Nomar Garciaparra
Garciaparra with the Boston Red Sox in 2002
Born: July 23, 1973
Whittier, California
Height: 6 ft 0 Weight: 190 lbs
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB Debut
August 31, 1996 for the Boston Red Sox
Last MLB Appearance
October 4, 2009 for the Oakland Athletics
Career Info
College: Georgia Tech
Drafted: 12th overall in 1994 Amateur Draft by the Boston Red Sox
Pro career: 1996-2009 (13 years)
Career Statistics
Batting average: .313
Home runs: 229
Runs batted in: 936
Boston Red Sox (1996-2004)
Chicago Cubs (2004-2005)
Los Angeles Dodgers (2006–2008)
Oakland Athletics(2009)
Career highlights and awards:

Anthony Nomar Garciaparra;[1] born July 23, 1973, in Whittier, California)[2] is a retired American Baseball player.[3] He previously played for Oakland AL, first base and third base for the Dodgers, and shortstop and third base for the Chicago Cubs, after several years as an All-Star shortstop for the Boston Red Sox. He batted .313 lifetime and won 2 batting titles in a 14-year career marked by injuries and a somewhat premature decline in his laterf years.

His full name is Anthony Nomar Garciaparra, but he began going by Nomar when he was a child after there were too many Anthonys in his class. Nomar is his father's first name (Ramon) backwards and his last name is his father's last name (Garcia) and his mother's last name (Parra) together.

Garciaparra is a six-time All-Star (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006). In five postseason series he has batted .323 with a slugging percentage of .625.

Early years

Garciaparra attended St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, California where he excelled in football, soccer, and baseball. His teams won high school league championships in 1990-91 and he won the league MVP honors in 1991, his last year of high school. St. John Bosco High School retired Garciaparra's baseball jersey.[4] St. John Bosco High School's Activities Office window is home to an area dedicated to Garciaparra's baseball career both at the school and with the Dodgers.

Garciparra attended Georgia Tech, where he helped the Yellow Jackets reach the College World Series national championships in 1994, where they lost to Oklahoma. Former Boston teammate Jason Varitek was also a member of that team. He was an Atlantic Coast Conference All-Star and a first team All-American twice in 1993-94. While in college, Garciaparra played for the Orleans Cardinals of the Cape Cod Baseball League.

Major League Baseball career

Boston Red Sox (1994–2004)


Garciaparra with the Boston Red Sox in 2002

Garciaparra was a first round pick of the Red Sox in 1994 following a successful career at Georgia Tech. He played in the Red Sox minor league system for three years (1994-Sarasota 1995-Trenton, 1996-Pawtucket).

He made his Major League debut on August 31, 1996 as a defensive replacement against Oakland. His first Major League hit was a home run off of Oakland pitcher John Wasdin on September 1.

At the time, Boston's starting shortstop was John Valentin, who finished ninth in MVP voting in 1995. By late 1996, Nomar won the job. Garciaparra's talent was enough to displace Valentin, who was moved to second base (then third base) to make room for young Garciaparra, who batted .241 with 4 home runs, 16 RBI, and 5 stolen bases in his initial stint with the club near the end of 1996. As a rookie in 1997, he hit 30 home runs and drove in 98 runs, setting a new MLB record for RBIs by a leadoff hitter.His 30-game hitting streak set an A.L. rookie record. He was named Rookie of the Year in a unanimous vote, competed in the Home Run Derby, and finished eighth in MVP voting. He also won the immediate admiration of Red Sox fans, who referred to him in Boston accents as "NO-mah!".

From 1998-2000, Garciaparra emerged as the one of the better hitters of the Holy Trinity of shortstops, with the highest career OPS of the three by the conclusion of this period. He finished with 35 home runs and 122 RBI in 1998, and placed as the runner-up for AL MVP. Garciaparra then led the American League in batting average for the next two years, hitting .357 in 1999 and .372 in 2000, finishing in the top ten in MVP voting both years. He is one of the few right-handed batters to win consecutive batting titles, and the first since Joe DiMaggio.

