Darin Erstad: Wikis

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Darin Erstad

Free Agent — No. --
Outfielder / First baseman
Born: June 4, 1974 (1974-06-04) (age 35)
Jamestown, North Dakota
Bats: Left Throws: Left 
MLB debut
June 14, 1996 for the California Angels
Career statistics
(through 2009 Season)
Batting average     .282
Home runs     124
Runs batted in     699
Stolen bases     179
Teams
*California Angels (1996), Anaheim Angels (1997-2004)
Career highlights and awards
  • 2x All-Star selection (1998, 2000)
  • World Series champion (2002)
  • 3x Gold Glove Award winner (2000, 2002, 2004)
  • Silver Slugger Award winner (2000)
  • First player in MLB history to win Gold Glove Awards for both infield and outfield positions
  • First player in MLB history to record 100 RBIs as a leadoff hitter in a season (2000)

Darin Charles Erstad (born June 4, 1974, in Jamestown, North Dakota) is a Major League Baseball free agent outfielder/first baseman. Prior to 2007, he had played with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim franchise (1996-2006) before signing with the Chicago White Sox in 2007. He bats and throws left-handed.

Contents

Early life

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High school

Erstad graduated in 1992 from Jamestown High School in Jamestown, North Dakota. He was a kicker and punter on the school football team, logging a school-record 50-yard field goal. Erstad also played hockey (36 goals and 24 assists in 26 games) and participated in track and field (winning state titles in 110 and 300-meter hurdles).

Erstad played American Legion baseball (Jamestown had no high school baseball team) and hit .492 with 18 home runs and 86 RBI for Jamestown in 1992. He was also 10-2 with a 2.18 ERA as a pitcher, and was named AP North Dakota Athlete of the Year in 1992.

College

Erstad attended the University of Nebraska, playing baseball there for three years and held the school record for career hits with 261. In his final year there, Erstad hit .410 with 19 home runs and 79 RBIs, earning First-Team All-American status and was a finalist for the 1995 Golden Spikes Award[1].

Darin started his junior campaign on a tear and never stopped hitting. He was at his best against the conference’s top team, Oklahoma. In five games with the first-place Sooners, he batted .429 and blasted three home runs. Oklahoma lefty Mark Redman— with whom Darin would share conference Player of the Year honors — was among his biggest victims. The Huskers finished 35-23, and Darin led the Big Eight with a .410 average. He was the only batter in the conference to surpass 100 hits, and also led all players with seven triples. Named a First Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, Darin set career highs with 19 homers and 76 RBIs.

Erstad was also the starting punter on the Cornhuskers football team and was part of their 1994 National Championship squad, averaging 42.6 yards per punt, the 14th best mark in the country that year.

Professional career

So far, in an 14-season career, Erstad has compiled a .282 batting average with 123 home runs and 693 RBIs in 1817 games. He has been selected to the American League All-Star team twice (1998, 2000) and has eight game-ending, or "walk-off," RBI in his career.

Angels

1995-2000

The then-titled California Angels chose Erstad as the first pick overall in the 1995 Major League Baseball Draft from the University of Nebraska. He made his major league debut the same year batting .284 over 57 games. He played his first full season in 1997, batting .299 with 16 home runs and 99 runs scored. Posting similarly solid statistics the next year, Erstad made his first of two All-Star appearances before having a disappointing season in 1999.

Erstad had a career season in 2000, when he finished eighth in the American League in MVP voting. That year, he led the American League in hits (240), singles (170) and at-bats (676); he was second in total bases (366) and third in runs (121). He also hit .355, finishing second in the batting race behind Nomar Garciaparra (.372), became the first player in Major League history to record 100 RBIs as a leadoff hitter, and won the AL Silver Slugger Award.

On June 10, 2000, Erstad hit a double in the Angels' 10-3 win over Arizona. With a major league-leading 100 hits in 61 games, he became the fastest to reach the 100-hit mark since Hall of Famer Heinie Manush did it in 60 games for the 1934 Washington Senators. With three hits on Aug. 29, 2000, he reached 200 hits faster than any player in 65 years. Erstad was just 26 years old at the end of the season, an age at which many players enter their prime, leading many to believe more superstar seasons were ahead of him.

He is one of only five batters, through August 2009, to have hit both a leadoff and walkoff home run in the same game (having done so in 2000), the others being Billy Hamilton (1893), Victor Power (1957), Reed Johnson (2003), and Ian Kinsler (2009).[2]

2001-2006

Erstad hits a home run for the Angels

Since 2001, however, Erstad has never hit as high as .300, nor has hit over 10 home runs or slugged over .400 (2004) in any season. In some years he has been the least productive offensive regular at his position. Injuries and an all-out style of play are a part of the reason he fell short of early expectations, as he missed large parts of three seasons due to various ailments.

Despite all this, Darin Erstad managed to be a vital part of the 2002 World Series Champion Anaheim Angels. After batting .421 in the American League Division Series against the New York Yankees and .364 in the American League Championship Series against the Minnesota Twins, Erstad batted .300 in the seven-game series vs. the National League Champion San Francisco Giants. He hit a key home run in Game 6 of the series with the Angels trailing 5-3 in the eighth inning and facing elimination, and he also caught the final out of Game 7 hit by Kenny Lofton off Troy Percival into center field. When the Angels won the World Series in 2002, Erstad became just the second player hailing from North Dakota to be on a World Series winning roster. Roger Maris was the first with the 1961 Yankees and 1967 Cardinals.

Throughout Erstad's Angels career, his defense remained exceptionally strong. He led all major league center fielders in range factor (3.39) in 2002. Erstad won Gold Glove awards in 2000, 2002, and 2004, when he made a transition from the outfield to first base. To date, he is the only player in MLB history to have won Gold Gloves as an infielder and outfielder and first to win the award at three different positions, though all outfield Gold Gloves are voted on together.[3]

Though he compiled a career high 21 game hit streak in 2005, he only played in 40 games in 2006, his last season with the Angels. In eleven years with the franchise, Erstad compiled a .286 batting average and a cumulative .339 postseason average over three seasons. He currently ranks near the top of several franchise records.

White Sox and Astros

Having signed a $750,000 contract in the off-season, Erstad hit a home run in his first at-bat as a member of the Chicago White Sox on opening day 2007 off CC Sabathia. He has played the following two seasons with the Houston Astros. When catcher Chris Coste joined Erstad on the Astros roster in July, 2009, they became the first two players born in North Dakota to play together on the same team in major league history.[4]

Personal and hometown

Erstad has two children, a daughter Jordan Elizabeth and a son Zack, with his wife Jessica. He has a billboard in his honor off Interstate 94 in his hometown of Jamestown, North Dakota. During Erstad's tenure with the Angels, his hometown carried all Angels games over the radio; most North Dakota stations only carry Minnesota Twins games. As of July, 2009, he currently ranks second to Travis Hafner in all-time home runs hit by a player born in North Dakota.

See also

References

External links

Preceded by
Paul Wilson
First overall pick in the MLB Entry Draft
1995
Succeeded by
Kris Benson

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