Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fielder Seeking 4th RBI Crown, Spot in History

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fielder Seeking 4th RBI Crown, Spot in History

Article excerpt

He has not won a single MVP award and probably won't win this year, either. He has started only one All-Star Game and was left off the American League team last year.

Hard to believe that someone who has done as much as Cecil Fielder has attracted so little attention, isn't it?

Those snubs used to bother him, too. He still gets steamed thinking about that day in November 1990 when he got dressed up in a suit, waiting to be named the American League's MVP, and the award instead went to Rickey Henderson.

But this season, the Detroit Tigers' big first baseman is close to doing something that no voter needs to validate. Fielder could become the first player in history to lead the major leagues in runs batted in for four successive years.

Fielder began the weekend with 108 RBIs. Frank Thomas of the Chicago White Sox led the majors with 113 and Albert Belle of the Cleveland Indians was next with 111, followed by Fielder.

"That would be beautiful," Fielder said. "The game's been around a long time and it hasn't happened. It would mean more than an MVP, because I felt I already had two MVP seasons anyway. This is what it's all about - not doing it for one season, doing it for a long time."

Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb are the only players to lead the majors in RBIs for three consecutive seasons. Ruth did it from 1919-21 and Cobb did it from 1907-09.

"It's going to be one of the toughest things that can happen," Tigers manager Sparky Anderson said. "The pressure will mount and no human being can get away from pressure."

But Fielder has lived with pressure almost from the day he became a professional. He came up through the Toronto system. But the Blue Jays had Fred McGriff at first base and Fielder was fighting for playing time.

In utter frustration, he went to Japan in 1989.

When the Tigers coaxed him back with a hefty three-year contract, eyebrows shot up all around baseball. …

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