From his debut in 1999 to 2003, Melvin Mora was known as a utility player, playing all three outfield positions, shortstop, and second base. In 2004, Mora was designated the everyday third baseman, a position he has played regularly ever since.
Mora was signed out of Venezuela in 1991. After spending seven years in the Astros minors system and couple of months in CPBL's Mercuries Tigers, he signed as a free agent with the Mets in 1998 and made his major league debut in the 1999 season. With his ability to play all three outfield positions, shortstop, second base and third, Mora was considered a valuable man to have around.
In 1999, he scored the winning run of the final game of the year for the Mets on a wild pitch by the Pirates' Brad Clontz, which propelled the Mets to a one-game playoff with Cincinnati, which they won.
Melvin Mora continued to be used as a utility player in Baltimore, always showing promise and hints of ability to play regularly at any position, but never playing at a superb level that could justify giving him the playing time opportunity to do so consistently. Things changed when an injury-depleted Orioles team used Mora almost exclusively in left field, and Mora responded with the best stretch of his career. He reached base in 32 straight games while using a 23-game hitting streak to temporarily become the American League batting leader. Finally excelling as a hitter, Mora was chosen for his first All-Star selection. Mora's season was cut short due to injuries (a bruised wrist and a partially torn ligament in his left knee), but finished with a .317 batting average, 15 home runs, and a .418 on-base percentage in 96 games.
Mora's 2003 season proved that he could be a consistent hitter at the Major League level. In 2004, Mora became the Orioles' regular third baseman and enjoyed his most productive season in the majors. Mora hit a career-high .340, finishing second in the AL batting race to Ichiro Suzuki's .372 mark; led the league hitters in on base percentage (.419); ranked 5th in slugging average (.562) and OPS (.981); 6th in runs (111), doubles (41) and times on base (264); 8th in hits (187), and 9th in total bases (264). His 27 home runs and 104 RBI were also career-highs, while leading his team in batting average, runs, on base percentage, slugging average and OPS. At third base, he improved and became more consistent as the season wore on.
In 2005, Mora once again hit 27 home runs, although his batting average and on base percentage dropped.
In a nine-year career through 2007, Mora is a .279 hitter with a .357 on-base percentage, 133 home runs and 541 RBI in 1141 games. However, on July 13 2008, in a game in which the Orioles lost to the Red Sox, he had one of the most futile days at the plate in baseball history. Mora went 0 for 5 with five infield outs, making the third out each time, and leaving at least two runners on base each time.
World Baseball ClassicEdit
Melvin Mora agreed to represent his native country, Venezuela, in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, joining fellow Venezuelan major Leaguers Bobby Abreu, Edgardo Alfonzo, Miguel Cairo, Omar Vizquel, Carlos Guillén, Johan Santana, Freddy Garcia, Carlos Silva, Carlos Zambrano, Victor Zambrano, and Francisco Rodriguez. He later pulled out after being denied the third-base position in favor of Miguel Cabrera.
- Twice All-Star (2003, 2005)
- American League Player of the Month (May 2004)
- When he was seven years old, his father was violently murdered in Venezuela by men who mistook him for somebody else.
- On July 28, 2001, Mora and wife Gisel gave birth to quintuplets at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. The babies, three girls and two boys, were named Jada Priscilla, Rebekah Alesha, Genesis Raquel, Christian Emmanuel, and Matthew David.
- List of players from Venezuela in MLB
- Top 500 home run hitters of all time
- List of Baltimore Orioles Opening Day Starting Lineups
- ESPN - profile and daily updates
- Baseball-Reference.com - Major league career statistics
- USA Today Orioles' Mora a Nº 1 dad
- Johns Hopkins Hospital Dome - Mora Quintuples
|American League Player of the Month|
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