In February of 2001, Garciaparra appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, with the headline "A Cut Above... baseball's toughest out". The week after the issue hit newsstands, Garciaparra reported to spring training with a serious wrist injury, which essentially aborted his season. He recovered by the start of the 2002 season and drove in 120 runs while hitting a league-leading 56 doubles. However, he had a difficult time playing as strongly defensively as before, and his batting average dipped substantially, though it was still an excellent .310.

The end of Garciaparra in Boston

Before the 2002 season, a new ownership group purchased the Red Sox. The baseball operations staff, led by Theo Epstein, stressed on-base percentage on offense and strong defense, two areas where Garciaparra was about to decline precipitously from his pre-2001 levels. Still, Garciaparra recovered from an injury-filled 2001 season to bat .310 with 24 home runs and 120 RBIs in 2002. The star shortstop was up for a contract extension following the 2004 season and hoped for a deal before that deadline. Still considered one of the best shortstops in baseball, he hoped to receive salaries similar to peers Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. Garciaparra turned down a four-year deal worth $60 million when the Red Sox did not offer him a signing bonus as large as he wanted.

In 2003, Garciaparra ended a solid but unspectacular season with a miserable September, closing with a career-low .301 batting average. He followed that with a poor post-season, contributing zero home runs, one RBI and ten strikeouts in 12 games against the Oakland Athletics and rival Yankees, who eliminated the Red Sox in seven games.

Meanwhile, new stars and cult heroes, led by David Ortiz and Kevin Millar, began to emerge in Boston. Millar convinced nearly every player on the roster other than Johnny Damon and Garciaparra (whose wedding with Mia Hamm followed the season) to shave his head.

After the 2003 season, Red Sox management explored trading Manny Ramírez to the Texas Rangers for shortstop Alex Rodriguez. Details of this proposed trade and the subsequent agreement sending Garciaparra to the Chicago White Sox for Magglio Ordóñez quickly became public. The mega-deal fell apart when the MLBPA refused to approve a restructuring of Rodríguez's contract, and Garciaparra returned to Boston for the start of the 2004 season in the final year of a contract signed in 1997.

Chicago Cubs

File:Nomar Garciaparra Chicago Cubs.jpg

Garciaparra with the Cubs in 2005 spring training

On July 31, 2004 (the MLB trading deadline), Garciaparra was the key player involved in a four-team deal that sent Nomar and Matt Murton to the wild card leading Chicago Cubs. The Red Sox received Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz. Nomar expressed his appreciation to Red Sox fans in a speech to media, and left for the Windy City. At first, Garciaparra was assigned jersey number 8, because Cub catcher Michael Barrett wore number 5. A few days later, they switched numbers. The Cubs led the wild card until mid-September, but finished the 2004 season with 89 wins and out of the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Red Sox, in an astonishing series comeback, finally overcame the Yankees en route to a World Series sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals, after which Nomar's former teammates voted to give him a World Series ring. Curt Schilling noted that if it were not for Nomar, the Sox may not have been in a position to win at all.

In the 2005 season, a torn left groin forced him onto the disabled list yet again for more than three months. Garciaparra resumed play on August 5, 2005. Because Cubs regular third baseman Aramis Ramírez was on the disabled list for the last few weeks of the 2005 season, he volunteered to temporarily play third base, and Cub skipper Dusty Baker agreed. Aside from his first game in the Majors, in which he played second base, he had played shortstop in all of his other Major League games up to that point in his career.

Los Angeles Dodgers

In 2006, Nomar returned to his home town, signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Also on the team were former Red Sox players Bill Mueller, Derek Lowe, and manager Grady Little.

While facing the New York Mets on June 6, 2006, Nomar hit a two-run home run on the first pitch he ever saw against former teammate and fellow Boston icon Pedro Martínez. Coincidentally, Derek Lowe was the starting pitcher for the Dodgers that day.

