MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Millions of kids dream it: getting the winning hit in the bottom of the ninth of the seventh game of the World Series. Luis Gonzalez lived it!
Next Thursday, Gonzalez and five others will be inducted into the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame.
Gonzalez will be forever remembered for his RBI single off possibly the best reliever in the history of baseball, Mariano Rivera, to give the Arizona Diamondbacks a game seven win over the New York Yankees in the 2001 World Series. Gonzalez will forever be a hero in Phoenix. He developed his game, though, in Mobile, during a three-year career at the University of South Alabama. Gonzalez, a Tampa native, was a freshman All-American, All Sun Belt, and an All American player during his time at South. He still holds the USA record for most games played in a season, 70 in 1987, and for most RBI in a season, 80 in 1988. He ranks in the top five all-time among Jaguars in games, at bats, runs, doubles, home runs, and walks.
“Luis was not only great on the field, he was the most popular Jag player ever among the student body and fans,” said Gonzalez’ USA coach Steve Kittrell, also a member of the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame. “No former player had as much impact on South Alabama as a player or as a Major Leaguer as Luis.”
Gonzales was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 4th Round of the 1988 MLB Draft and made his major league debut two years later. He would spend 19 seasons in the big leagues, posting a career .283 batting average, with 354 home runs. His 57 home runs in 2001 are third-most in National League history by a left-handed hitter behind Barry Bonds and Ryan Howard.
“Gonzo” played for the Houston Astros (1990-95, 1997), Chicago Cubs (1995-96), Detroit Tigers (1998), Arizona Diamondbacks (1999-2006), Los Angeles Dodgers (2007), and Florida Marlins (2008). He was a five-time All-Star and started the 2001 All-Star Game in center field for the National League.
His Number 20 was retired by the Arizona Diamondbacks, the first in franchise history.
Gonzalez has been inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame, and the University of South Alabama Athletics Hall of Fame. He will be inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame during a ceremony Saturday in Birmingham.
The Mobile Sports Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction Ceremony is Thursday, May 2 at the Battle House Hotel. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased at MobileSportsHallofFame.net
Joining Gonzalez in the MSHF Class of 2019 are Roy Patton, the late Rea Schuessler, Danny Sheridan, Nyla Shepherd, and Rick Trickett. They will be featured in the coming days on News 5 and wkrg.com