Chad Curtis (born November 6, 1968) is a former outfielder in Major League Baseball who played from 1992–2001, for the California Angels, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers. Over his career, Curtis compiled a .264 batting average and hit 101 home runs.
Curtis is a convicted felon currently serving 7–15 years for sexually assaulting 3 minors at a school where he was volunteering.
California Angels (1992–1994)
Curtis made his major-league debut in 1992, playing in 139 games at all three outfield positions. He compiled a .256 average with 10 home runs and 46 runs batted in, also stealing 43 bases, but was thrown out 18 times. The next season, Curtis hit .285 with 59 runs batted in, but led the league with 24 times caught stealing. In the strike-shortened 1994 season, he played in 114 games, hitting 11 home runs with 50 runs batted in before the abrupt end to the season. On April 13, 1995, he was traded to the Tigers for Tony Phillips.
Detroit Tigers (1995–1996)
During his first season as a Tiger, Curtis hit .268 with 21 homers and 67 runs batted in, while leading the American League with 670 plate appearances. In 1996, he played in 104 games with Detroit hitting .263 with 10 home runs and 37 runs batted in. He was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31, 1996 for John Cummings and Joey Eischen.
Los Angeles Dodgers (1996)
Curtis played in 43 games with the Dodgers hitting just .212 with only 9 runs batted in. He was 22-for-104 in his Dodgers tenure. In the postseason, Curtis was 0-for-3 in his only game played. On October 19, 1996, he became a free agent.
Cleveland Indians (1997)
Curtis signed with the Indians on December 18, 1996. He played in just 22 games for the Indians, hitting .207 (6 for 29) with three homers and seven runs batted in. He was traded to the Yankees on June 9, 1997.
New York Yankees (1997–1999)
Curtis was traded to the Yankees on June 9, 1997, for David Weathers. He hit .291 with 12 home runs and 50 runs batted in with the Yankees and was added to the postseason roster, where he went 1 for 6 with 3 walks and 1 strikeout.
In 1998, he hit .243 with 10 home runs and 56 runs batted in during the Yankees 114-win regular season. In the 1998 American League Division Series, Curtis was 2 for 3 with a run scored and a stolen base. In the Championship Series, he was 0-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout. He did not play in the 1998 World Series, but still received a World Series ring.
In 1999, Curtis hit .262 in just 99 games, his lowest total to that point. Curtis hit five home runs and collected 24 runs batted in. In the 1999 American League Division Series, Curtis played in all three games and scored one run despite not recording a hit. In the 1999 American League Championship Series, he scored a run and stole a base, again without recording a hit.
1999 World Series
Curtis played all four games of the 1999 World Series in left field. He is best known for hitting a walk-off home run in Game 3 of the series against the Atlanta Braves; it was his second of the night.
In an on-field interview immediately after the home run, Curtis refused to talk to NBC sportscaster Jim Gray in response to Gray’s controversial interview on gambling with Pete Rose, a former baseball player who has been banned from involvement with MLB.
Curtis told Gray, “I can’t do it. As a team, we kind of decided – because what happened with Pete – we’re not going to talk out here on the field.” However, former manager Joe Torre later said there was no unified front from either the Yankees players or Yankees front office to snub Gray, and that Curtis had acted alone with his viewpoint.
After the MasterCard All-Century Team ceremony before Game 2, Gray had aggressively asked Pete Rose about gambling on baseball.
On December 13, 1999, Curtis was traded to the Rangers.
Texas Rangers (2000–2001)
During the 2000 season, Curtis became the first right-handed batter to hit a home run into the upper deck in right field at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. He played in 108 games that year, hitting .272 with 8 home runs and 48 runs batted in. In 2001, he hit .252 with 3 home runs and 10 runs batted in in just 38 games. On November 5, 2001 he was granted free agency. He retired soon after.
NorthPoint Christian (2006–2009)
Athletic Director. In the fall of 2009 Curtis was fired without explanation.
Lakewood Public Schools (2012)
Curtis was hired as the varsity football coach at Lakewood Public schools early in 2012 and resigned in May.
After retiring from Major League Baseball, Curtis earned a teaching certificate at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was employed as the athletic director and weight training instructor at NorthPointe Christian High School in Grand Rapids from the fall of 2006 to the late fall of 2009. In 2009, after two seasons, the newly formed varsity football team advanced to its first ever playoff game. Besides coaching youth baseball, Curtis coached the equestrian team at Lakewood Public Schools winning state championship honors in 2011.
Curtis was hired as the head varsity football coach at Lakewood Public Schools in the winter of 2012. In May 2012, Curtis resigned from the coaching position after several female students accused him of “inappropriate touching”. In June 2012, Curtis was ordered to go on trial for five counts of criminal sexual conduct ranging from misdemeanors to 15-year felonies. Curtis was charged with an additional sixth count of criminal sexual conduct in August 2012. Curtis’s trial began on August 12, 2013. Three victims testified on the opening days of the trial and two more testified on August 14, 2013.
Curtis was found guilty on August 16, 2013, of all 6 counts of criminal sexual conduct. On October 3, 2013, Curtis was sentenced to 7 to 15 years in prison. He is currently incarcerated at Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in Adrian, Michigan.