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J. D. Drew

Boston Red Sox — No. 7
Right fielder
Born: November 20, 1975 (1975-11-20) (age 34)
Valdosta, Georgia
Bats: Left Throws: Right 
MLB debut
September 8, 1998 for the St. Louis Cardinals
Career statistics
(through 2009 season)
Batting average     .283
Home runs     216
Runs batted in     705
Teams
Career highlights and awards

David Jonathan "J. D." Drew (born November 20, 1975, in Valdosta, Georgia) is a Major League Baseball right fielder for the Boston Red Sox. He is a left-handed hitter, and began his major league career in 1998 with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Contents

College

"J.D." Drew attended Florida State University, where he played under head coach Mike Martin. At Florida State, he was the winner of the 1997 Dick Howser Trophy and the 1997 Golden Spikes Award, was named the 1997 Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year, the 1997 Sporting News Player of the Year, and was a consensus All-American (1997). He also was named the 1997 ACC Player of the Year. He was a 1996 member of Team USA. Drew was First Team in 1996, Freshman All-American in 1995 and was named to the College World Series All Tournament Team in 1995. He was the first player in college baseball history to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in the same season. He set a Florida State record by batting .455 in 1997 while managing to become one of only three players in college baseball history to have 100 hits, 100 runs and 100 RBIs. During his college career, Drew broke 17 school and conference records. Prior to the 1997 Major League Baseball Draft, Drew's swing and all-around talent level had some scouts comparing him to all-time greats like Mickey Mantle and Stan Musial.

Professional career

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1997: Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies

Drew was the second overall pick in the 1997 Major League Baseball Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. Drew and his agent Scott Boras elected not to sign with the Phillies, sticking to their guarantee that they would not sign for less than $10 million. The Phillies had no plan to pay an unproven player this amount of money, and despite Boras' warnings, drafted Drew nonetheless. Consequently, Drew ended up playing for the St. Paul Saints of the independent Northern League.

1998-2003: St. Louis Cardinals

J.D. Drew (2002)

After playing for St. Paul in the 1997 season, Drew was selected fifth overall in 1998 by the St. Louis Cardinals. He signed a contract and blew through the minor leagues, hitting .316 through 26 games with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. He was called to the big club with the rest of the 40-man roster and made his debut on September 8, 1998, the night Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris's single-season home run record. His first at bat, in the 6th inning, ended in a strikeout, and he finished the night 0-for-2. He would heat up, however, going 15-for-36 (.417) during 1998 with five home runs.

On August 10, 1999, in Drew's first appearance at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, he was booed loudly, and even had "D" batteries thrown at him by two fans.[1] Drew struggled to stay healthy, landing on the disabled list every season he played in St. Louis.

Also, St. Louis manager Tony La Russa apparently had concerns about Drew's effort. In his book Three Nights in August, Buzz Bissinger mentions La Russa's frustration with Drew's lack of passion. La Russa tells Bissinger that it seems Drew has decided to "settle for 75%" of his talent, in large part because of his enormous contract.[2]

2004: Atlanta Braves

On December 13, 2003, Drew was traded to the Atlanta Braves along with catcher Eli Marrero for starting pitcher Jason Marquis, relief pitcher Ray King, and rookie prospect Adam Wainwright.[3] There, he had the best season of his career while finally managing to stay healthy. In 2004, he displayed excellent power, patience, and defense hitting .305 with 31 home runs, 118 walks, and 93 RBI, finishing 6th in the MVP voting.

2005-06: Los Angeles Dodgers

In December 2004, Drew signed a five-year, $55 million dollar contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers,[4] which included an escape clause after the second year. Roughly halfway through the 2005 season, Drew's season was again cut short after being hit on the wrist by a pitch from Arizona Diamondbacks' pitcher Brad Halsey.

On September 18, 2006, Drew was part of only the fourth ever set of back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs with fellow Dodgers Jeff Kent, Russell Martin, and Marlon Anderson.

In 2006, Drew exercised his contract option clause, forgoing $33 million over the next 3 years to become a free agent. The Dodgers' General Manager Ned Colletti said in a teleconference that he was "surprised how it came down. Everything we had heard, everything that had been written led us to believe the player loved being here."[5] This was especially a surprise since a few days before, Drew had told an LA Times columnist on how happy he was in LA and that he was looking forward to the upcoming 2007 season. Drew had an very good season, batting .284 with 20 home runs and 100 RBIs.

