Over the weekend, I bought a pack of baseball cards, and in it was a card of Phil Nevin, the first overall pick in the 1992 MLB draft, and current Yankees’ third-base coach.
I think of three things when I hear the name Phil Nevin:
- Yankees third-base coach
- Picked five spots ahead of Derek Jeter
- Wanted to fight the Astros hitting coach during the 2019 ALCS
Phil Nevin was picked five spots ahead of Yankees legend and near-unanimous Hall of Famer Derek Jeter. Imagine if Jeter was picked first? He never would have been a Yankee. That is not a world I want to live in. However, we’re talking about Phil Nevin here.
When the name Phil Nevin comes to mind, one does not always think of first overall picks. Names such as Alex Rodriguez or Ken Griffey Jr. come to mind, but Phil Nevin is not really a name one thinks of.
However, Phil Nevin had a pretty nice career. He played for seven teams over twelve years, most notably on the San Diego Padres. During his playing days, he registered 703 runs batted in, 208 home runs, a .270 batting average, a .343 on-base percentage, a .472 slugging percentage, and a .814 on-base plus slugging percentage. He was an All-Star once, in the 2001 season.
Before he played for the Padres, Nevin was with the Houston Astros, Detroit Tigers, and the Los Angeles Angels. When he was traded to the Padres from the Angels, his career changed completely.
On this date in 1999:
The #Padres traded for an underachieving Phil Nevin.
“I owe them quite a bit. That day changed my life as far as baseball was concerned.”https://t.co/CZH9O9Y5ee pic.twitter.com/En0NDMANf6
— Jeff Sanders (@sdutSanders) March 29, 2020
Nevin’s two best seasons were 2000 and 2001. Over those two years, Nevin had 72 home runs, 233 runs batted in, a .304 batting average, a .381 on-base percentage, a .565 slugging percentage, a .946 on-base plus slugging percentage, and a 147 OPS +.
With the Padres, Phil Nevin played out of his mind. Specifically, those two years were insane. Imagine if he was able to sustain that production for his entire career. He would most likely have been one of the best players of all time.
When I think of Phil Nevin, I think of the 2019 ALCS. The Yankees were suspicious of the Astros, and they believed the Astros were illegally stealing signs. Which they were. But it was not proven yet. In response to these “allegations”, the Astros hitting coach, Alex Cintron, raised his middle finger and gestured it toward the Yankees dugout. The very next inning, Phil Nevin, manning his position at third base, told Alex Bregman, “Tell your f—ing hitting coach I’m going to kick his f—ing a-s.”
The best part of all this is that he was drafted first overall by the Astros in 1992.
I have loved Phil Nevin ever since. Although his words were strong, standing up for and defending his team during the postseason against a cheating team was amazing.
Phil Nevin. Legend.
Featured Image: Donald Miralle/Getty Images