Cecil Fielder (born September 21, 1963 in Los Angeles, California, United States) is a former Major League Baseball player who was a popular slugger with the Toronto Blue Jays (1985-88), Detroit Tigers (1990-96), New York Yankees (1996-97), Anaheim Angels and Cleveland Indians (both in 1998). In 1990 he became the first player to reach the 50-home run mark since George Foster hit 52 for the Cincinnati Reds in 1977. He was often criticized for being overweight.
Cecil Fielder, built for power at 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds (113 kg), gained Detroit's attention by hitting 38 home runs in Japan's Central League in 1989. He was playing for the Hanshin Tigers, who had purchased him from the Toronto Blue Jays after the '88 season. A part-time first and third baseman for the Blue Jays, Fielder had batted 31 homers with 84 runs batted in in four seasons. With Toronto, he earned $125,000 per season; the Hanshin Tigers paid him $1,050,000, including a chauffeur and a full-time interpreter. More than the money, he said, he went to Japan for the opportunity to play every day. He became a hero to the local baseball fans that nicknamed him "Wild Bear" (wild, in Japan, is the image of power; bear, for his hulking presence).
Once again in the majors with the Detroit Tigers, Fielder, with his 51-homer, 132 RBI year in 1990, became one of the biggest stories of the season - and perhaps the biggest bargain in the sport (he earned $1.25 million). On the last day of the Tigers' season at Yankee Stadium, Fielder hit his 50th and 51st home runs to become the 11th player in ML history - and only the second in the previous 25 years - to reach the 50-HR plateau. No Detroit Tigers player had turned the mark since Hank Greenberg slugged 58 in 1938. Fielder, whose previous high mark was 14 with Toronto in 1987, provided a sudden and unexpected emergence as a legitimate slugger.
During the 1990s, Fielder built a reputation for clutch hitting and power, though the Tigers continued to be no better than mediocre. His new fans nicknamed him Big Daddy, for his big smile, peaceful temperament, and prodigious home runs.
In his six-year tenure with Detroit, Fielder had four consecutive 30-homer and 100-RBI seasons, and if the 1994 season had not been strike-shortened he almost certainly would have had another (he had 28 HRs and 90 RBI in 109 games that year). He became the only Tiger ever to hit at least 25 homers in six consecutive seasons. No player in Detroit history had hit as many over a six-year period (219), and no major league player had more home runs between 1990-95. In 1990, Fielder became the fourth American League player to have two 3-home run games in a season. Rickey Henderson and Cal Ripken, Jr. narrowly edged him for the AL's MVP Award in 1990 and 1991, respectively.
Fielder was a member of the All-Star Team in 1990, 1991, and 1993. He was traded to the New York Yankees on July 31, 1996, winning the World Series with them that year. He later played for the Anaheim Angels and Cleveland Indians between 1997 and 1998.
In his career, Cecil Fielder batted .255, with 319 HRs, 1008 RBI and a .482 slugging average, drawing 693 walks for a .345 on base percentage.
In October 2004, The Detroit News reported that Fielder was suffering from extensive domestic and gambling problems. They relied on court documents from Fielder's divorce and a lawsuit brought against him by Trump Plaza Hotel and Casinos in New Jersey describing debts to various casinos, credit card companies and banks. Fielder later filed a libel suit against Gannett, the parent company of The Detroit News, and the lead reporter, Fred Girard, accusing them of slander and defamation of character. The suit sought US$25 million in damages and fees.
In 2004, his first year of eligibility, Fielder received less than 5f the vote (he received 1 vote; the threshold was 25) from the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, thus becoming ineligible to appear on future BBWAA ballots. However, he may eventually be considered for induction into the Hall by the Veterans Committee once 20 years have passed from his date of retirement (therefore, in the year 2019), in accordance with current Hall of Fame rules (enacted in 2001).
Fielder's son, Prince, is a talented young first baseman who the Milwaukee Brewers selected in the 1st round of the 2002 amateur draft. Currently he is their starting first baseman and is an early season favorite to win Rookie of the Year.