Mike Devereaux

An exceptional athlete, Devereaux set several state track and field records during his high school days in Wyoming. At Arizona State he played in the same outfield as Oddibe McDowell and Barry Bonds. He unexpectedly made the Dodgers with a hot spring training in 1987, but soon played himself back to the minors. After batting .340 at Triple-A Albuquerque in 1988 he was sent to Baltimore in March 1989 for starter Mike Morgan.

As an Orioles rookie he displayed tremendous outfield range and a penchant for clutch hits. On July 15th he hit a disputed ninth-inning home run down Memorial Stadium’s left field line to defeat California 11-9. Three weeks later he beat Texas by launching another sudden-death home run to the same part of the ballpark. He ended his first full major-league season batting .267 with eight home runs, 46 RBIs and 22 steals.

Devereaux spent the next two years as the club’s de facto leadoff hitter, even though his developing power numbers made him better suited for an RBI spot. When Brady Anderson took over the leadoff role in 1992, Devereaux won the Orioles MVP (and finished seventh in league MVP voting) when he cracked 24 round trippers and drove in 107 runs despite spending most of the season batting second in the lineup. He ranked among the AL’s top 10 in RBIs, hits, triples, total bases and extra bases hits. He also earned a reputation as one the league’s most spectacular center fielders, using his speed to rob batters of sure hits, and his fantastic leaping ability to climb outfield walls and rescue long drives that appeared destined for the bleachers. His most memorable play came on June 5th against division-rival Toronto, when he leapt high above the left-center field wall at Camden Yards to steal a three-run homer from Blue Jays’ slugger Joe Carter in a game the Orioles would go on to win 1-0.

Seemingly poised for stardom (he made an appearance on the soap opera “The Young and the Restless” in 1993), Devereaux was unable to capitalize on his 1992 breakthrough. He slipped to .250 with 14 home runs the following year, and was batting just .203 in 85 games when the players strike prematurely ended the 1994 season. After signing a free-agent deal with the White Sox in April 1995, he rediscovered his batting stroke, hitting .306 in 92 games before Chicago dealt him to Atlanta that August. The Braves’ pennant run pickup paid dividends when he won the NLCS MVP on the strength of a three-run homer in Game Four, a game he had started because of a knee injury to right fielder David Justice.

Devereaux returned to Baltimore in a part-time role in 1996, then closed out his career with short-lived stints for Texas and Los Angeles.