Prince Fielder (born Prince Semien Fielder on May 9, 1984, in Ontario, California) is a Major League Baseball player of who plays first base for the Milwaukee Brewers. He is currently listed at 5'11" 270lbs. He was selected by the Brewers in the first round of the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft out of Eau Gallie High School in Melbourne, Florida.
He is the son of former Detroit Tigers first baseman Cecil Fielder. Prince and Cecil are the only father-son combination in MLB history to each reach the exclusive 50 home run plateau in a single season. Fielder also holds the Brewers' team record for home runs in a season, as well as the MLB record for youngest player to reach the 50 home run mark. Prince Fielder is also the first Brewer to win the Home Run Derby, defeating Nelson Cruz 6–5 in the final round of the 2009 derby in St. Louis.
Prince, like many sons of prominent major leaguers, was a fixture around his father's teams' clubhouses growing up. In addition, he starred alongside his father in a McDonald's commercial and appeared with him on MTV's "Rock 'n Jock".
When his father played for the Detroit Tigers, Prince would sometimes come along for batting practice. Contrary to popular belief, Fielder did not hit a home run into the upper deck of Tiger Stadium at the age of twelve, but he did hit a home run over the fence as a pre-teen. Fielder set the story straight in a 2007 interview with Fox Sports during a road trip to Detroit, saying that it "just went over the fence."
Prince broke off contact with his father when Cecil took $200,000 of Prince's $2.4 million signing bonus that he received in 2002 and gambled it away. Prince claimed that his father had stolen from him. Cecil blamed his ex-wife for turning Prince against him.
High school careerEdit
Fielder spent his first three years of high school playing at Florida Air Academy. He then transferred to Eau Gallie High School to play baseball there his senior year (2002). He hit .524 with 13 doubles, 10 home runs, 41 RBIs, and 47 runs in his senior year. He was named by the Florida Today as the All-Space Coast Player of the Year in 2002.
2005: Nashville Sounds and glimpse into the Big LeaguesEdit
Fielder began the 2005 season with the minor league Nashville Sounds, and later served as a pitcher for the Brewers during interleague play. Fielder married his wife Shawn Feller during the Triple-A All-Star Break. He earned his first call-up to the Majors on June 13, 2005, but he was sent back down to the Sounds after the end of interleague play, since Lyle Overbay was already the regular first baseman for the team. Fielder was again called up to the Majors on August 17, 2005, and went on to finish the season with the Brewers, where he was used as a pinch-hitter. He was the 6th-youngest player in the league.
On June 15, 2005, he collected his first major league hit, a double, off Hideo Nomo, and drove in his first big league run with his second hit of the night at Tampa Bay.
2006: Rookie YearEdit
During the 2006 off-season, Lyle Overbay was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, allowing Fielder to become the Brewers' starting first baseman in 2006 and was an early favorite for National League Rookie of the Year.
Prince did not get off to a great start in the 2006 regular season, going 0-9 with 7 strikeouts. In his twelfth at-bat Fielder finally made a big splash, delivering a game-winning hit that drove home Geoff Jenkins for the winning run in the bottom of the 8th inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The hit not only won the game for the Brewers, but secured an opening series sweep. Even with his early season struggles, Prince was named the National League's Rookie of the Month for April, and hit consistently since. With his 18th home run of the year, Fielder broke the Brewers' rookie home run record previously held by Greg Vaughn.
He led all major league rookies with twenty-eight homers in the 2006 season. On defense, he had the lowest zone rating among NL first basemen, .804.
2007: The Prince of the 50 Home Run ClubEdit
Fielder had a strong first half in 2007, earning a start at first base in the 2007 All-Star game over the previous two MVP winners, Ryan Howard (2006) and Albert Pujols (2005).
On August 13, 2007, Fielder was featured on a magazine cover for the first time when he was featured on the August 13, 2007, issue of the noted ESPN The Magazine.
On September 15, 2007, Fielder broke the Brewers franchise record for home runs in a season, hitting his forty-sixth in a game against the Cincinnati Reds. The record was previously jointly held by Richie Sexson (twice) and Gorman Thomas.
On September 25, Fielder became the youngest player ever to reach fifty home runs in a season, joining his estranged father in the exclusive club. Fielder has stated that he hopes to surpass his father's total of 51 home runs in a season (1990) as a way of exorcising the demons that have come with being the son of a prominent major leaguer. "A lot of people said that's the only reason I got drafted... I don't mind people comparing me to him but I'm a completely different player. One day I want people to mention my name and not have to mention his," Fielder has said. Earlier in the season, Cecil Fielder had told a magazine that it was his famous name that led to his son being such a highly touted prospect. The younger Fielder also saw his contention in the 2007 NL MVP race as a way of proving his father wrong, but gets little else from the rift but motivation saying, "You've got to look at who's saying it. Let's be honest. He's not really the brightest guy."
