William Tyrone Woods
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 190-225 lb.
- High School Hernando High School (Brooksville)
Tyrone Woods was the 5th pick of the Montreal Expos in the 1988 amateur draft as a high school third baseman. His debut year showed no indication of the heights he would reach as a pro player. He fielded .882, making 10 errors in 32 games for the GCL Expos and batted just .121/~.160/.174. He hit just 2 homers in 149 at-bats and walked 7 times while whiffing 47 times. He was also caught stealing four times in six tries, completing the struggles defensively, offensively and on the basepaths.
Woods was promoted to the Jamestown Expos in 1989. In A ball Tyrone hit .263/~.328/.459 - he continued to strike out frequently (58 times in 209 AB) but his walks were up (20) and his average and power (9 homers) were also improved. In 1990 Woods regressed. With the Rockford Expos the 20-year-old third baseman hit just .242, but it was still well above the team average (.226). He also led the team in doubles (27), homers (8) and strikeouts (121). His OBP was about .310 and he slugged .363. Tyrone made it to high class A in 1991 and he hit just .220/~.288/.342 for the West Palm Beach Expos, which was still tolerable in a pitching-friendly environment. He also was moved from third base to the outfield that year.
1992 was a busy year for Woods. He hit .291/~.350/.463 for Rockford and even stole 15 bases in 21 tries. He hit .286/~.354/.429 for West Palm Beach and struck out in 3 of his 4 at-bats in his first AA exposure with the Harrisburg Senators.
In 1993 Woods returned to Harrisburg and at age 23 did fine for his age at AA, batting .252/~.326/.456, playing a solid supporting role on one of the greatest AA teams in modern minor league history. A year later Woods split the year between Harrisburg (.316/~.376/.579) and the AAA Ottawa Lynx (.224/.289/.327). On November 18 the Expos gave up on Woods and released him.
Tyrone found a home with the Baltimore Orioles' Rochester Red Wings farm club in 1995 and hit .261/~.328/.441 as a 1B/DH/OF. A year later Woods was in another system, joining the Boston Red Sox and playing for the Trenton Thunder. At 26, he was getting old for a prospect, but he had his best year yet - .312/~.405/.578, though he was outshown by his teammate, another long-time minor-leaguer, Adam Hyzdu. He tied for 5th in the league in homers (25) and was among the leaders in average, OBP and slugging.
In 1997 Woods spent his 10th and final season in a US-based league. He knocked the cover off the ball in AAA with the Pawtucket Red Sox - .352/~.414/.657. He homered 9 times and drove in 28 in 29 games but didn't play for the parent Boston team. He also played that year for the Minatitlan Potros of the Mexican League, homering 18 times in 85 games for 27 homers that year and 101 runs (73 RBI in 85 games for the Potros). Woods hit .342/~.452/.599. His walk total (59) had now surpassed his K total (49).
1998 found Woods in the Korea Baseball Organization at the relatively young age of 28. He became the first foreign player to hit a home run and the first to be ejected from a game by an umpire in the league's first year incorporating outsiders. Playing for the Doosan Bears, he hit .305/.393/.619 and set a new KBO record with 42 homers and won the MVP award. He was the only foreigner yet to win the Korea Baseball Organization MVP until Danny Rios became the second in 2007.
In 1999, Woods batted .297/.406/.566 with 34 homers. He won the KBO Gold Glove at DH - an award for the best hitter at DH regardless of the name. The next year, Tyrone hit .315/.414/.605 with 39 homers and 111 RBI and lost the home run race by one to Park Kyung-wan. He had another big year in 2001, winning KBO All-Star Game MVP, playoff MVP and Korean Series MVP. In the Korean Series, he blasted 4 homers in 6 games for Doosan. That was a record for one Series; Yamaico Navarro tied the record in 2014. In the regular season, he produced at a .291/.402/.571 clip with 34 HR, 101 runs and 113 RBI. He led the KBO in runs batted in. In 2002 Tyrone started slowly and hit just .256/.339/.499; he struck out 123 times in 407 AB though he did blast 25 homers. Overall in five years in Korea he had hit 174 homers, driven in 510 and batted .294/.393/.574. Woods left Korea with the longest career of any foreign player in the history of the KBO. In 2005, Jay Davis broke his mark. Woods' 13 postseason home runs were a KBO record until Seung-yeop Lee passed him in 2014.
Woods left the Bears to try his hand in Japan in 2003, signing with the Yokohama Bay Stars. Nippon Pro Baseball fans were fairly critical of the move, claiming Woods was on the decline and citing other KBO stars who had done little in Japan. Woods proved the skeptics to be incorrect as he hit .273/.361/.559 and tying for the home run lead with Alex Ramirez by hitting 40. He was 6th in the Central League in slugging, 4th in walks (66) and 5th in RBI (87) though he also led with 132 K's. Woods became the first man to lead a league in homers in both Korea and Japan.
Woods improved in his second year with Yokohama, hitting .298/.394/.613. He made the Best Nine at first base, tied Tuffy Rhodes for the home run lead with 45, was third in walks (74) and tied for third in RBI (103), 5th in slugging and 4th in OBP and OPS. He struck out 142 times, but was only third in the CL that year.
After the 2004 season, Tyrone signed with the defending CL champion Chunichi Dragons and hit .306/.392/.571 with 38 homers. He was third in OPS and homers, 5th in slugging, 4th in OBP, tied for 4th with 103 RBI and ground into the most double plays (24) as the Dragons' 1B and cleanup hitter. Woods missed 10 games due to a suspension he served after charging the mound when Shugo Fujii threw high and inside during an at-bat. Woods was also fined 500,000 yen. It was the harshest penalty given to any player in Japan in five years..
In 2006, Tyrone put together an MVP-candidate season by batting .312/.403/.640 through October 10 with a league-leading 47 homers and 143 RBI. To clinch the title for Chunichi, he hit grand slams in back-to-back games, the first Central Leaguer to do so since Fumio Fujimura 53 years earlier. He also set a new team record for home runs. Teammate Kosuke Fukudome beat him out in the MVP voting. In the 2006 Japan Series, Woods hit .267/.450/.333 as Chunichi lost.
Woods continued to hit well in 2007, though the 37-year-old declined, batting .270/.418/.530 with 35 homers, 102 RBI, 121 walks and 153 strikeouts. He was 5th in runs (85), tied Yoshinobu Takahashi and Aaron Guiel for second in homers (one behind leader Shuichi Murata), tied Takahiro Arai for second in RBI (20 behind Alex Ramirez), led in strikeouts (six ahead of Guiel), led in walks (33 ahead of Guiel), led in intentional walks (19), was second to Norichika Aoki in OBP and fifth in slugging. Only Takahashi had a better OPS. Woods again was not the MVP pick; Michihiro Ogasawara was chosen despite worse numbers. Woods was named to the Best Nine at first base. Woods batted .235/.350/.235 in the 2007 Japan Series but scored the only run in the decisive game five which gave Chunichi its first title in over 50 years.
Through 2007, Woods had 503 home runs in his professional baseball career.
In addition to playing baseball, Woods worked for a time for the Brooksville Fire Department.