Rick Aguilera: Mormon Athlete
Richard Warren Aguilera was a professional baseball pitcher, whose career spanned sixteen years (1985 to 2000).
Aguilera was born on December 31, 1961, in San Gabriel, California. He played third base in his high school baseball team in West Covina, California. The St. Louis Cardinals selected him in the 37th round of the 1980 amateur draft. But Aguilera opted to play ball at Brigham Young University instead. While at BYU, he switched to pitcher, and upon leaving three years later, the Mets drafted him in the third round of the 1983 amateur draft. In 1985, he was promoted to the majors. His rookie year was eclipsed by teammate Dwight Gooden’s performance. The following season, Aguilera continued his record but the next two years he struggled with injuries. The Mets switched him to reliever pitcher, where he did well, but he wished to be traded. In 1989, he signed with the Minnesota Twins, where he became one of baseball’s premier closers with the Twins from 1990 to 1995. He was named to three All-Star teams (1991–1993).
He was traded to the Boston Red Sox where he played one season, then became a free agent and returned to the Twins for the 1996 through 1999 seasons and became a starting pitcher. After shoulder and wrist injuries, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs and played middle reliever, set-up man, and closer. He retired in February 2001. In 2008, he was inducted into the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame.
Aguilera and his wife and two children live in the San Diego, California area. He is a real estate investor and coached high school baseball at Santa Fe Christian. He joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.