Sixto Joaquin Lezcano Curras (born November 28, 1953 in Arecibo, Puerto Rico) is a retired baseball player who played for 12 seasons as an outfielder in the Major Leagues between 1974 and 1985. He played for five teams in the Majors and won a Gold Glove during his career.
Lezcano was signed as an amateur in 1970 by the Milwaukee Brewers. After spending four seasons in their minor league system, Lezcano reached the big leagues for the first time in 1974. He became the Brewers' starting right fielder in 1975, a job he held for the next six seasons. He showed a particularly strong throwing arm in right field, and led American League (AL) outfielders in assists in 1978.
His best offensive numbers came in 1979, when he finished among the top 10 in the AL in batting average and home runs, and finished with the third-highest slugging percentage in the American League. That season, he was honored for his defensive skills with the only Gold Glove of his major league career.
While with the Brewers, he became the only player in Major League Baseball history to hit a grand slam on Opening Day twice, doing so in 1978 and 1980.
After the 1980 season, he was part of a blockbuster 7-player trade with the St. Louis Cardinals, being one of four players traded in exchange for Rollie Fingers, Pete Vuckovich, and Ted Simmons. He wasn't able to consistently crack the starting lineup in St. Louis, and batted .266 with the Cardinals in 1981.
He was involved in another major trade after the 1981 season, being traded to the San Diego Padres with Garry Templeton for Ozzie Smith. He hit well in his first year with the Padres, and was among the top 10 in the National League (NL) in on-base percentage. However, his numbers fell off with the Padres in the 1983 season, and he lost his job in right field to a young Tony Gwynn. He was eventually traded to the Philadelphia Phillies late in the year in exchange for four players to be named later.
Lezcano joined a Phillies team which won the NL pennant in 1983. He platooned with Joe Lefebvre during the postseason, and homered off Rick Honeycutt during the 1983 National League Championship Series (NLCS). He had one base hit in eight at-bats in the Phillies' World Series loss.
He continued to platoon with Philadelphia in 1984 before leaving the team as a free agent. He signed for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1985 and served as one of the team's pinch hitters. The Pirates released him in spring training before the 1986 season, which ended his Major League career. In 1987 he joined Japanese team Yokohama Taiyō Whales but he wasn't successful in Japan.
His cousin, Carlos Lezcano, played for two seasons in the Major Leagues.
Lezcano is the batting coach for the Danville Braves (the Rookie league affiliate of the Atlanta Braves).
Lezcano was mentioned by name in the song "Sixto (That's Who the Happy People Know)".
- ^ "Sixto Lezcano". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2008-06-01.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i "Sixto Lezcano statistics". Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved 2008-06-01.
- ^ "Sixto Lezcano Statistics". The Baseball Cube. Retrieved 2008-06-01.
- ^ "Milwaukee Brewers Positional Chart". Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved 2008-06-01.
- ^ "The Ballplayers - Sixto Lezcano". BaseballLibrary.com. Retrieved 2008-06-01. The article erroneously states he also led National League outfielders in assists in 1983; he actually did so in 1982.
- ^ a b c Charlton, James. "Sixto Lezcano from the Chronology". BaseballLibrary.com. Retrieved 2008-06-01.
- ^ "1983 San Diego Padres Lineups and Defense". Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved 2008-06-01.
- ^ "October 8, 1983 National League Championship Series (NLCS) Game 4 at Veterans Stadium Box Score and Play by Play". Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved 2008-06-01.
By Dean Hanley
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