Luis Gonzalez (1967
- ) is a late-blooming major-league leftfielder
, best known for his years as a star with the Arizona Diamondbacks
. Gonzalez was a very mediocre hitter who had toiled in obscurity for his first nine years in the major league
s with the Astros
, and Tigers
when he was traded to the Diamondbacks after the 1998
season. In 1999
Gonzo shocked the baseball
world by setting new career highs with a .336 batting average
, 26 home run
s, and 111 RBI
, earning him a spot on his first All-Star
team. These numbers were so much higher than Gonzalez's career norms that most people discounted them as a fluke and predicted a return to earth for the next season.
But the next season Gonzalez resoundingly squelched his naysayers by batting .311 and setting an new career high of 31 homers. The biggest suprise was yet to come, however. If people had been stunned by Gonzalez's 1999 campaign, they should have been knocked unconscious by his 2001 numbers. Out of nowhere, Gonzalez hit an astronomical 57 homers, knocked in 142 runs and scored 128, batting .325 with a 429 on-base percentage and a .688 slugging average. Gonzo's MVP-type year helped lead the Diamondbacks to their first World Series championship. Was this another fluke? Will Gonzalez fall back to earth or will he keep soaring higher? Only time will tell, but regardless, Gonzalez has established himself as legitimate superstar.