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Mike Vail

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Michael Lewis Vail

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Outfielder Mike Vail began his career as a highly touted prospect but was never more than a platoon player during a decade in the majors.

Originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1970 amateur draft, Vail did not sign, attending De Anza College instead. He was then selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in January of the following year. He began his pro careeer in the summer of 1971, and after four years in their chain, he was dealt to the New York Mets.

Vail had a huge season for the Tidewater Tides in 1975, leading the International League with a .342 average and 9 triples while being named the circuit's MVP. He made his big league debut with the Mets that August, and from August 22nd to September 15th, he got a hit in 23 straight games to tie a rookie record. On a down note, he also struck out 7 times during a September 26th doubleheader. Overall, he hit .302 in 38 games with New York that year. Prior to the 1976 campaign, he injured his right foot, and he did not appear until mid-June. He struggled at the plate that summer, hitting just .217 in 53 games. Splitting time in rightfield with Bruce Boisclair in 1977, he hit .262 with 8 home runs.

Claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Indians prior to the 1978 season, Vail split time between the big league team and the AAA Portland Beavers before being dealt to the Chicago Cubs in June. After the 1980 season, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Hector Cruz. Following two years with the Reds, he played briefly with the San Francisco Giants, Montreal Expos, and Los Angeles Dodgers before retiring in 1984.

In 1989, Vail played for the Orlando Juice of the Senior Professional Baseball Association. In 2 games, he batted .500.

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