1991 - 1998
BiographyRafael Leonidas Belliard Matias was born on October 24, 1961, in Pueblo Nuevo, Valverde, Dominican Republic. Belliard is a former major league backup shortstop who batted and threw right-handed. Belliard was 20 years old when he made his major league debut on September 6, 1982, with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Belliard played for Pittsburgh 1982-1990 and the Atlanta Braves 1991-1998. Rafael was traded to the Braves in 1991 for their breakout National League Champion year and he was a big part of the 1995 Atlanta Braves World Series Championship team. Belliard appeared twice in the National League Top Ten in sacrifice his in 1986 and 1992. Despite playing in the majors for 17 seasons, he only had two career home runs, but he was known for above average bunting ability and quick glove. He is now the infield coach for the Detroit Tigers. His cousin, Ronnie Belliard, currently plays for the Washington Nationals.
Braves Career HighlightsRafael only made 42 errors in 671 games with the Braves. During the 1995 World Series Belliard executed a perfect suicide squeeze bunt in game one to score what would be the winning run. He also made an amazing running catch of a Kenny Lofton pop foul in the ninth inning of game six. Belliard is best remembered in the hearts of Braves fans for his classic line "tomahawkin" and for pioneering the Tomahawk Buzzcut, which is the shaving of the Braves Tomahawk logo and/or the word "Braves" on the back or side of the head.
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