Anthony Nomar Garciaparra: 1973—: Baseball Shortstop
Began Career With Boston
The Boston Red Sox picked Garciaparra for their team in 1994, and he quickly moved his way up through the organization. In 1996 he started out with a terrific season with the Class AAA Pawtucket team, Boston's minor league team, and then was called up in September to join the major leagues. His first major league hit was a home run. "I've been around some good young shortstops and Nomar is quite a talent, He's going to be really good," Red Sox manager Jim Williams told Atlanta Journal and Constitution.
The 1997 season, even before his first home run, started with a little surprise, because established shortstop John Valentin was moved to second base to make room for Garciaparra. The resulting situation was a little tense for a while, but he proved himself admirably, even being chosen for the American League All-Star Team in his first year. Garciaparra told Baseball Digest that Valentin was "one guy who's taught me so much about my game, about my position—being a former shortstop himself. There is just one word to describe him: class. A complete class guy. He's always been that way to me and he's just taught me so much." At the Americn League All-Star game, Garciaparra won the rookie home run contest that is held every year before the game. He ended his first season with a batting average of .306, with 30 home runs and 98 RBIs. His RBIs set a record for a lead off hitter and the American League rookie record, and his home runs were the highest ever for a rookie shortstop. He was voted unanimously to be the American League Rookie of the Year. According to the All Sports web site, "There was never any doubt. Nomar Garciaparra was indeed the best rookie in the game during the 1997 season. This rookie phenom started out strong and never looked back." His second season was stopped suddenly when his shoulder was separated and he missed 17 games. When he returned he was moved to the clean up spot where he batted a .323, with 35 home runs and 122 RBIs.
Garciaparra started the 2001 season with tendinitis in his right wrist, and had to have surgery to repair it. He was forced to sit out of all but 21 games in that season. When he returned after missing four months, he hit a home run in his first game and received one of the wildest standing ovations any Red Sox player has been given in recent years. This showed what everyone had already suspected: he had already become a Red Sox favorite. And the feelings were mutual. "[T]he Red Sox and the fans are not just my business, they're my passion, and I just hope that whoever buys them appreciates what the Red Sox are," he told ESPN.com regarding the fact that Red Sox ownership was up for bid in 2001. "This is not just a team, or a sport franchise. The Red Sox are a way of life, the lifestyle of an entire region. There isn't another place where baseball matters the way it does in Boston and throughout New England."
According to the Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, Garciaparra made history in July of 2002 when he was the first player in major-league history to hit three home runs in back-to-back innings. He also hit a grand slam. All this was done on his birthday.
Garciaparra is involved in more than just playing baseball. In 2001 he teamed up with Dunkin' Donuts to run a program called Dunkin Dugout. He also participated in "Sox Talks" for youth, helping run camps for children who were interested in playing and watching baseball. In 2002 Garciaparra, along with fellow shortstop Derek Jeter, was signed by Fleet to do commercials. And on the philanthropy front, he was involved with the Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Jimmy Fund. He also established the "Nomar 5 Foundation "to provide children with access to sports through his affiliation with Dunkin Donuts. He continued to host baseball camps and clinics through the Hot Dog Training Center, which awarded five scholarships a year to help children attend the camps and clinics.
Brief BiographiesBiographies: E(mily) R. Frank (1967-) Biography - Personal to Martha Graham (1893–1991) BiographyAnthony Nomar Garciaparra: 1973—: Baseball Shortstop Biography - Began Career With Boston, Remained Humble