Todd Zeile WAS A POWER SOURCE for 11 Teams in 16 Seasons
By SAMANTHA CARR
January 5, 2010
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Todd Zeile hit home runs, snagged ground balls, pitched and caught at the major league level for 16 seasons. He became first player to hit a home run for 11 different teams in his career.
Zeile now hopes to join a new team – at the Baseball Hall of Fame.
|Todd Zeile is one of 26 players on the BBWAA ballot for election to the Class of 2010 at the Hall of Fame. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)|
Zeile is one of 26 players on the 2010 Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot for the Class of 2010 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. He is making his debut on the BBWAA ballot.
BBWAA members who have at least 10 years of tenure with the organization can vote in the election, and the results will be announced Jan. 6. Any candidate who receives at least 75 percent of all BBWAA votes cast will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2010. The Induction Ceremony will be held July 25 in Cooperstown.
Born on Sept. 9, 1965, in Van Nuys, Calif., Zeile played baseball at UCLA and broke into the major leagues as a catcher in 1989. One of the St. Louis Cardinals’ most heavily anticipated prospects, manager Joe Torre felt it would prolong his career if he changed positions. Initially Zeile moved to first, but settled in at third by 1990.
Zeile spent almost seven seasons with the Cardinals before bouncing to the Cubs, Phillies, Orioles, Dodgers, Marlins, Rangers, Mets, Rockies, Yankees and Expos.
“He can just flat-out hit,” said Mets teammate Jay Payton. “He’s a great hitter, he’s proven it time and time again.”
In 2000, he participated in the Subway Series between the Yankees and Mets and hit .400 for the Mets. By 2004, the Mets were out of the playoff race and Zeile scheduled his retirement for the end of the season.
''What I wanted out of (2004) is to have this kind of feeling,'' Zeile said. ''Not to be playing for money or a contract, but to have fun as a major leaguer.''
Mets manager Art Howe put Zeile back behind the plate for a few final games after 14 years away from the dish. Zeile hit a three-run homer in his final major league at-bat and fielded a foul pop-up in his last defensive play.
“I got goose bumps when Todd hit that home run,” said Howe.
He finished his career with a .265 batting average, 2,004 hits, 397 doubles, 253 home runs and 1,110 RBI.
Zeile is one of only 41 players in history to hit a home run in his final at-bat.
“I can’t tell you how special it was,” said Zeile.
Samantha Carr is the media relations coordinator at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum