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Tim Foli

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Tim Foli

Tim Foli
Born: (1950-12-08) December 8, 1950
Culver City, California
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 11, 1970, for the New York Mets
Last MLB appearance
June 15, 1985, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
MLB statistics
Batting average .251
Hits 1,515
Runs batted in 501
Career highlights and awards

Timothy John Foli (born December 8, 1950), nicknamed Crazy Horse,[1] is an American former professional baseball player, coach and minor league manager. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a shortstop for the New York Mets, Montreal Expos, San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, California Angels and New York Yankees from 1970 to 1985. At age 17, Foli was the first pick in the Major League Baseball Draft in 1968 and went on to be a member of the 1979 World Series champion Pirates. Foli was known as a fiery player who was a reliable fielder but only an average hitter. Foli was a free swinger, especially in 1982 when he walked only 14 times, the lowest total ever for 150 or more games played (Ozzie Guillén broke Foli's notorious record three years later). His free swinging did not aim for the fences, however, as he averaged less than two home runs per season.

His lack of power, combined with a lack of running speed (averaging approximately a stolen base every 20 games) resulted in Foli typically batting either second in the lineup or near the bottom. Although he accumulated few walks, Foli was also one of the most difficult to strike out, posting the league's best strikeout percentage three times and finishing in the top ten five times. Foli compiled a .333 batting average in the 1979 postseason, contributing to Pittsburgh's last World Championship. He was an accomplished bunter, finishing in the league top ten in sacrifice hits eight times including an American League-leading 26 in 1982.

Defensively, Foli led league shortstops in fielding percentage in 1980 and 1982. He led the National League in double plays twice, in total chances twice, and in putouts once. Foli's defensive low occurred on September 9, 1972 when he committed three errors in one inning, leading to three runs in Montreal's 8–3 loss.[2]


  • Early life and career 1
  • Montreal 2
  • Journeyman 3
  • Championship in Pittsburgh 4
  • Final years 5
  • Post-retirement 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life and career

Foli was born in

  • Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors). or Ultimate Mets Database

External links

  1. ^ a b Biddle, Joe (2005-05-31). "Zephyrs' struggles beginning to test Foli's patience".  
  2. ^ "Pittsburgh Pirates 8, Montreal Expos 3". 1972-09-09. 
  3. ^ "1973 - Timeline". Retrieved 2006-06-20. 
  4. ^ "Yearly League Leaders & Records for AB per SO". Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  5. ^ "Rick Burleson". Retrieved 2006-06-19. 
  6. ^ "Angels Suspend Foli".  
  7. ^ a b "Meet the Manager: Tim Foli".  
  8. ^ "Foli Out as Manager".  
  9. ^ "A Story of Four Countries". Retrieved 2006-06-19. 
  10. ^ "Transactions".  
  11. ^ Haudricourt, Tom (1999-08-12). "Fall of '97 marked the beginning of the end".  
  12. ^ "Royals Coaches".  
  13. ^ Wheeler, Lonnie (2000-11-17). "Reds swap vets for prospects".  
  14. ^ Jackson, Tony (2001-06-21). "Reds notebook: Foli requires stitches after scuffle with Oester". The Cincinnati Post. Archived from the original on 2006-11-11. Retrieved 2006-06-19. 
  15. ^ "Ken Griffey Sr. returns to scout for Reds". The Cincinnati Post. 2002-02-24. Archived from the original on 2005-02-09. Retrieved 2006-06-21. 
  16. ^ Jackson, Tony (2003-07-28). "Reds shake-up". The Cincinnati Post. Archived from the original on 2005-02-07. Retrieved 2006-06-21. 
  17. ^ Czerwinski, Kevin T. (2005-03-31). "Major changes ahead for Minors". Retrieved 2006-06-20. 
  18. ^ "Zephyrs skipper takes leave of absence". 2006-06-09. Retrieved 2006-06-15. 
  19. ^ Shakespeare, Ed (2004-07-03). "On the hill and in the stands". Retrieved 2006-06-20. 
  20. ^ "Transactions".  
  21. ^ Mattern, Mark (2006-06-01). "June Starts With A Bang, More Moves".  
  22. ^ Oliver, Brian J. (2006-06-01). "Roster Moves 06/01/06". Nationals Farm Authority. Retrieved 2006-06-22. 


See also

Foli's son, Daniel Foli, is a pitcher, who was drafted by the Harrisburg Senators on June 1, 2006.[21][22]

After taking 2004 off, Foli was hired by the Washington Nationals to be the manager of their Class AAA minor league team, the New Orleans Zephyrs, for 2005.[17] Brought back for 2006, Foli left a game and took time off after suffering from apparent hyperthermia on June 9, 2006.[18]

On September 16, 2000,[13] Foli began three tumultuous seasons as a coach with the Cincinnati Reds, reunited with former Angels catcher Bob Boone, who was the Reds' manager. Just a few months into his coaching job, Foli became embroiled in a physical confrontation with fellow coach, Ron Oester, after a game.[14] Foli required stitches. The turmoil in Cincinnati did not soon end, as Oester was let go after the season, the team's superstar, Ken Griffey, Jr. was injured in four consecutive seasons, coach Ken Griffey, Sr. resigned on bad terms,[15] and the Reds posted three consecutive losing seasons. As a result, Foli, Boone, the general manager and another coach were all fired on July 28, 2003.[16]

[7] On November 19, 1991, Foli was named the first base coach and infield coach for the

After retirement as a player, Tim Foli turned to coaching. He was the third base coach and infield coach for the Texas Rangers in 1986 and 1987.[7] During the off-season in early 1987, Foli was the manager of the Caguas, Puerto Rico team in the Caribbean World Series when his fiery personality made news. After losing the first two games to the Dominican Republic, Caguas general manager Félix Millán fired Foli, claiming he had been disrespectful.[8][9] Caguas recovered to win the championship.


