Fernando Viña (pronounced VEEN-ya) (born April 16, 1969) is a retired American Major League Baseball second baseman and former MLB analyst for ESPN. His parents Andres and Olga emigrated from Cuba in 1968.From 1993 through 2005, Viña played for the Seattle Mariners (1993), New York Mets (1994), Milwaukee Brewers (1995-1999), St. Louis Cardinals (2000-2003), and Detroit Tigers (2004).
|Born: April 16, 1969|
|April 10, 1993, for the Seattle Mariners|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 11, 2004, for the Detroit Tigers|
|Runs batted in||343|
|Career highlights and awards|
On May 31, 1996, while attempting to tag the runner and make a throw to first to complete a double play, Viña was bodyslammed by Albert Belle, an incident which led to Belle receiving a 5-game suspension from the American League. In a 2018 interview, Viña good-naturedly laughed about the incident, claiming "that put me on the map," meaning that the play was regularly featured in highlight footage on television.
In 2004, he was limited to 29 games for the Tigers—a serious leg injury ended his first season with Detroit, and Viña missed the entire 2005 season because of a strained right hamstring and patellar tendinitis in his left knee. Many believe Viña concealed the extent of prior injuries from the Tigers in order to obtain a lucrative contract from them, but his signing was the first of several major acquisitions that led to the Tigers' resurrection to a playoff contender.
In 2006, Viña was invited to spring training by the Seattle Mariners but was cut before the start of the season due to a labrum tear in his right hip, in effect bringing an end to his 12-year career. Viña retired with a .282 batting average, 40 home runs and 343 RBI in 1148 games played. In 2007, Viña joined ESPN as an analyst for Baseball Tonight to do about 60 shows during the 2007, 2008, and 2009 seasons. He was inducted into the Arizona State Hall of Fame in 2011 and Milwaukee Brewers Wall of Honor in 2014. He hit the first inside-the-park home run ever in both AT&T Park and Miller Park.
On December 13, 2007, Viña was mentioned in the Mitchell Report in connection with steroid use. The report cited an interview with former Mets clubhouse attendant Derek Sprang, who claimed Viña purchased anabolic steroids from him six to eight times between 2000 and 2005. The two first met in 1993 when Viña was in the Mets minor league system, and Viña's personal contact information was listed in Radomski's address book seized by federal agents investigating Radomski. Three checks from Viña to Kirk Radomski for purchases of HGH and steroids were included in the Mitchell Report itself as further evidence of Viña's steroid use. Viña later confirmed during an airing of SportsCenter that he used HGH in 2003 to recover from injuries, but denied ever using steroids or purchasing them from Radomski.
- Stewart, Mark (2002). Latino Baseball's Finest Fielders. 21st Century Books. p. 53. ISBN 0761325662.
- "Mitchell report: Baseball slow to react to players' steroid use" ESPN 2007-12-13. Retrieved on 2007-12-14
- "ESPN analyst Vina says he used HGH in 2003, but never steroids". ESPN. 2007-12-18. Retrieved 2007-12-18.