Photos by member Linda Clifton
Speaking June 8th was William Henry “D.J.” Dozier, Jr., a retired American National Football League running back and Major League Baseball outfielder. He played five seasons with the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions from 1987 to 1991, and played one season with the MLB’s New York Mets in 1992. He currently resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Dozier was born in Norfolk, Virginia. He attended Kempsville High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and later attended Penn State University.
- Dozier scored the winning touchdown of Penn State’s 1987 National Championship Fiesta Bowl victory over Miami.
- Dozier was drafted out of Penn State in the first round (#14 overall) of the 1987 NFL Draft.
- He shared the November 11, 1985 cover of Sports Illustrated with Florida’s Ray McDonald.
- He had a career average of 4.0 yards per carry. In 1991—his final season—he averaged 5.3 yards per rush.
- He fumbled the ball only 4 times during his 5-year professional career.
- Dozier had a perfect 158.3 passer rating as a pro. (He was 1-for-1 for 19 yards and a touchdown)
- Dozier caught 33 career passes, averaging 9.1 yards per catch.
- As a kick returner, he averaged 19.4 yards per return.
Dozier, who was 6’0″, 202 pounds and who threw and batted right-handed was originally drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 18th round in 1983 (459th overall). He opted not to sign and decided to go to college, where he would pursue his football career.
In 1990, the New York Mets signed him as an amateur free agent. He spent 1990 and 1991 in the minor leagues, where he showed good speed (he stole 33 bases with St. Lucie in 1990) and also some power (in 1990, he hit 13 home runs with St. Lucie). He played for the Williamsport Bills in 1991.
After spending some time in the minors in 1992, he was called up to the Major Leagues and made his debut on May 6, 1992 at the age of 26. In 25 games, he hit .191 with 4 stolen bases and 19 strikeouts in 47 at-bats. Defensively, he committed 1 error for a fielding percentage of .971.
On October 26, 1992, Dozier was traded with catcher Raul Casanova and pitcher Wally Whitehurst for shortstop/third baseman Tony Fernández.