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Frederick Stanley "Crime Dog" McGriff (born October 31, 1963 in Tampa, Florida) is a former left-handed Major League Baseball player who starred for several teams from the mid-1980s until the early 2000s. A power-hitting first baseman with a tall, lanky build, the five-time All-Star became, in 1992, the first player since the dead-ball era to lead both leagues in home runs. Although he has never hit more than 37 homers in a single season, he finished his career only seven homers away from joining the exclusive company of those who have hit 500. He won a World Series title with the Atlanta Braves in 1995.
On December 5, 1990, McGriff was traded to the San Diego Padres with Tony Fernandez in exchange for Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter - two players who would be integral in Toronto's back-to-back World Series titles in the early 1990s.
He continued to flourish in the National League, hitting .278/.396/.474 for San Diego in 1991. He led the NL in home runs in 1992, three years after he had accomplished the same feat in the AL. On July 18, 1993, the Padres, seeking to unload their high-priced veterans, dealt McGriff to the Atlanta Braves. McGriff hit a pivotal home run in his first game with the Braves and his offensive tear during the second half of the season helped carry the team to a division title. He finished with a career high 37 homers and fourth place in the NL MVP voting. McGriff was batting .318 and already had 34 home runs when the strike ended play in August 1994. It would have been a career-year for McGriff. He did manage to win the All-Star Game MVP Award that year after hitting the game-winning home run for the National League.
McGriff's production remained steady in 1995 as he continued to be a successful clean-up hitter for the Braves. He hit two home runs in the 1995 World Series as he won his only championship ring. The quiet star hit .295/.365/494 with a career-best 107 RBIs on his way to another World Series appearance in 1996. With only 22 home runs in 1997, McGriff appeared to be in decline. Being controversially called out on strikes by umpire Eric Gregg on an outside pitch by Livan Hernandez during the 1997 NLCS was the last significant event for McGriff as a Brave. The team allowed him to be picked up by the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays after the season.
It looked like McGriff would be allowed to finish out his career in his hometown of Tampa. He batted .278, but with only 19 home runs. However, McGriff's career experienced a minor renaissance in 1999 when he hit a career-high .310 with 32 home runs. The season rejuvenated McGriff's career and gave hope of him reaching the coveted 500 home run mark. After another solid season in 2000, McGriff got off to a good start in 2001. He was heavily pursued by the contending Chicago Cubs around the trade deadline, and the soft-spoken McGriff waived his no-trade clause to allow himself to be dealt to Chicago on July 27, 2001. He hit a respectable .282 with 12 homers in 49 games with the Cubs, but the team did not reach the postseason.
McGriff had 30 home runs during a strong 2002 season, which earned him a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 2003 season. He was 22 homers shy of 500 for his career, but the forty-year-old McGriff could only muster 15 with a .249 batting average.
During spring training in 2004, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays re-signed McGriff in hopes of letting the veteran ballplayer hit 500 home runs. Unfortunately, he ended up with a .181 average and had hit just two home runs in his sporadic play from the end of May until mid-July. The Devil Rays released McGriff on July 28, 2004, seven home runs shy of 500.
While McGriff hoped to catch on with another team after being released by the Devil Rays, McGriff officially declared his retirement during spring training of 2005 when he received no calls from any teams requesting his services. He retired with 493 home runs, and becomes Hall of Fame eligible in 2009.