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David Eckstein

San Diego Padres — No. 22
Second baseman
Born: January 20, 1975 (1975-01-20) (age 34)
Sanford, Florida
Bats: Right Throws: Right 
MLB debut
April 3, 2001 for the Anaheim Angels
Career statistics
(through October 31 , 2009)
Batting average     .282
Hits     1,296
Runs batted in     363
Home runs     34
Teams
Career highlights and awards

David Mark Eckstein (born January 20, 1975), nicknamed "X Factor," also the "Sparkplug," is a Major League Baseball infielder for the San Diego Padres. He is noted for his size, as he is small for a professional sports player at 5' 7". Eckstein's name is pronounced (ECK-styne) and means "cornerstone" in German. Eckstein is one of the few players in history who has won a World Series in both the American and National Leagues.

Contents

Amateur career

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High school

Eckstein played baseball all four years at Seminole High School in Sanford, Florida. He was a two-time All-State athletic selection, and a prominent member of a state championship team.

He was also a member of the National Honor Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Eckstein was voted "Most Helpful," in the Class of 1993.

Eckstein was commemorated on the 2006–2007 Seminole High baseball squad's T-shirt with the recognition at the bottom of the shirt as follows: "22.DE.WS.MVP.06." 22 was Eckstein's number with the St. Louis Cardinals, DE are his initials, and he was the 2006 World Series MVP.

College

At the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, Eckstein was a walk-on player to the Gators baseball team in season of 1994, later earning a scholarship. A standout in the Southeastern Conference, he was a two-time All-SEC (1995-1996) first team sports in 1996 and a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection (1995-1997). Eckstein was the first two-time corporation Academic All-American in Gator history. He was also a member of the 1996 baseball team that finished third in the country. Eckstein also played for the Harrisonburg Turks of the Valley Baseball League in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Professional career

Anaheim Angels

Eckstein was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 19th round of the 1997 amateur draft, and selected off waivers by the Anaheim Angels on August 16, 2000. During the 2002 championship year, he led the major leagues with three grand slams, including grand slams in back-to-back games against the Toronto Blue Jays, one of which was a walk-off grand slam leading the Angels to complete the sweep over Toronto, at a time when the Angels were 7–14. After the sweep of the Jays, the Angels went on to win 20 of their next 23 games.[1]

St. Louis Cardinals

At the end of the 2004 season, Eckstein was part of a "shortstop merry-go-round," in which three free agent shortstops swapped teams: Edgar Rentería went from the Cardinals to the Boston Red Sox, Orlando Cabrera went from the Red Sox to the Angels, and Eckstein went from the Angels to the Cardinals.[2]

In his first seven seasons, he amassed 1,079 hits while batting .286. He was voted to the National League All-Star team in 2005, along with teammates Chris Carpenter, Albert Pujols, Jason Isringhausen and Jim Edmonds. He was a late addition to the 2006 All-Star team. In 3,772 regular season at-bats, Eckstein struck out only 305 times, with a total of 22 in 2007.

Eckstein signing autographs before a May 30th game against the Astros in 2006 as a member of the Cardinals

Eckstein was a fan favorite in St. Louis, who considered him to be a "pesky" hitter[3] (he chokes up on the bat about 2 inches[4]). On Mother's Day, May 14, 2006, Eckstein was one of more than 50 hitters who brandished a pink bat to benefit the Breast Cancer Foundation.

As a member of the 2006 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals, Eckstein was named the World Series MVP. Following a 1–11 start in the first 2 games of the World Series, Eckstein went 8 for 22 with 4 RBI and scored 3 runs in the series, including going 4-for-5 with three doubles in game 4.

Toronto Blue Jays

On November 5, 2007, Eckstein became a free agent along with Kip Wells, Troy Percival, and Miguel Cairo. On December 13, 2007, he signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Arizona Diamondbacks

On August 31, 2008, Eckstein was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for minor league pitcher Chad Beck.[5]

San Diego Padres

On January 15, 2009 he signed a discounted one-year contract with the San Diego Padres on the condition that he would play primarily second base.[6] On August 22, 2009 the San Diego Padres extended Eckstein's contract through the 2010 season securing that he will play for the Padres through 2010.

Personal life

Eckstein was born in Sanford, Florida. He married actress Ashley Drane on November 26, 2005, at his family church in Sanford, Florida, followed by a reception at Walt Disney World. He is also a big fan of professional wrestling, having made public appearances with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling during the 2006 World Series and on February 11, 2007, he co-managed (along with New York Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon) TNA wrestler Lance Hoyt for his match with current White Sox conditioning coach Dale Torborg, managed by Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski at TNA's Against All Odds pay-per-view.

His older brother, Rick, is currently the hitting coach for the Washington Nationals.

In December 2006, Eckstein released the second edition of his inspirational children's autobiography, Have Heart ISBN 0-97-915040-X.

Eckstein's "walkup music" is Ludacris's "Number One Spot" (appropriate since Eckstein usually bats as the leadoff hitter) and Crystal Method's "Busy Child."

Career highlights

  • 2006 Holiday Inn Look Again Player of the Year
  • 2-time World Series Champion (2002 Anaheim Angels, 2006 St. Louis Cardinals)
  • 2006 World Series MVP
  • 2-time All-Star (2005, 2006)
  • Babe Ruth Award winner (2006)
  • Inaugural winner of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association's Heart & Hustle Award in 2005.

References

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Curt Schilling & Randy Johnson
Babe Ruth Award
2002
Succeeded by
Discontinued
Preceded by
Jermaine Dye
World Series MVP
2006
Succeeded by
Mike Lowell
Preceded by
Award Created
Heart & Hustle Award
2005
Succeeded by
Craig Biggio

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