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Derrek Lee

Derrek Lee warms up before a game.
Chicago Cubs — No. 25
First baseman
Born: September 6, 1975 (1975-09-06) (age 34)
Sacramento, California
Bats: Right Throws: Right 
MLB debut
April 28, 1997 for the San Diego Padres
Career statistics
(through 2009 season)
Batting average     .284
Home runs     293
Runs batted in     939
Career highlights and awards

Derrek Leon Lee (born September 6, 1975 in Sacramento, California) is a Major League Baseball first baseman and team captain for the Chicago Cubs. Prior to being traded to the club in 2004, Lee played with the San Diego Padres (1997) and the Florida Marlins (19982003). He bats and throws right-handed.


Early life

Lee was born on September 6, 1975. Leon Lee is his father and Leron Lee is his uncle. Each of them played professional baseball in Japan. During his elementary years Lee lived in Japan, and during his high school years he often lived there during his summer breaks. Lee was born in Sacramento, California Lee played Little League Baseball at Whitney Little League and graduated from El Camino High School in 1993.

Professional career

Lee was drafted in the first round (14th overall) of the 1993 Major League Baseball Draft by the San Diego Padres, and made his major league debut on April 28, 1997. Traded to the Florida Marlins a year later, Lee was a member of the 2003 World Series Marlins championship team. Lee won his first Gold Glove during the 2003 championship season and his spectacular grab and unassisted putout on a hard hit Hideki Matsui one-hop line drive snuffed out a Yankees rally and ended Game 5 of the World Series with a Marlins victory. The Marlins went on the win the World Series in Game 6.

Lee was traded to the Cubs for Hee-seop Choi. He hit .278 with 32 home runs and 98 RBI in his first year with the Cubs. In 2005, Lee had a career first half of the season, with an MLB-leading .376 batting average, 72 RBI, and a tie for the major league lead in home runs, 27.

The Cubs had traded superstar Sammy Sosa, who had previously been one of their best hitters, before the 2005 season. Lee showed early on that he could more than compensate for the loss, and while Sosa had a disappointing 2005 season with the Baltimore Orioles, Lee had a career year. By midseason, he was among MLB's leaders in each of the triple crown categories: batting average, home runs, and RBI. His .335 batting average was the highest by a Cub since Bill Madlock's .339 in 1976 and made him the first Cub since Bill Buckner in 1980 to win a National League batting title. Lee was named to the U.S. roster for the 2006 World Baseball Classic, where he was the first player to hit a home run for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.

On April 10, 2006, Lee signed a five-year, $65 million extension with the Chicago Cubs.[1] The deal replaced his contract for the 2006 season and extended him as the Cubs' first baseman through the 2010 season and included a no-trade clause. He broke his wrist less than two weeks later, in a collision involving baserunner Rafael Furcal, and he missed 59 games due to the injury. The Cubs posted a 19-40 record during Lee's stint on the disabled list. Later, Lee went back on the disabled list with a post-traumatic inflammation in the outer bone of the medial side of the wrist.

Lee hit his 200th career home run as a member of the Chicago Cubs on August 20, 2007, off Cardinals reliever Troy Percival.

Lee takes the field

In 2009 he had the lowest range factor of all starting major league first basemen (8.64).[2]

Bench-clearing brawl

On June 16, 2007, during a game against the San Diego Padres, Lee was involved in a bench-clearing brawl. In the fourth inning of the game, Padres pitcher Chris Young threw a pitch near Lee's head, hitting him in the wrist. While walking to first base, he and Young were chatting and then walked towards each other. A few seconds later, Lee threw a punch at Young, who threw a punch back, leading to the bench-clearing brawl. [3] While Lee was being restrained, Padres pitcher Jake Peavy grabbed Lee to try and lure him away from the area, but Cubs hitting coach Gerald Perry grabbed Peavy by the neck and threw him onto the ground. In the end, Lee, Young, Peavy and Perry were ejected.

Lee, along with Young, was suspended five games for fighting. [4] Perry was suspended three games for aggressive actions, and Peavy was suspended for 5 games, but with the Padres re-shuffling their rotation, was able to serve it and not miss a start. Padres outfielder Brian Giles was also suspended as a result of the incident, but the reason for his fine was not known.

Personal life

Lee is the son of Leon Lee. Leon Lee never played in Major League Baseball, but instead in Japan. Today, he is a scout for Major League Baseball and, coincidentally, he was the scout who "found" Hee-Seop Choi who was later traded for his son. Lee is the nephew of former Major League outfielder Leron Lee, who played eight seasons with the Cardinals, Dodgers, Indians, and Padres. Currently, he works with the Cincinnati Reds as an advising batting coach to scouted players.


Project 3000

In September 2006, Lee's three-year-old daughter Jada was diagnosed with Leber's congenital amaurosis, a rare genetic disease resulting in loss of vision. Lee and Boston Celtics co-owner and CEO Wyc Grousbeck with the University of Iowa established Project 3000 in an effort to eradicate the disease, which affects both their families. Lee guest starred in an episode of NBC's drama series ER, "Gravity", which was first broadcast in October 2007. Lee agreed to the brief appearance because the producers of ER aired an episode in January 2008 that deals with Leber's congenital amaurosis. Lee's efforts to raise awareness and funds for research into the condition have helped to raise over $1,000,000 of additional research funds. An eventual cure for the disease depends greatly on getting data on patients and Lee's support has had a significant impact both in fundraising and testing patients who have the disease.

In 2009 Lee revealed that Jada had been misdiagnosed and does not have the disease, but Lee continues to be active in raising money for Project 3000.[5]

1st Touch Foundation

The 1st Touch Foundation was established in 2005 by Lee and his wife as a vehicle to encourage and support the educational aspirations of the community's young people. The initial vision was to build The 1st Touch Academic Youth Center in Sacramento, CA. In 2009, Lee unveiled a cabernet wine called CaberLee through Charity Wines where 100% of the proceeds will benefit the 1st Touch Foundation.[6]

See also


External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Barry Bonds
National League Batting Champion
Succeeded by
Freddy Sánchez
Preceded by
Todd Helton
Todd Helton
Albert Pujols
NL First Base Gold Glove Winner
Succeeded by
Todd Helton
Albert Pujols
Adrian Gonzalez
Preceded by
Adrián Beltré
National League Player of the Month
April, 2005
Succeeded by
Bobby Abreu
Preceded by
Ryan Howard
National League Player of the Month
September, 2009
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Barry Bonds
National League Slugging Percentage Champion
Succeeded by
Albert Pujols


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