An underappreciated player for much of his career, Velarde served as a reserve for the Yankees from 1987 until 1992, when he took over the starting shortstop job. He was a regular in the lineup at various positions until 1995, but was let go after the season due to the arrival of Derek Jeter. Hence, he missed the Yankees’ run of four titles in five years.
Velarde signed with the Angels before the 1996 campaign and served as their second baseman until mid 1999 when the Athletics acquired him and Omar Olivares from Anaheim. He was a key member of Oakland’s 2000 playoff squad, hitting in the second slot behind rookie Terrence Long, batting .282, and turning the first unassisted triple play since 1994 on May 29, 2000.
When the A’s elected to go with youngster Jose Ortiz at second base in 2001, Velarde signed with the Rangers but was shipped back to the Yankees in July when Scott Brosius went down with a broken hand.