Greg Vaughn, cousin to former Major League first baseman Mo Vaughn, has blasted over 350 home runs in a checkered 14-year MLB career.
Vaughn broke in with the Milwaukee Brewers of the American League in 1989. He was a highly-regarded power prospect who never quite lived up to expectations in Milwaukee. In the early years of his career, Vaughn was plagued by high strikeout totals and low batting averages. The highest average he posted as a Brewer was a .267 clip in 1993, and during his tenure in Milwaukee he had seasons of .220 (1990), .224 (1995), and .228 (1992). Vaughn was also prone to minor, nagging injuries during his stay in Milwaukee that hurt his production. His 1993 season, where he also hit 30 home runs and drove in 97, was his best in Milwaukee...
Until the 1996 season, when Vaughn suddenly began tearing up American League pitching, the Brewers decided to trade him while his value was high, and so he was shipped to the contending San Diego Padres in midseason, while leading the American League in home runs. Vaughn would struggle badly in a Padre uniform for the next season and a half. His final totals for 1996, easily his best season to date, were a .260 average, 41 homers, and 117 RBI, but most of these stats were accumulated as a Brewer. San Diego made it to the playoffs, almost in spite of Vaughn, and he had only three hitless at-bats in the postseason.
Vaughn batted .216 with only 18 home runs in 1997 and seemed to be finished, but enjoyed a stunning turnaround in 1998, when the Padres made it all the way to the World Series and lost to the perennial-champion New York Yankees. Vaughn posted across-the-board career highs of 50 home runs, 119 RBI, and a .272 average. He also contributed three postseason homers.
The Padres decided to cut payroll after the season, and Vaughn was sent to the Cincinnati Reds. He was a popular player in Cincinnati, and hit 45 home runs in his only season there. Vaughn batted only .245, but seemed to be automatic in the clutch, and drove in 118 runs with only 135 hits. The Reds narrowly missed making the postseason, losing to the New York Mets in a sudden death playoff.
After the season, Vaughn was a free agent, and he signed with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, quite possibly baseball's worst franchise. The Rays fielded a lineup of aging sluggers, of which Vaughn was meant to be the centerpiece along Fred McGriff and Vinny Castilla. Of the three, only McGriff put up respectable numbers. Castilla hit only 6 home runs, and was released early the next season, and Vaughn battled injuries and finished with only 28 home runs. Predictably, the Rays finished last.
Vaughn started well in 2001, but an ankle injury hampered him in the second half and he finished with a .233 average and 24 homers. Vaughn began the 2002 season in a terrible slump, and was batting only .160 when the Devil Rays shut him down for the season in June with a ribcage injury.
It seems unlikely that Vaughn will be a starting player in the majors again, after three subpar seasons, but he will probably command some interest as a reserve outfielder, as he has hit 352 career home runs to date.
Greg Vaughn signed a minor league contract in April 2003 with the Colorado Rockies.