Though he was able to retain his original jersey number (5), he moved to first base in order to minimize the risk of injury, while the Dodgers signed Rafael Furcal from the Atlanta Braves to step in for the recovering César Izturis at short. Healthy for the first extended period of time since 2003, he regained his offensive stroke, evidenced by a .370 batting average at one point, and by his remaining constantly productive. By the 2006 MLB All-Star Break, Nomar was tied with Pittsburgh's Freddy Sanchez for the lead among all MLB infielders and all NL batters with a .358 batting average, to go along with 11 home runs and 53 RBIs, carrying a 21-game hitting streak into the break.

File:Nomar Garciaparra.jpg

Garciaparra with the Dodgers in 2008.
Photo by Chris Nelson

He adjusted well to playing first base, having committed only 1 error through 588.2 innings played—a .998 fielding percentage. He also was elected to the 2006 NL All-Star Team as the National League All-Star Final Vote winner, receiving around six million votes. It was his sixth trip to the Midsummer Classic, and his first as a first baseman and as a Dodger. Unfortunately, a combination of oblique strains, knee injuries, and simple struggles caused Garciaparra's play to drop off dramatically in the second half. His .358 batting average steadily declined to just a hair over .300 by the end of the season. Despite Garciaparra's late season slump and injuries, Garciaparra did prevail in the clutch for the Dodgers during their playoff race with two walk off home runs. The first capped off one of the most amazing games of the season on September 18, when the Dodgers hit four consecutive home runs in the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres to tie the game. After the Padres scored a run in the tenth inning, Nomar hit a walk off two-run home run in the bottom of the tenth to win the game 11-10. Six days later on September 24, Garciaparra hit a walk off grand slam against the Arizona Diamondbacks to give the Dodgers a 5-1 victory with one week left in the regular season. Garciaparra's walk off home run against Arizona propelled the Dodgers to win their last seven games of the regular season, helping the Dodgers to make the playoffs.

On October 7, Garciaparra was named the National League's Comeback Player of the Year for 2006. He received 72,054 votes.

On November 20, 2006 the Dodgers re-signed Garciaparra to a 2-year contract worth $18.5 million, keeping him with the team through the 2008 season.

On June 25, 2007, it was announced that Garciaparra would move from first to third base in order to make room for rookie James Loney.[5]

During 2008 spring training Garciaparra suffered a microfracture on his hand after a hit-by-pitch. This forced him to start the 2008 MLB season on the DL, and was replaced by rookie Blake DeWitt. On April 16, he started his first game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, only to suffer a strained left calf muscle 9 days later resulting in another trip to the DL.[6] He returned July, 4th, 2008 playing Shortstop for the first time since 2005.

Garciaparra was placed on the DL on August 1, 2008, days after being injured attempting to make a tag while playing shortstop, and replaced on the Dodgers' active roster by newly acquired Manny Ramirez.

Personal life

On November 22, 2003 Garciaparra married Olympian and World Cup Champion soccer star Mia Hamm. The couple have twin girls, Grace Isabella and Ava Caroline, who were born on March 28, 2007 in Los Angeles.[7]

Both he and Mia Hamm were on Olympic teams in their respective sports. Garciaparra was on the 1992 Olympic baseball team, and Hamm was on the 1996, 2000, and 2004 women's Olympic soccer teams.

Garciaparra uses the song "Low Rider" by War as his entrance music when he comes up to bat.[8]

Garciaparra is known for his idiosyncratic tics when batting. This habit includes an elaborate routine of glove adjustments and alternating toe taps on the ground prior to an ensuing pitch.

Garciaparra is the cousin of Arturo Javier Ledesma, a Mexican soccer player who currently plays for Club Deportivo Guadalajara. His uncle is legendary Mexican soccer goalkeeper, Javier "Zully" Ledesma. His brother, Michael Garciaparra, is a baseball player, playing shortstop for the Double-A Huntsville Stars.

On the Kate Hudson/Radiohead episode on season 26 of Saturday Night Live, Garciaparra cameoed in a "Boston Teens" sketch.

On October 8, 2005, Garciaparra and his uncle Victor Garciaparra were alerted to the screams of two women who had fallen into Boston Harbor outside his condominium. One of the women sustained injuries to her head after hitting the pier on her way in. Garciaparra quickly jumped into the harbor and saved both women, who were later taken to the hospital.[9]

See also


External links

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