Paul Molitor Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: August 22, 1956 in St. Paul, Minnesota
Biography | show moreshow less
Full name Paul Leo Molitor
Born August 22, 1956, St. Paul, Minnesota
First Game: April 7, 1978; Final Game: September 27, 1998
Bat: Right Throw: Right Height: 6' 0" Weight: 185

Selected to the Hall of Fame in 2004
Named AL Rookie Player of the Year by The Sporting News (1978)
Named World Series Most Valuable Player (1993)
Named designated hitter on The Sporting News AL All-Star Team (1987, 1993 to 1994 and 1996)
Named designated hitter on The Sporting News AL Silver Slugger Team (1987 to 1988, 1993 and 1996)

This article was written by Dan Levitt and Doug Skipper and is presented in part, courtesy of the Society for American Baseball Research
Clad in the uniform of his hometown team, Paul Molitor stood on third base after he collected the 3,000th hit of his major-league career. The first player ever to reach the milestone with a triple, Molitor enjoyed a number of memorable moments in a Minnesota Twins uniform through the final three seasons of his 21-year Hall of Fame career. Just the 21st player ever to reach the magical mark, he was the second from St. Paul, Minnesota. Dave Winfield, who like Molitor had emerged from the sandlots of St. Paul to star for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, had achieved the milestone three years to the day earlier, also in the uniform of the Twins in the twilight of a Hall of Fame career.

Molitor's path to third base that September evening in 1996 took many turns. Hamstrung by a series of devastating injuries early in his career as an infielder with the Milwaukee Brewers, Molitor developed a reputation for fragility, and it appeared that his career was cursed as seasons were cut short. But the soft-spoken right-handed hitter from St. Paul persevered to achieve milestones of durability as a designated hitter for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Twins. In 21 seasons, he collected 3,319 hits in 2,683 major-league games, belted 234 homers, scored 1,782 runs, and drove in 1,307. A seven-time American League All-Star with a smooth swing, above-average speed, and outstanding base-running skills, he finished his career with a .306 batting average and became just the sixth player in major-league baseball history to collect 3,000 hits and 500 stolen bases.

A fixture atop the Milwaukee lineup for 15 years as one of baseball's best-ever leadoff hitters, Paul Molitor was nicknamed the "Ignitor" for the spark he generated—a nickname he never really warmed to. "Aside from its not even being spelled right," Molitor quipped, "it's a terrible nickname. I never once entered a room and my friends said, ‘Hey, it's the Ignitor!'"1 Still, as the leadoff hitter in the Brewers' batting order for a decade and a half, Molitor ignited rallies for Harvey's Wallbangers, the 1982 team that he and close friend Robin Yount led to the Milwaukee's only American League pennant and World Series appearance. "I think he's one of the best baserunners—not for speed but for instincts—in the game ever," his one-time manager Tom Trebelhorn marveled.2 As to his overall impact, "In Milwaukee, It's God, Robin Yount, and Paul Molitor," Brewers teammate Dave Engle once observed.

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