A hacking, heavyset, righthanded slugger, Deer’s prodigious home runs were matched by equally prodigious strikeout totals. He came up through the Giants minor league chain, winning three minor-league home run crowns (one at each level), but also leading his league in strikeouts four times.
Deer was with the Giants for all of 1985, but was traded to the Brewers after hitting only .185 with eight home runs in 78 games, and he won Milwaukee’s right field job in 1986. He belted 33 HR in his first AL season, but also fanned a whopping 179 times, then set an AL record with 186 strikeouts the following season (breaking Pete Incaviglia‘s year-old mark by one). He led the league again in 1988 with 153 strikeouts, hitting a career-high .252 as his home run output fell to 23.
After two more seasons which saw his batting average drop down to .210 and .209, Deer signed a free-agent contract with Detroit in November 1990. The change of venue failed to arrest his downward spiral, however, as he batted a miserable .179 while fanning 175 times. His second season with the Tigers proved much better (.247 with 32 home runs), but the following year would be his last in the big leagues save a brief 25-game comeback attempt with the Padres in 1996.