Obscure Athletes

Where the 15 Minutes of Fame Never End

Obscure Spotlight: Otis Nixon

A friend of mine and I were having a discussion the other day about the best baseball players never to make an All-Star game, and a name I haven’t heard in far too long came up: Otis Nixon. The 17-year Major Leaguer may never have made it to the Summer Classic, but stuck around because throughout his career offered two scarce Steroid Era commodities: good outfield defense and base stealing ability.

Otis Nixon is 16th all-time in stolen bases with 620, even despite never leading either

Tony Graffanino thinks he's got Otis Nixon, but nobody gets Otis Nixon out on the basepaths!

league in steals, and his .270/.343/.658 line is wholly unimpressive, even for a leadoff hitter. In 5800 career plate appearances, Otis Nixon hit 11 home runs, and had just over half as many RBI (318) as stolen bases in his career.

A well-documented cocaine addict, Nixon was infamously suspended for the 1991 World Series after he tested positive for the substance. But his flashy defense and flair for the dramatic kept him in the Majors for a good while, highlighted in 1999 while Nixon was playing for Atlanta. Down 8-7 in the eighth inning of game 6 of the NL Championship Series, Nixon pinch ran, and with one out, stole second and advanced to third on a wayward throw into center field. He would go on to score the tying run in the game, and Atlanta eventually won both the game and the series.

Otis Nixon played for nine teams in his Major League career, including two stints in Atlanta from 1991-93 and then back with the Braves in 1999, his final season in the Big Leagues. Nixon’s career high in home runs came in 1985 for Cleveland. He hit three. Base-stealing ability may make you a 17-year major leaguer, but we all know chicks dig the long ball, and that’s why Otis Nixon lives on today only as an obscure athlete.

And I heard he doesn’t blow coke on the reg anymore, so that’s good. Good for Otis.


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