Note: This page links to Bill Mueller, the infielder and former AL batting champion. For the outfielder who played in 1942 and 1945, click here.
William Richard Mueller
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 175 lb.
- School Southwest Missouri State University
- High School De Smet Jesuit High School
- Debut April 18, 1996
- Final Game May 11, 2006
- Born March 17, 1971 in Maryland Heights, MO USA
Third baseman Bill Mueller began his MLB career with the San Francisco Giants in 1996 and played with them until 2001 when he was signed by the Chicago Cubs. In 2002, he was traded back to the Giants but only played 8 games with them. Mueller than spent 2003 to 2005 with the Boston Red Sox and compiled a .300+ average in those years and played the best defense of his career in 2005. He won the American League batting title in 2003 when he hit .326.
Mueller hit a game-winning, walk-off home run on July 24, 2004 against the New York Yankees. The game had been a see-saw battle featuring a bench-clearing brawl in which Boston catcher Jason Varitek and Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez famously clashed after Bronson Arroyo hit Rodriguez with a pitch. The game appeared to be another devastating loss for the then-stagnant Red Sox, but in the bottom of the ninth, with the Sox down by a run and with the Yankees' great closer Mariano Rivera on the mound, Mueller drove a 3-1 pitch into the Red Sox bullpen in right-center, saving the game (and possibly the season) for the Sox.
Mueller made a significant number of contributions to the Red Sox first World Series win in 86 years. The most notable, of course, was his RBI single in the ninth inning of Game 4 against the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. Facing elimination in the bottom of the ninth down 4 runs to 3, Kevin Millar drew a walk from star closer Mariano Rivera. Dave Roberts came in to pinch run for Millar, and managed to steal second base with his great speed. He came around to score on a single by Mueller and the Sox went on to win in 12 innings and begin their run of eight straight wins culminating in the title.
In 2005, Mueller hit .295 with 10 HRs and very good defense. He won the Fenway Nation Award that year. On December 14, 2005, he signed a two-year, $9.5 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, a knee injury limited him to only 32 games, and he retired following the 2006 season.
Mueller is the only player in major league history to hit two grand slams in a single game from opposite sides of the plate.
After retiring as a player, Mueller went to work as an assistant to Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti. He was appointed interim hitting coach in mid-June of 2007 when Eddie Murray was let go. He received only 4 votes in the 2012 Hall of Fame Election, his first year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame, and was dropped from the ballot. In 2014 he was named hitting coach of the Cubs under new manager Rich Renteria but stayed in the position for only one season. He then signed with the St. Louis Cardinals as assistant hitting coach in 2015. In 2016, he moved to first base coach when Jose Oquendo had to miss the season after knee surgery. He was back as assistant hitting coach in 2017, but on June 9th, with the Cards struggling badly at the plate, he was given a leave of absence and replaced by AAA coach Mark Budaska. He returned in 2018 but the Cards' hitting woes continued and on July 14th, the top brass decided to make a major change, firing manager Mike Matheny, hitting coach John Mabry and Mueller in one fell swoop.
- AL Silver Slugger Award Winner (2003)
- AL Batting Average Leader (2003)
- Won a World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2004