Paul Leo Molitor (born August 22, 1956, in Saint Paul, Minnesota), nicknamed "Molly" and "The Ignitor", is an American former Major League Baseball designated hitter and infielder. During his 21-year baseball career, he played for the Milwaukee Brewers (1978–92), Toronto Blue Jays (1993–95), and Minnesota Twins (1996–98). In 2004, he was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
High School, College and the Minors
After graduating from Cretin-Derham Hall High School, he was selected in the 28th round of the 1974 free agent draft as a pitcher by the St. Louis Cardinals, but opted instead to attend college at the University of Minnesota. He was a three year starter for the Golden Gophers, earning All American honors as a shortstop for his sophomore and junior years.
After his junior year in college, he was selected third overall in the 1978 free agent draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. He signed with the Brewers and began his professional career in Iowa, playing for the Class A Burlington Bees of the Midwest League.
Molitor played several positions during his career. He started out as a shortstop, then moved to second base when the briefly-retired Robin Yount returned. Molitor then was moved to third base at the age of 25. During the latter half of his career, he was used primarily as a designated hitter, with occasional games at first base. He played 44% of his career games as a DH.
Molitor was part of a young Milwaukee Brewers team that lost the 1982 World Series in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals. Molitor batted .355 during the series. In Game 1, he had five hits, a World Series record. During the 1982 season, he hit .302 and led the American League with 136 runs scored. Molitor also attracted national media attention during his 39-game hitting streak, which ended with Molitor in the on-deck circle when Rick Manning got a game-ending hit to beat the Cleveland Indians on August 26, 1987. Fans booed Manning for driving in the winning run and thus depriving Molitor of one last chance to reach 40 games. The streak continues to stand as the fifth-longest in modern-day baseball history, and remains the longest since Pete Rose's 44-game hit streak in 1978. Although Molitor wanted to remain with Milwaukee when he became a free agent after the 1992 season, the franchise offered him a one year contract with a $900,000 pay cut (to $2.5 million), while the Toronto Blue Jays offered a three-year, $13 million deal, leading to his signing with the defending World Series champion Blue Jays.
Full article ▸