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Willie Clay Upshaw (born April 27, 1957 in Blanco, Texas) is a retired Major League Baseball player who played first base for the Toronto Blue Jays (1978, 1980–1987) and Cleveland Indians (1988), both of the American League.

Willie Upshaw
First baseman
Born: (1957-04-27) April 27, 1957 (age 62)
Blanco, Texas
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
April 9, 1978, for the Toronto Blue Jays
Last MLB appearance
September 28, 1988, for the Cleveland Indians
MLB statistics
Batting average.262
Home runs123
Runs batted in528
Teams

Following his Major League career, he played two seasons in Japan for the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks (1989–1990).

He was later the field manager of the independent minor league Bridgeport Bluefish.[1]

BiographyEdit

Upshaw was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 5th round of the 1975 Major League Baseball draft.

Following the 1977 season, he was selected by the expansion Toronto Blue Jays in the Rule 5 draft, and in 1982, became the Blue Jays' regular first-baseman, leading the team in home runs with 21, RBI with 75, and extra base hits.

In 1983 he became the first Blue Jays player to reach the 100 RBI plateau in a season, driving in 104 runs while batting .306.[2]

Prior to the 1988 season, Upshaw's contract was purchased by the Cleveland Indians.[3] At the time of his retirement, he was Major League Baseball's career leader in home runs (123) and RBIs (528) for players whose surname begins with the letter U.[citation needed]

From 2006 to 2007 he served as the first base coach for the San Francisco Giants. When Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron's career home run record, Upshaw was the first to congratulate him with a high-five as Bonds circled the bases.

He is the cousin of the late NFL Hall of Fame guard Gene Upshaw and former NFL defensive lineman Marvin Upshaw.

In May 2007 his son, Chad Upshaw, signed a three-year contract with the Carolina Panthers as a Tight End after going undrafted following his graduation from Buffalo.

Upshaw, who resides in Fairfield, Connecticut, spent eight full seasons as manager of the independent Bridgeport Bluefish over two stints (1998-2000, 2010-2014) and also managed the club during the second half of their 2009 season following the resignation of manager Tommy John.

Upshaw was a combined 571-543 (.513) during the regular season, leading the Bluefish to four of their playoff appearances (1998-2000, 2010), three trips to the Atlantic League Championship Series (1998-1999, 2010) and their lone league championship (1999) and was also twice named league Manager of the Year (1998, 2010).

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Tommy John Steps Down as Bluefish Manager". July 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  2. ^ "Bluefish Coaching Staff". July 21, 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
  3. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/1988/03/26/sports/sports-people-upshaw-joins-indians.html

External linksEdit