Pitchers stared in at the catcher and always found Mo Vaughn leaning out over the plate, almost daring them to plunk him. With a bulky elbow pad sheathing his right elbow, the “Hit Dog” would stare right back and wait for those inevitable outside pitches to drive to the opposite field and over the Green Monster again and again. In eight seasons with Boston, Vaughn was plunked 71 times, a Red Sox record, but also launched 230 pitches out of the park.
In his first full season in 1993, he hit .297 with 29 home runs and 101 RBI. Two seasons later, Vaughn broke onto the national scene; he batted an even .300 while stroking 39 home runs and driving home 139 runs to earn his first All-Star appearance, lead his team to the American League East Division title, and walked off with the American League MVP award.
In 1996, Vaughn put up even better numbers, batting .326 while collecting career highs in runs (118), hits (207), home runs (43), and RBI (143), but his team finished out of contention and he finished second in the MVP vote to Juan Gonzalez of the Texas Rangers. Two years later, he finished with 205 hits, 40 home runs, and 115 RBI as Boston returned to the playoffs as the wild card entrant.
Due to bad blood between the player and the front office, Vaughn decided after that season to fly via free agency and landed in Anaheim with the Angels. Vaughn played two seasons with the Angels and, although he put up impressive numbers in both seasons, injuries began to mount and take their toll. In 2001, a ruptured tendon in his left arm sidelined him for the whole season. Traded to the Mets, Vaughn then spent 2002 in the line-up for most of the season with New York, but his numbers dropped dramatically; in 2003, he appeared in just 27 games before a deteriorating knee condition sidelined him for the remainder of the season as well as the entire 2004 season.