Andre O. Keene (The Giant)
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 5", Weight 240-265 lb.
- High School Duval High School
Andre Keene was a professional baseball player for 10 years. A solid performer in the independent leagues, he was most famous for being traded for a record. He also played the role of "Chicago White Sox Player" in the movie Major League 2.
Keene was drafted in the 56th round of the 1989 amateur draft by the Seattle Mariners but did not sign. The next year, he became the rare player drafted out of neither high school nor college when the San Francisco Giants took him in the 32nd round of the 1990 amateur draft. He did not sign with the Giants until after the 1990 season ended.
1991-92: A nice start
In 1991, Andre made his professional debut with the AZL Giants, hitting a very impressive .348/~.474/.478 and stealing 12 bases in 40 games. He scored 30 and drove in 30 in 44 games. He was third in the Arizona League in batting average and must have just missed the OBP lead. The next season, Keene was the DH for the Clinton Giants and batted .272/~.381/.425 with 28 steals in 41 tries and led the club in runs (67), RBI (70), homers (14), steals and walks (77). He won the Midwest League home run derby and hit one home run that went through a plastic Pepsi sign in Pete Vonachen Stadium. The heavy hitter made the MWL All-Star team at DH. Baseball America rated him the #6 prospect in the Giants system.
1994-1995: The last years in the Giants chain
Keene's career skid to a halt in 1993 as he missed the entire season due to an injury. He appeared in Major League 2 in 1994 and returned to the baseball field, hitting .301/.420/.538 with the Clinton Lumber Kings and .241/.327/.374 for the San Jose Giants. The next year, the 24-year-old produced at a .254/~.396/.446 rate with San Jose, leading the team in homers (15) and walks (76). He was old for the level and no longer a prospect, thanks to the two years missed due to late signing and the year of injury. The Giants let him go.
1996-2001: Independent league star
Andre followed so many other has-beens and never-weres, joining them in the new independent leagues forming around the time. Andre began the 1996 season with the Meridian Brakemen but was traded in-season by Meridian GM Gary Saunders to the Greenville Bluesmen for cash and a Muddy Waters album, becoming perhaps the first player ever traded for a blues album. Andre hit .317/?/.615 and tied for second in the Big South League with 16 home runs. He made the league All-Star team at first base.
In '97, Andre The Giant played for the Massachusetts Mad Dogs, hitting .322/?/.512 and tying Jon Mueller for the Northeast League run lead with 64. He drove in 64 as well and hit 11 homers. He moved to the Allentown Ambassadors of the same league the next year and hit .316/?/.695 but onl ygot 95 AB.
In 1999, Keene was 3 for 17 for the Somerset Patriots but did bat .339/?/.542 in 59 at-bats with the Rio Grande Valley Whitewings. The 2000 season had the 29-year-old on the Long Island Ducks, where he batted .303/?/.462.