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Mo Vaughn

Honed Batting Skills, Plagued By Injuries, Chronology, Related Biography: Hitting Coach Mike Easler

1967-

American baseball player

Known as much for his athletic prowess as for his good-guy persona, baseball player Mo Vaughn is one of the most popular sports figures of the 1990s and early 2000s. During his heyday with the Boston Red Sox in the mid-90s, the hefty slugger built a reputation as one of the most powerful hitters in the game. Vaughn was also widely regarded as the clubhouse leader who roused the Sox to a 1995 playoff. That year, the two-time All-Star was voted American League Most Valuable Player. In one of the most lucrative deals in baseball, $80 million for six years, Vaughn signed as a free agent with the Anaheim Angels in 1998; however, a series of injuries hampered his playing time and performance. Vaughn's talents seemed on the decline when he played with the New York Mets in 2002, but the charismatic player showed no signs of retiring.

Born on December 15, 1967, in Norwalk, Connecticut, Maurice Samuel Vaughn is the son of Leroy, a former high school principal, and Shirley, a former elementary school teacher. He grew up in Norwalk with his two older sisters, Catherine and Donna. When young Vaughn was two years old, his mother taught him how to hit a baseball in the family's yard. Although her son was right-handed, she taught him her left-handed stance, which he never altered.

As a ten-year-old in Little League, Vaughn had become such a powerful slugger that opposing teams' pitchers were often told to walk him intentionally. A roly-poly child, he shed his baby fat playing baseball and football, and honed his skills by playing with older athletes. As a hefty, muscular prep school student at

Mo Vaughn

Trinity-Pawling in Pawling, New York, Vaughn practiced baseball devotedly with his father. Upon graduation he was offered a football scholarship from Miami State University, but he turned it down on his father's insistence. Instead, Vaughn played baseball for Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey.

Known as Maurice throughout his childhood, Vaughn was dubbed "Mo" by a Seton Hall athletic director. When he was only a freshman, he broke the university's career home run record, slugging twenty-eight home runs. During the three years that he attended Seton Hall, he held a .417 batting average and was named to the All-America team every year. Known as Hit Dog among his friends, the college star was named Big East Conference Player of the Decade. During summers he played baseball in the Cape Cod League.

Sketch by Wendy Kagan

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsBaseball