B.J. Surhoff

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William James Surhoff

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Biographical Information[edit]

B.J. Surhoff played 19 seasons in the major leagues on the strength of a lifetime .282 batting average and the ability to play multiple positions. He was primarily a catcher in his first six seasons, but after that played mostly left field, although he also appeared in 316 major league games at third base and 158 at first base. He even appeared in one game each at second base and shortstop.

The brother of Rick Surhoff and the son of former NBA player Dick Surhoff, Surhoff was chosen by the New York Yankees in the 5th round of the 1982 amateur draft out of high school. Surhoff decided to instead go to college at the University of North Carolina. Surhoff's decision paid off as he signed with the Milwaukee Brewers as the first overall pick in the 1985 amateur draft by scout Ken Califano and scouting director Ray Poitevint. He also played in the 1983 Intercontinental Cup, 1983 Pan American Games and 1984 Olympics while in college. He made the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010.

His best season came with the Baltimore Orioles in 1999. That year, he set personal marks for runs and RBI (exceeding 100 in both categories for the only time in his career), as well as home runs (28) and hits (207). He tied his career best for doubles with 38, posted a .308 batting average and was selected to play in the All-Star Game for the only time in his career. He had a higher batting average (.320) and OPS+ (120) with the Brewers in 1990, but that was in only 117 games.

Because of his versatility, the most similar players (based on similarity scores) are players from various different positions. Perhaps the most accurate comparison would be with Julio Franco, who played a variety of different positions but managed to play forever, like Surhoff, due to good batting averages.

Of the 70 major league players who came from the University of North Carolina (through 2019), he is the one with the most games and plate appearances.

Surhoff's nephew Brian Moran signed with the Seattle Mariners as a 7th round pick in the 2009 amateur draft, and another nephew, Colin Moran, reached the major leagues.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • AL All-Star (1999)
  • AL At Bats Leader (1999)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 3 (1996, 1998 & 1999)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1999)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (1999)
  • 200 Hits Seasons: 1 (1999)

Related Sites[edit]