Fielder ranked first in the National League in home runs (50) in his MVP-caliber 2007 season, was second in slugging percentage to teammate Ryan Braun (.618), second in at bats per home run (11.5) and OPS (1.013), third in RBIs (119) and extra base hits (87), fourth in total bases (354) and hit by pitch (14), fifth in intentional walks (21) and sacrifice flies (8), seventh in runs (109) and times on base (269), and ninth in walks (90).
Although his offense was fantastic, he led all major league first basemen in errors, with fourteen, and was last among eligible major league first basemen in range factor (8.49).
Fielder earned the Milwaukee Brewers Team MVP award, the Player's Choice NL Outstanding Player award, 2007 Silver Slugger award, and was voted the National League's Hank Aaron Award winner.
2008: Wild Card ChaseEdit
Unable to come up with an agreement for a long-term contract with the Brewers, Fielder and his agent, Scott Boras, signed a one-year, $670,000 deal with the Brewers. Fielder was quoted saying, "I'm not happy about it at all," showing his disappointment in not being able to reach an agreement with the club.
On June 19, Fielder hit the second inside-the-park home run of his career, against the Toronto Blue Jays.
On August 4, Fielder and teammate Manny Parra got into a scuffle in the dugout during a game against the Cincinnati Reds in which Parra was the starting pitcher. They were having a brief conversation, which led to Parra throwing his jacket down and Fielder shoving him. Fielder had to be restrained by teammates Ray Durham, Dave Bush, J. J. Hardy, Ryan Braun, and pitching coach Mike Maddux. ESPN reported that night that the dispute was over Parra heading back to the clubhouse after being pulled from the game instead of staying in the dugout to watch the Brewers bat in the next inning. Baseball Tonight also reports the exchange was started when Parra told Fielder to "get off his fat ass and play defense." Manager Ned Yost said reporters asking questions about the incident was as rude as "going over to the neighbors' house after they've been fighting and asking about it."
On September 23, Fielder hit his second walk-off home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates, helping the Brewers keep pace with the New York Mets in the NL Wild Card race.
Fielder was named the National League Player of the Week for the week of September 15–21 after he batted .462, with 27 total bases, six doubles, 11 RBI, .533 on-base percentage, and a 1.038 slugging percentage.
Fielder ended the 2008 regular season with a .276 batting average, 34 home runs, 102 RBI, 86 runs and 84 walks. The Brewers finished 90–72, earning the NL Wild Card on the final day of the regular season, their first postseason berth as a National League club and their first since losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1982 World Series. They faced the Philadelphia Phillies and were eliminated in four games.
2009: Home Run Derby Champion and RBI League LeaderEdit
After the 2008 season Fielder was seeking an $8 million salary in 2009, while the Brewers filed for $6 million. On January 23 the Brewers and Fielder avoided arbitration and finalized a two-year $18 million contract.
Fielder hit his first career grand slam against Rafael Perez of the Cleveland Indians on June 15, 2009, at Progressive Field to give the Brewers the lead 13–12. The Brewers were down 8–3 at one point.
Fielder was one of four NL first basemen who made the 2009 NL All Star Team.
Fielder won the 2009 State Farm Home Run Derby in St Louis. Fielder began the Derby with a Rickie Weeks bat, but quickly switched to one of Ryan Braun's because it was longer and gave him more plate coverage. He made the finals with seventeen home runs after the first two rounds, eliminating local favorites Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard. He then beat former Brewers teammate Nelson Cruz with six homers in the final round. His twenty-three long balls tied for the sixth-most in the Derby's history. He also hit the longest home run of the Derby at 503 feet.
On August 4, Fielder was involved in an incident with Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Guillermo Mota. With two outs in the ninth inning, Mota hit Fielder with a pitch on the leg, (apparently in retaliation for Mota's teammate Manny Ramirez being hit in the hand by Brewers pitcher Chris Smith). Mota was ejected. After the 17–4 Dodgers victory, Fielder went to the Dodgers clubhouse, in an effort to confront Mota. The Dodgers security guards stopped Fielder from entering, though the incident was captured by a television crew. Both Mota and Fielder were fined by Major League Baseball for their roles in the incident.
On September 19, Fielder set the Brewers' single-season record for RBIs at 127, beating Cecil Cooper's 1983 record of 126. He set this record during a game against the Houston Astros—the team Cooper was managing at the time. He finished the season with 141 RBIs, which surpassed his father's career high of 133 in 1991.
Fielder finished tied for first in the National League in RBIs with Ryan Howard, and second in home runs with 46.
Regular season battingEdit