Mueller with the Boston Red Sox in September 2005
|Born: March 17, 1971|
Maryland Heights, Missouri
|April 18, 1996, for the San Francisco Giants|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 11, 2006, for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Runs batted in||493|
|Career highlights and awards|
William Richard Mueller (; born March 17, 1971) is an American retired professional baseball third baseman who played in Major League Baseball (MLB). Mueller's MLB playing career was spent with the San Francisco Giants (1996-2000, 2002), Chicago Cubs (2001-2002), Boston Red Sox (2003-2005), and Los Angeles Dodgers (2006).
A number of Mueller's accomplishments came during the 2003 season, when he won the American League batting title and a Silver Slugger Award. A switch hitter, he became the only player in major league history to hit one grand slam from both sides of the plate in the same game on July 29, 2003. He was the starting third baseman for the Red Sox' 2004 World Series championship team that beat the St. Louis Cardinals. Since his playing career, he has served in MLB as a front office assistant and hitting coach.
Mueller was born in Maryland Heights, Missouri, and attended De Smet Jesuit High School. He attended Southwest Missouri State University, was a four-year starter for the Bears baseball team, and in 2004 inducted into the school's athletics hall of fame. He was named the MVC Player of the Year in 1993, and inducted into their hall of fame in 2020.
Mueller made his professional debut with the Giants low A team, the Everett Giants, in 1993 and quickly rose through the Giants farm system, with stops in San Jose, Shreveport, and Phoenix before making his major league debut with the Giants as a pinch hitter on April 18, 1996, against the Chicago Cubs. He got his first career hit the following day, also as a pinch hitter, against Terry Adams.
He played third base for the Giants fairly regularly for five seasons, until he was traded to the Chicago Cubs before the 2001 season for pitcher Tim Worrell. (Given that Mueller had by then settled into the Bay Area year-round, the Giants, out of respect for Mueller, delayed the trade several days so that Mueller could attend the Cal-Stanford football game one last time as a local star.) He returned to San Francisco in September 2002 in a trade for minor league pitcher Jeff Verplancke. Before the 2003 season, Mueller was signed by the Boston Red Sox as a free agent. In his first year in Boston, he won the American League batting title with a .326 average. He also set career highs with 45 doubles and 19 home runs. Before 2003, he had never hit more than 10 home runs or 29 doubles in any season.
He contributed nearly half of his career home runs during his three years with the Red Sox. Mueller developed a reputation for consistency throughout the major leagues. For five of his ten years in the major leagues, his batting average was between .290 and .295. His minor league numbers were very much the same, consistently between .290 and .310.
Mueller joined the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 2006 season and was reunited with former Boston teammate Nomar Garciaparra, but played only 32 games before undergoing his third knee surgery, which would prove to be career-ending. Doctors ruled out all known procedures to repair the deteriorating condition in his right knee.
In 1216 games over 11 seasons, Mueller posted a .291 batting average (1229-for-4223) with 663 runs, 265 doubles, 22 triples, 85 home runs, 493 RBI, 543 bases on balls, .373 on-base percentage and .425 slugging percentage. He finished his career with a .958 fielding percentage playing at third and second base. In 36 postseason games, he hit .234 (34-for-145) with 14 runs, 8 doubles, 1 home run, 4 RBI and 13 walks.
On November 17, 2006, the Dodgers announced that Mueller was retiring as a baseball player, and had been hired as a special assistant to the general manager.
On June 15, 2007, Mueller was named Los Angeles Dodgers interim hitting coach when Eddie Murray was fired. After a month on the job, manager Grady Little announced that the Dodgers would be removing the "interim" tag and that Mueller would remain the teams's hitting coach through the end of the season.
After the season, it was announced that Mueller would be giving up his role as hitting coach to return to a front office position.
On November 22, 2013, Mueller was named hitting coach of the Chicago Cubs under new manager Rick Renteria. On October 7, 2014, he subsequently resigned that position, a week after his assistant, Mike Brumley, was dismissed by the Cubs.
Mueller was named the first-base coach after third-base coach Jose Oquendo was placed on medical leave of absence on March 27, 2016. After being named assistant hitting coach for the 2017 season, he missed part of the first half after taking a personal leave of absence, but returned on June 27. Mueller was fired by the Cardinals along with manager Mike Matheny on July 14, 2018.