Nomar Garciaparra

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Anthony Nomar Garciaparra is a Major League Baseball infielder who is currently a free agent. He has previously played for the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers. He is known for his superstitions such as readjusting his batting gloves before every pitch. His wife is superstar soccer player Mia Hamm.

College

Garciaparra spent his college career at Georgia Tech. While there, he played with future Major League players Jason Varitek and Jay Payton. He was named the Atlantic Coast Conference's rookie of the year. He would also be named to the All-ACC team during all of his three collegiate seasons. During his Junior year, Georgia Tech advanced to the College World Series where they were defeated by Louisiana State. He was drafted by the Red Sox with the twelfth pick of the 1994 Amateur Draft.

Professional career

Red Sox (1996-2004)

After signing, Garciaparra played a shortened season with Boston's Single A club in Sarasota. In 1995, which would be his only full minor league season, he moved to Double A Trenton and was named to the league's All-Star team. Garciaparra was scheduled to start the 1996 season with Triple A Pawtucket but was delayed by an ankle injury. He returned after missing three months and performed well enough to earn a late season call-up to Boston. He made his Major League debut on September 1, 1996, playing shortstop against the Oakland Athletics. He would hit his first home run in that game against John Wasdin.

Garciaparra showed such potential that the team moved veteran shortstop John Valentin to second base to open the position for him. He had a strong rookie year, hitting thirty home runs and setting an AL rookie record with a thirty-game hitting streak. He was named the AL Rookie of the Year by unamious vote and played in the All-Star game. The Red Sox rewarded his play with a long term contract extension. He also got the attention of Hall of Fame outfielder Ted Williams. Williams: "He's as good a young player as anyone I've ever seen come into the big leagues. He's tremendous. One of the very best young hitters I ever saw. He's a smart kid and he knows all about hitting."[1]

In 1999 and 2000, Garciaparra won back to back batting titles. He was named an AL All-Star both years, including named a starter for the 1999 game in Boston's Fenway Park. His momentum was slowed when he suffered a broken wrist in April 2001 and resulted in him missing the rest of the season. The injury would affect him the rest of his career. He had a strong return in 2002 and was named to the AL All-Star team. After fellow shortstops Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter signed mega-contracts, Garciaparra felt underpaid. Garciaparra: "Manny's making 20. Pedro's making 17. Alex is making 25, Jeter's making 19. I mean, where do I fit in?"[2] The Red Sox offered him a four-year extension worth $60 million in spring training of 2003. Garciaparra: "Four years, $15 million, fine: We agree on that...I asked for a signing bonus for $8 million."[2] The team rejected the request and ended negotiations. He had another All-Star year in 2003 amid rumors that he was unhappy in Boston and wanted to play in his home state of California. In July 2004, with concerns about his health and fielding ability, the Red Sox traded him to the Cubs for Doug Mientkiewicz and Orlando Cabrera.

References

  1. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=garcino01
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mnookin, Seth. (2006). Feeding the Monster: How Money, Smarts, and Nerve Took a Team to the Top, Simon & Schuster, Page 234

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