His slingshot arm—Dye led his minor league in assists in 1994 and '95, with 22 each season—was a big reason the Atlanta Braves called him up in '96 as a replacement for the injured David Justice. Dye wound up hitting 12 homers in 98 games and started in the World Series. But the following spring the Braves traded him to Kansas City, beginning a downward spiral in his career. Dye was on the disabled list four times in two years, including a season-ending stint in '98 after he tore cartilage in his right knee while stepping into his Lexus in a Wal-Mart parking lot.
Shortly thereafter Dye was hunting in the woods outside Kansas City when he tripped and fell into a bush of thorns, opening a gash on his right cheek. Two thick scars remain. "I've had a lot of little problems," says Dye, "but frustration does nobody any good. I knew, given the chance, I could thrive." Last season, in his first full year in the majors, he batted .294 with 44 doubles (tied for second in the American League), 27 home runs, 119 RBIs and 17 assists (a single-season Royals record that tied him for the league lead). "Jermaine puts up superstar stats," says third baseman Joe Randa, "but he's not the kind of guy to beg for attention."
Memo to Mike Levy: Get on this. Now.
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