Delino DeShields is one of the great baseball names of the last century. He is probably the only person on the planet with that name. Does anyone out there know any one named Delino DeShields? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Aside from having a pretty cool name, Delino DeShields is one of the great mediocre base stealers of all time. He’s right up there with Tom Goodwin and Eric Young.
I’ve been a DeShields fan since using him to steal all kinds of bases on RBI Baseball III for Nintendo. I’ve also always been a fan of the Expos. God bless that old team. Moving on…
DeShields was a first round pick of the Montreal Expos in 1987 out of high school. Delino debuted with the Expos in 1990 and finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting behind the immortal David Justice. That season DeShields helped the speedy Expos tear apart the base paths. DeShields stole 42 bases as a rookie and hit .289.
In 1991, DeShields led the National League in strikeouts as he topped the 150 plateau. However, he still stole 56 bases and scored 83 runs. He continued this kind of play for two more years while playing north of the border. DeShields stole 187 bases in four years with Montreal before getting traded to the Dodgers after the 1993 season. It was this trade that makes DeShields a bit of a baseball footnote.
In this deal, the Expos sent the speedy DeShields to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a young pitcher named Pedro Martinez. You really know the rest of the story. DeShields continued to post high steal and strikeout numbers to go with a low batting average and on base percentage. Martinez on the other hand, blossomed into an ace and won Cy Young Awards with the Expos and Red Sox.
Delino spent three years with the Dodgers then bounced around the league with the Cardinals, Orioles, and Cubs before falling out of the bigs after the 2003 season. DeShields played in the bigs for 13 seasons and stole 463 bases. Not bad. however, he retired with a career batting average of only .268, which doesn’t cut it for a top-of-the-order guy like DeShields.
DeShields currently manages minor league ball in the Reds organization. He is married and has five children, all of whom have names starting with the letter “D”. Awesome. In fact, his son Delino Jr. (I guess there is more than one Delino DeShields) is one of the top running back prospects in the country.