|Designated hitter / First baseman|
|Born:September 14, 1965|
|MLB: May 30, 1992, for the Oakland Athletics|
|NPB: April 1, 1995, for the Orix BlueWave|
|MLB: August 11, 1994, for the Oakland Athletics|
|NPB: August 24, 2000, for the Orix BlueWave|
|Runs batted in||120|
|Runs batted in||438|
|Runs batted in||3|
|Career highlights and awards|
Troy Lee Neel (born September 14,1965) is an American former professional baseball player. After a solid start in Major League Baseball (MLB),Neel moved to Japan and compiled strong numbers in six seasons playing in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).
Neel was born in Freeport,Texas. He attended Texas A&M University before his professional baseball career.
Neel played in the major leagues for the Oakland Athletics primarily as a first baseman and designated hitter from 1992 to 1994. He made his debut on May 30th against the Baltimore Orioles,hitting second in the lineup and playing the entire game in left field. He went 0 for 4 with 2 strike outs. His first Major League hit was as a pinch hitter off reliever Bobby Thigpen of the Chicago White Sox on June 5th and his first career home run came on July 6th against Jeff Muttis of the Cleveland Indians. That game was his best of the year,going 3 for 5 with a 2-run home run,a double and 3 runs scored. By the end of the season he saw action in 24 games,hitting for a .264 batting average (14 hits in 53 at bats),with 3 home runs and 9 runs batted in,playing first base,left field and designated hitter. In 1993 Neel became a first-string player,belting 19 home runs with 63 RBI's on a solid .290 average. The following year his playing time was a bit reduced to 83 games,yet he still provided punch with 15 HR and 48 RBI's. Unexpectedly that would turn out to be his last year in the majors. He finished with a career .280 average in 758 at bats.
Moving to Japan,he had a successful baseball career for the Orix BlueWave,playing with them for six seasons from 1995 until 2000.
Neel was the Most Valuable Player in the 1996 Japan Series,as the BlueWave defeated the Yomiuri Giants 4-games-to-1. Neel had 6 RBI in the Series.
Neel finished his professional baseball career in 2001 playing with the Doosan Bears in Korea.
Neel has been married at least two times.
In 2000,Neel was ordered by the State of Texas to pay $5,000 a month in child support to his ex-wife who is the mother of his two children,a son and daughter.Instead of paying,Neel fled the country and played baseball in Japan.
After retiring from athletics,the remarried Neel purchased a 16-acre 700,000 sq ft (65,000 m2) island in Vanuatu in the South Pacific,where he and his wife ran a 21-room resort which cost a reported $1.5 million overlooking a lagoon Called "the worst dead beat dad in 'the history of Texas'", he owed over $725,000 in child support, ultimately determined to be $778,000. In 2005,a grand jury in San Antonio indicted Neel on a charge of foreign travel to evade child support obligations.
His passport expired in 2008,and Vanuatu authorities forced him to leave the country. On December 11,2008,Neel was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport by US Health and Human Services investigators after he exited a plane from Sydney,Australia;he awaited trial in San Antonio,Texas.On May 7,2009 Neel was scheduled to plead guilty in court to avoiding child support payments. Neel faced as much as two years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
Neel reached a one-lump settlement with his ex-wife,for $116,000 and not the $778,000 he owed,a reduction of 85%. He received no jail time sentence,only probation.
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