A big-time power threat during the 1990s, Vaughn once clubbed 50 homeruns in a season. The four-time All-Star was a powerful middle-of-the-order presence throughout his career who eclipsed 100 RBI in three seasons. Vaughn exceeded 1,000 career runs scored and runs driven in over the course of his career. His rather low batting average shouldn’t deter from the fact that he was a gifted run-getter. Although Greg owns a lifetime .242 batting average, he was a terrific slugger who eclipsed 40 homeruns in three separate seasons and finished in the Top Five in MVP voting twice.
Vaughn was a first round pick by the Brewers out of the University of Miami. Not as big as some of the members of his family–he is the cousin of former Red Sox heavy-hitter Mo Vaughn–Greg nevertheless socked 17 homeruns his first full Major League season in 1990. At the outset of his big league career, Greg had the power but his peripheral stats were a tad on the skimpy side. In 1990, Greg hit just .220 with a poor .280 on-base percentage. But Greg wasn’t the type of player to be content with his performance. He would eventually become a decent on-base percentage guy with loads of power.
Vaughn drove in 98 runs for the Brew Crew in 1991 but regressed a bit in ’92. After that slight regression, Vaughn enjoyed a breakout year in 1993. Named to his first All-Star team, Greg clubbed 30 homeruns. He drove in and scored an equal 97 runs on the season and he showed immense strides in his peripheral stats. He raised his BA to .267 and with 89 walks drawn his on-base percentage rose to .369. But the player’s strike impeded Vaughn’s growth as a player and he suffered through subpar seasons in 1994 and ’95.
With the strike fully resolved, Vaughn exploded in 1996. Named to his second All-Star team, Greg blasted 41 homers and drove in 117 runs. He clubbed 31 dingers for the Brewers but since Milwaukee was not in contention, they made a trade deadline deal and sent Greg to San Diego for a bunch of prospects, headlined by Ron Villone and Marc Newfield. The trade worked for the Padres as they captured their division with Greg adding ten homeruns down the stretch. But Greg’s best years still lay ahead.
After a forgettable 1997 season Greg erupted in a big way in 1998. Named to his third All-Star team, he set career highs with 50 homeruns (3rd in the NL), 112 runs, 156 hits, 119 RBI and a .597 slugging average. Greg’s year to shine was also a year for the Padres to shine. San Diego captured their division and Greg hit .333 with a homer in the Division Series against Houston. His Padres defeated the Braves in the NLCS and took on the Yankees in the World Series. Vaughn hit a pair of homeruns in the Fall Classic but it wasn’t enough as the Yankees made short work of the Friars. Before the start of the 1999 season San Diego made a rather foolish trade when they shipped Greg with pinch hitter deluxe Mark Sweeney to the Reds for Reggie Sanders and Damian Jackson. Vaughn had just clubbed 50 homers while Sanders and Jackson combined couldn’t come close to matching that feat. All Greg did in Cincinnati was sock 45 homers (3rd in the NL) and drive in 118 runs. He finished fourth in MVP voting but free agency took Greg away from Cincy as he ventured back to his old college stomping grounds to Florida.
Vaughn signed a free agent deal with the young Devil Rays in 2000 and clubbed 28 homeruns for the non-contenders. Greg, who had reached at least 115 RBI in three of the last four seasons, watched as his total was trimmed to just 74 in Tampa because of lack of run-producing opportunities. In 2001 he was named to his final All-Star team when he blasted 24 homeruns with 82 RBI. Age caught up with Greg in 2002 and all he could muster was a dismal .163 batting average. He played briefly with the 2003 Rockies before calling it a career.
G 1,731/R 1,017/H 1,475/2B 284/3B 23/HR 355/RBI 1,072/SB 121/BB 865/SO 1,513/BA .242/OBP .337/SA .470