Edgardo Alfonzo (born November 8, 1973 in Miranda State, Venezuela) is a Major League Baseball infielder for the Toronto Blue Jays. Throughout his career Alfonzo has played for the New York Mets (1995-2002), San Francisco Giants (2003-2005) and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2006). He bats and throws right handed, and is 5'11 and 187 pounds. Alfonzo has worn the number 13 throughout his career.
In an eleven-year career, Alfonzo has compiled a .287 batting average with 146 home runs and 739 RBI in 1476 games.
Alfonzo was signed by the Mets as a non-draft amateur free agent in 1991 and made his debut on April 26th of the 1995 season. At the beginning he was a semi-regular fielder, splitting time at second base, shortstop, and third base with several others. During his rookie season, Alfonzo spent most of his time at third base while accumulating a .310 batting average after the mid-season break. In 1997 he started regularly on third; from 1999-2001 he played at second, and came back to third in 2002.
While he has shown ability to hit fastballs out of the ballpark, Alfonzo is primarily a line drive hitter with power to all fields. He is a patient hitter. He can hit behind the runner, bunt, hit and run, hit in the clutch, and he takes a significant number of base on balls. Alfonzo has some speed but has never put it to use to steal bases.
Alfonzo had his first opportunity to display his clutch hitting ability to a nationwide audience in the 1999 playoffs. After finishing in a tie with the Cincinatti Reds for the National League Wild Card, the Mets played a one game playoff to decide who would go on to the division series. In his first at-bat of the game, Alfonzo homered over the centerfield fence, providing the Mets with all the offense they would need as Al Leiter threw a complete game shutout. On the very next night the Mets played the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first game of the Division Series. Facing the feared Randy Johnson, Alfonzo again homered in his first at-bat of the game, this time launching a two run shot to centerfield. In the eighth inning of the same game, with the score deadlocked at 4-4 Alfonzo launched a grand slam down the left field line to help seal the victory for the Mets. In 2000, playing against the San Francisco Giants in the Division Series Alfonzo hit a three run homer in the ninth inning of game one, which would prove to be of immense importance as J.T. Snow launched a three run homer of his own in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game. The Mets would eventually win it in eleven innings. In game three of the series with the Mets trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Giants brought in their dominant closer Rob Nen, who had not blown a save since the All Star break. Alfonzo responded by lining a ball down the left field line for a double to drive in Lenny Harris. Benny Agbayani would later homer in the thirteenth inning to win the game for New York. Alfonzo's knack for getting the big hit in the clutch spot had endeared him to several Met fans who still consider him one of the all time Met greats.
Coming off two excellent seasons in which he batted .304 and .324, Alfonzo had every reason to expect a big year in 2001. He had his best powers in 1999 (27 home runs, 108 RBI, 41 doubles) and 2000 (25, 94, 40), and at 27, he was at an age in which many hitters have their best season. However, Alfonzo suffered from a variety of injuries, including sore right hand, knee, thigh and a back injury from years before, costing him playing time and lowering his record to .234, 17 HR, 49 RBI. He finished 2002 with .308, 16, 56, and signed with San Francisco as a free agent in the off-season.
In 2003 Alfonzo struggled for most of the first half for the Giants. He was hitting .216 with 27 RBI at mid-season, but he hit .306 with 54 RBI the rest of the way, and performed well against the Florida Marlins in the NLDS, when he hit .529 (9-for-17) with five RBI.
Alfonzo enjoyed a slight career renaissance in 2004 hitting for his career average although with reduced power numbers. But his career continued its downward trend in 2005 due to age, nagging injuries and reduced playing time in favor of Pedro Feliz. As a member of the Angels, Alfonzo's playing time further decreased in favor of younger players. After hitting .100 for the season in late May, the Angels released Alfonzo, whose agent had gone public in demands for a trade for lack of playing time, on May 20th. On May 26, 2006, Edgardo signed a minor-league contract with the Blue Jays and was soon called up to Toronto to help the Jays' injury and error riddled middle infield.
Despite his injuries, Alfonzo remains one of the best defensive third basemen in the majors. He has great range and instincts for the position, ability to turn the double play, and his arm, though not the strongest around, is above-average.
Legend has it that Alfonzo had a devout following while in New York known as the AAA, the Association for the Appreciation of Alfonzo. The group showed up at batting practice with a Venezuelan flag with the purpose of attracting attention to his underappreciated talent. While the group made an appearance in San Francisco, the AAA eventually dissolved after the Mets did not re-sign Alfonzo.
All-Star (2000) Silver Slugger Award (1999) Top 10 MVP (8th, 1999) Twice Top 10 in batting average (1997, 2002) Finished second in Gold Glove balloting on 3 occasions; in 1997 as a third basmeman, and in 1999 and 2001 at second base. Alfonzo finished third in the voting as a third baseman in 1999 and fourth in 2004 at second base. Currently ranks third in New York Mets franchise history with 1,136 hits and fifth with 538 RBI. Currently ranks first in New York Mets franchise history with 123 runs scored in a single season. This feat was accomplished in the 1999 season. See also
Players from Venezuela in MLB