.

Through age 31, according to the similarity scores method, the most similar player to Pierre was Willie Wilson, the good-hitting speedster who had a 19-year career from 1976-1994. Two of his comparables are in the Hall of Fame - Max Carey and Harry Hooper - but both played in the deadball era. There is a statistical chance that Pierre could reach 3000 hits if he continues to play regularly into his late 30's (he is more than halfway there), which has prompted some speculation about how the BBWAA would treat such an atypical Hall of Fame candidacy. He has, as of 2011 the most career stolen bases among active players, as well as the most career bunt hits. The percentage of his base hits that are singles is the second-highest in baseball history at 83.3 %, behind Maury Wills.

Pierre returned to his original franchise, now renamed the Miami Marlins, for the 2013 season. He was one of only a handlful of veterans on a very young team expected to struggle to score runs. On May 2nd, he swiped the 600th base of his career in a 7-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, becoming only the 14th player in history to reach that total; it was already his 9th steal of the season, and he needed only 50 more to enter the all-time top 10, as Bert Campaneris occupied the 10th spot with 649.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 3-time NL At Bats Leader (2003, 2004 & 2006)
  • 2-time NL Hits Leader (2004 & 2006)
  • 6-time League Singles Leader (2001/NL, 2003/NL, 2004/NL, 2006/NL, 2007/NL & 2011/AL)
  • NL Triples Leader (2004)
  • 3-time League Stolen Bases Leader (2001/NL, 2003/NL & 2010/AL)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 3 (2001, 2003 & 2004)
  • 200 Hits Seasons: 4 (2001, 2003, 2004 & 2006)
  • 50 Stolen Bases Seasons: 5 (2003, 2005-2007 & 2010)
  • Won a World Series with the Florida Marlins in 2003

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