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Mitchell Otis Page (October 15, 1951 – March 12, 2011) was a Major League Baseball player. He finished second to Hall of Famer Eddie Murray in American League Rookie of the Year balloting when he came up with the Oakland Athletics in 1977.

Mitchell Page
Designated Hitter / Left fielder
Born: (1951-10-15)October 15, 1951
Los Angeles, California
Died: March 12, 2011(2011-03-12) (aged 59)
Glendale, Arizona
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 9, 1977, for the Oakland Athletics
Last MLB appearance
September 30, 1984, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
MLB statistics
Batting average.266
Home runs72
Runs batted in259
Teams

Page played the role of the California Angels first baseman, "Abascal," in the 1994 Disney movie Angels in the Outfield.[1]

Early yearsEdit

Page was born in Los Angeles, California. He originally drafted out of Centennial High School in Compton, California by the A's in the fourth round of the 1970 Major League Baseball Draft, but chose instead to attend Compton Community College. After transferring to California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the third round of the 1973 Major League Baseball Draft.

After hitting 43 home runs and driving in 173 runs with a .292 batting average over two seasons in the Pirates' farm system, the A's finally acquired Page on March 15, 1977, along with Tony Armas, Doc Medich, Doug Bair, Dave Giusti and Rick Langford for Phil Garner, Chris Batton and Tommy Helms.[2]

Oakland A'sEdit

Immediately upon joining his new club, Page assumed the job of everyday left fielder, and showed poise with a promising career ahead of him when he batted .307 with 21 home runs and 75 runs batted in for the Oakland Athletics in his rookie year. He collected nine first place votes to Murray's twelve to finish second in voting for the AL Rookie of the Year Award.

Page had a respectable 1978 season, batting .285 with seventeen home runs and 70 RBIs. He got into a contract dispute with A's owner Charlie Finley during Spring training 1979, and wound up getting suspended by the owner for refusing to play in exhibition games.[3] He was used as the designated hitter during the regular season as injuries had limited his range in the outfield. He produced just a .247 batting average with nine home runs and 42 RBIs in his new role.

Page batted just .146 with four home runs and thirteen RBIs in the first half of the strike shortened 1981 season. When play resumed in August, Page saw just three more at-bats for the rest of the season, spending most of his time with the triple A Tacoma Tigers. The A's won the first half of the season; Page was kept off the roster for 1981 American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals and the 1981 American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees.[4] Page spent most of 1982 with Tacoma and 1983 on the disabled list.

Pittsburgh PiratesEdit

Page was released by the A's during Spring training 1984. He signed a minor league deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates shortly afterwards, and in twelve at bats, hit .333, with three walks as a pinch hitter in August. After spending all of 1985 with Pittsburgh's Triple-A affiliate in Hawaii, he was released.

In 673 games over 8 seasons, Page compiled a .266 batting average (560-for-2104) with 297 runs, 72 home runs and 259 RBI.

Coaching careerEdit

Page returned to Tacoma as their hitting coach from 1992 through 1994, and served as first base coach for the Kansas City Royals from 1995 to 1997.

He accepted a job with the St. Louis Cardinals as hitting coach for the Memphis Redbirds in 1998. From there, he moved to minor league hitting coordinator in 1999. Midway through the 2001 season, he was promoted to the St. Louis Cardinals as hitting coach. He remained with the club through the 2004 World Series, but left the post immediately afterwards to enter an alcohol treatment facility near his Oakland, California home.[5] The Cards batted just .190 in the World Series against the Boston Red Sox.

Page returned to baseball as minor league hitting instructor for the Washington Nationals in 2005, and became the major league hitting coach in 2006.[6] Page left the job in May 2007 due to a relapse of his alcoholism. He returned to the organization later in the year as a roving minor league instructor.[7] He rejoined the Cardinals' organization, and began 2010 as a coach with the Quad Cities River Bandits, but left in May due to "personal reasons."[8]

DeathEdit

Page died in his sleep on March 12, 2011, at the age of 59. The cause of death was not immediately disclosed.[9]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Mitchell Page". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Pirates, A's Swap 9 Players; Garner and Medich Key Men". The New York Times. Associated Press. March 17, 1977. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  3. ^ "Page Suspended From A's Spring Training Camp". Kingman Daily Miner. March 9, 1979.
  4. ^ Steve Cummings (March 14, 2011). "Mitchell Page Passes". Hotstoveheat.com.
  5. ^ "Cards' coach Page fired, enters alcohol rehab". Sports Illustrated. October 31, 2004.
  6. ^ "Lopes, Page, Beasley join Nationals coaching staff". ESPN. January 13, 2006.
  7. ^ Schudel, Matt (18 March 2011). "Mitchell Page, hitting coach for Nationals and Cardinals, dies at 59". Washington Post. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Ex-Bandits Hitting Coach Dies". Quad-City Times. March 15, 2011.
  9. ^ "PASSINGS: Mitchell Page, Rick Martin". Los Angeles Times. March 15, 2011.

External linksEdit