Foli batted just .189 in 19 games with the Pirates in 1985, before Pittsburgh released him on June 17 and he retired at age 34.

Foli played very little in the last third of the next season, finishing with only 88 games. Towards the end of the season, Foli was suspended by the team for not being in uniform after a September 11 rain delay.[6] The Angels traded Foli to the New York Yankees for pitcher Curt Kaufman after the season. In 61 games, Foli played all four infield positions for the Yankees, who traded him to his old stomping grounds in Pittsburgh after the season in a trade which brought 20-year-old Jay Buhner to the Yankees.

After the 1981 season and shortly after his 31st birthday, Foli was traded again, moving from Pittsburgh to the California Angels in exchange for 22-year-old catcher Brian Harper. Foli was reunited with Gene Mauch, his manager from Montreal. He was slated to be a utility infielder for the Angels, but when Rick Burleson suffered a torn rotator cuff in mid-April, Foli spent the season as the starting shortstop.[5] A mid-September winning streak propelled the Angels into first place and into the 1982 American League playoffs, but Foli managed only two hits and one RBI as the Angels lost to the Milwaukee Brewers three games to two.

Final years

Foli posted typical numbers for him in 1980 and the strike-shortened 1981 season, but the Pirates, suffering from the decline of future Baseball Hall of Fame member Willie Stargell, as well as other intangibles, dropped from World Champions to mediocrity.

Pittsburgh went on to sweep the 1979 National League Championship Series, with Foli driving in a run in all three games. In the World Series, Foli had a hit in six of the seven games, but the Pirates were trailing three games to one. Facing 23-game winner and 1979 Cy Young Award winner Mike Flanagan, Foli scored the tying run and drove in three insurance runs to keep the Pirates alive in Game 5. Foli then scored a run in Game 6 against Jim Palmer and the Pirates forced a Game 7. In the next game, with Foli's immense help, the Pirates won the World Championship.

After playing just three games for the Mets in 1979, Foli and a minor league player were traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for shortstop Frank Taveras. The trade sent Foli from the worst team in the league to one of the best. Pittsburgh was locked in a season-long battle with Montreal for first place, but took the lead for good in the final days of the season. Foli set career highs in batting average, RBI, runs, hits and on-base percentage. He also struck out once every 38 at bats, a strikeout ratio which has not been bested since.[4]

Championship in Pittsburgh

After the 1977 season, Foli's original team, the Mets, purchased his contract from San Francisco. 1978 was a typical season for Foli, who played 113 games and batted .257 while the Mets finished with the worst record in the National League.

1977 was the beginning of Foli's time as a major league journeyman. In his final nine seasons, Foli spent seven different stints with six different franchises. His travels began on April 22, 1977 when he was traded to the San Francisco Giants for shortstop Chris Speier. Foli, who was batting .175 at the time of the trade, hit only .228 for the Giants, who finished well out of playoff contention. Foli's Giants highlight was on July 22, when he had the only two-homer game of his career.


Foli was popular in Montreal, as evidenced on July 8, 1973, when Houston Astros left fielder Bob Watson slid hard into Foli at second base trying to break up a double play, breaking Foli's jaw. When Watson returned to left field in the next half-inning, the Montreal fans at Jarry Park hurled debris at him.[3] Foli missed the next month of the season.

Foli's offensive numbers in five seasons with Montreal were representative of his whole career. He batted between .238 and .264 each season, only once slugging over .300, and only once reaching .300 in on-base percentage. 1976 was the only offensive season that stood out for Foli, as he posted career highs with 36 doubles (fifth-highest in the N.L.), six home runs and a .366 slugging average. On April 21, 1976, Foli hit a single, double and triple against the Chicago Cubs before the game was suspended. When the game was resumed the next day, Foli hit a home run to complete the first cycle in Montreal Expos history. In addition, Foli's cycle was the first "natural cycle" (where the single, double, triple and home run are hit in that sequence) in almost a decade.

Before the 1976.


Foli spent all of 1971 with the Mets, fighting for playing time at second base and third base. On May 9, he had an RBI triple and a three-run double in the first two innings for his first four-RBI game. It would prove to be his last four-RBI game until 1979. In 97 games, his batting average was .226, with both his on-base percentage and slugging average below .300.

At age seventeen, Foli started out poorly with the Marion Mets of the Appalachian League. The following year, while the Mets were on their way to winning the 1969 World Series, Foli hit over .300 for their high single A minor league team, the Visalia Mets of the California League. In 1970, Foli posted decent numbers for the AAA Tidewater Tides and the Mets called the 19-year-old up to the majors on September 11. At the time, he was the fourth youngest player in the majors, behind César Cedeño, Balor Moore and Don Gullett. In his second game, Foli started at third base, picked up two hits and drove in a late run as the Mets defeated the St. Louis Cardinals. The defending champions faded the rest of the way and missed the playoffs.


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