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Richard Hidalgo

Hidalgo playing for the Texas Rangers in 2005.
Born: June 28, 1975 (1975-06-28) (age 34)
Caracas, Venezuela
Bats: Right Throws: Right 
MLB debut
September 1, 1997 for the Houston Astros
Career statistics
Batting average     .269
Home runs     171
Runs batted in     560

Richard José Hidalgo [ee-DAHL-go] (born June 28, 1975 in Caracas, Venezuela) is a former Major League Baseball right fielder. He played with the Houston Astros (1997-2004), New York Mets (2004), and the Texas Rangers (2005). He batted and threw right-handed.

Hidalgo was a powerful hitter, with good instincts in the outfield and a strong throwing arm. He was supposed to be an all around player in all areas, but a congenital knee defect changed those plans. After hitting .306 and .303 in his first two seasons, Hidalgo had a disappointing 1999 campaign with a .227 average, although he showed some power with 15 home runs in 383 at-bats. He required season-ending kneecap surgery.

Hidalgo blossomed in 2000, when he hit .314 with 44 home runs and 122 RBI, but his numbers slowed in 2001 (.275, 19, 80) and 2002 (.235, 15, 48). In 2003, he returned to good form both at the plate and in the field. He posted numbers of .309, 28, 88, collected three homers in a game, and led the majors outfielders in assists with 22, while committing only four errors. Hidalgo split the 2004 season between the Astros and the Mets, hitting .239 with 25 homers and 82 RBI. A highlight of the 2004 season was a Met record of home runs in 5 consecutive games, 3 of them in interleague games against the New York Yankees. In 2006, he signed a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles, but left the team before the season started, when his wife became ill. Hidalgo requested to be released from his contract, allowing to him to go to Japan where he would have a starting role. In the 2006 off-season, the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs reportedly showed interest in signing Hidalgo. In January 2007, the Astros signed him again, this time to a minor league contract. This second tenure was short-lived, as Hidalgo was released by the Astros on March 25, 2007, after refusing a minor league assignment. [1]

Hidalgo was a .273 lifetime hitter with 171 home runs and 517 RBI in 899 games.

On April 10, 2007, Hidalgo joined the Long Island Ducks.[2] Before spring training however, he announced his retirement from professional baseball.[3] On July 8, 2008, Hidalgo signed with the Ducks again but left the team during the last week of August.

On November 22, 2002, Hidalgo was shot in the left forearm during a carjacking in Venezuela.[4]

In early 2008, Hidalgo's attempt to create a so-called "field of dreams" on his Florida property was voted down by residents of his neighborhood. Hidalgo has 3 sons who live with his wife in Florida. He currently plays for a Venezuelan independent league.[5]

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Preceded by
Todd Helton
National League Player of the Month
September, 2000
Succeeded by
Luis Gonzalez

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