Sometimes you may be in your car listening to some sports radio station or you may be sitting at home watching Baseball tonight and you hear someone bring up a name of a player from 10 to 20 years ago and you think to yourself, "Oh Yeah, I remember him" and some memories of that player stroll back into your thoughts for a few minutes. You then think to yourself, "I wonder whatever happened to him?" and then after a few moments you go back to your day and the moment is over. Well, from time to time, I'm going to take you back to those moments and bring you up to date to where these players went after their glory days passed by.
I had those very same thoughts that I described above just the other day. I was listening to a sports radio station where they were discussing the 1994 strike season and one of the callers brought up something about Mo Vaughn, who was playing first base for the Boston Red Sox during that time. Once I heard the name mentioned, Mo Vaughn, I had several memories run through my mind. All the home runs he crushed in Fenway park, the stance he had where he crowded the plate and intimidated pitchers, the battles he had with Red Sox management. Some of the memories were good ones and others not so much. Mo was a three time American League all-star selection and won the American League MVP award in 1995. He quite possibly could have won the AL MVP award in 1994 as well if it hadn't been for the strike ending the season as he was having a banner season that year.
One thing I always will remember about Mo was how much of a big ole teddy bear he was when it came to kids and how giving he was when it came to donating time or money to the community. Mo had a huge heart off the field as well as on it and he contributed tons of time and money to charity. During his time in Boston he co-founded the Mo Vaughn youth development program which included an after school program for kids ages 13-16 to go for help with school work or just to go for a safe place to stay off the streets and out of trouble. I remember Mo mentioning about how the kids that didn't make A's or B's needed just as much attention as the kids that did. Mo cared for the kids that were at-risk and worked hard to see that they didn't fall into a life of crime or drugs.
Mo became the face of the Red Sox organiztion from 1991 through 1998. He was Grand Marshal of the 1994 Boston Christmas Parade. He had a couple of well known skirmishes while with the Red Sox as well. In August 1991, during batting practice in Anaheim for a game against the Angels, Mo and teammate Mike Greenwell got into an argument that turned physical. Greenwell came away with a black eye and did interviews the next day with dark sunglasses on. It was Greenwell that threw the first punch during the altercation, but Mo seemed to come out on the better end of the deal. In September 1993, Mo earned some much deserved respect during a game against the Chicago White Sox. Chicago's George Bell took heed to two inside pitches by Boston rookie Aaron Sele and charged the mound to confront him. Bell never made it to the mound as Big Mo came out of nowhere and proceeded to tackle Bell and knock him straight off of his feet.
Mo's career ended with the Red Sox in 1998 after several jabs in the media about the Red Sox management. He signed a hefty contract to play with the Angels in 1999 and after his first very successful season with the Angels his career spiraled down quickly. He was never really taken in amongst his teammates there. I'm not sure if it was because of the huge contract he signed or if it stemmed from the all out brawl one game that broke out and Mo refused to leave the dugout area. Mo missed the entire 2001 season due to injury and was traded to the New York Mets for the 2002 season. Mo's weight ballooned while in New York and a knee injury in 2003 permanently ended his baseball career.
He was linked to steroids in a report by Senator George J. Mitchell in 2007. Although it was never proven that he took them. Several checks from Mo Vaughn were discovered in the possession of a well known steroid peddler. This fact has cast a dark shadow over some of Mo's best statistical years. He was eligible for the Hall of Fame ballot in 2009, but he didn't garner enough votes and his name fell off the ballot. What can't be denied is Mo Vaughn supplied us all with some great memories and some questionable ones as well. He got along with teammates and he fought with them. He struggled with management and injuries in his career, but he had a huge heart and poured it out into community service and charity work. He now is president of a trucking company. We all say thanks for the memories you gave us Big Mo.