2007–present: Boston Red Sox

On January 25, 2007, Drew officially signed a five-year contract with the Red Sox worth $70 million. Drew's revised contract has a clause that allows the Red Sox to opt out of Drew's five-year contract after three or four years if Drew has extensive injuries due to a previously existing problem in his right shoulder.

For most of the 2007 season, Drew struggled offensively and spent time on the DL (due to a hamstring injury) as well as taking time off from the team to attend to his son's health. The value of his large salary was questioned due to his mediocre numbers and average defense, but results began to come late in the season, allowing him to bring some confidence into the post-season. During the early part of the season, Drew was again part of a set of four consecutive home runs on April 22, 2007, in a game against the New York Yankees, this time joining with Manny Ramírez, Mike Lowell, and Jason Varitek. He is the only player to participate twice in a string of four straight home runs, and, oddly enough, he was the second player to go deep in each instance. Drew finished the 2007 season with a .270 batting average, 11 home runs, and 64 RBI.[6]

On October 20, 2007, Drew hit a grand slam in Game 6 of the 2007 ALCS with the Red Sox facing elimination. The home run, along with brother Stephen Drew's for the Arizona Diamondbacks, marks the third time that two brothers have both hit home runs in the same postseason.

In 2008, Drew had a solid all around offensive year. He finished with a .280 average, with an OBP of .408 and a slugging percentage of .519.[7] At the end of June, Drew was named the AL Player of the Month after hitting .337 and hitting 12 home runs while taking over for David Ortiz's three-spot in the lineup while he was on the disabled list.[8] Drew was officially announced as an A.L. All-Star reserve on July 6. This was Drew's first All-Star game appearance. He hit a 2-run homer in his first at-bat as an All-Star and scored the winning run en route to winning the game's MVP award. In what was to become the longest All-Star Game time-wise in MLB history, the American League (and Drew's Red Sox) manager Terry Francona, having almost run out of pitchers, contemplated putting Drew, a former high school hurler, on the mound to close the game. "I'd have been ready," Drew said. "I've had an opportunity to throw a lot in the outfield. I don't know if I would have gotten anyone out, but I'd have thrown something up there."[9] Drew later visited the 15-day disabled list, spending from August 27 to September 8 on the DL with a strained lower back.

Drew made significant postseason contributions in 2008. On October 3, in Game 2 of the 2008 ALDS against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Drew hit a go-ahead two-run home run. On October 16, in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, Drew helped to bring the Red Sox back from a late-inning seven-run deficit with a two-run home run in the eighth inning and then delivered a walk-off hit in the ninth to complete one of the greatest postseason comebacks in Boston Red Sox history. However, the Red Sox lost to the Rays in the seventh game.

Public image

Throughout his career, Drew has often been criticized by fans and the media for his perceived lack of effort and toughness, and for not being worth the amount of money his salaries have commanded.[10][11]

The Boston Globe once praised him as "a five-tools player with an uncanny batting eye, a swing smoother than butter, and long, measured strides that eat up great chunks of real estate, whether running the bases or tracking down fly balls." [12]

In Game 5 of the 2008 ALCS (an elimination game for the Red Sox), Drew came up in the 8th inning with Boston trailing 7-4, and he belted a home run with a runner on to make it 7-6. He would later hit the game-winning walk-off ground-rule double in the bottom of the 9th, sealing Boston's record-setting 8-7 comeback victory. As a result, Drew has achieved a measure of redemption after earlier performances that had given him a reputation for not coming through in the clutch.[13]

Personal

Drew's younger brother, Tim, was also drafted in the first round in 1997, making them the first brothers drafted in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft in the same year. J.D., Tim, and their brother Stephen have all been on MLB rosters. Tim was last with the Atlanta Braves and Stephen is currently the Arizona Diamondbacks starting shortstop.

Drew married his wife, Sheigh, on November 10, 2001, in Hahira, Georgia. They have a son, Jack David, born on February 19, 2006, and a daughter, Ella, born on November 7, 2007. Drew identifies himself as a Christian,[14] and has made his religious views known several times.

He graduated from Lowndes High School and is a notable alumnus there, along with his brothers.

He is one of the only players in MLB to not have a walk-up song.

Drew received his nickname 'JD' because he goes by Jon, not David. Hence, Jon Drew or 'JD', even though the 'Drew' is redundant.

See also

References

  1. ^ CNN/SI - Baseball MLB - Phillies fans hurl insults, projectiles at Drew - Wednesday August 11, 1999 02:56 AM
  2. ^ Bissinger, Buzz, Three Nights in August: Houghton Mifflin, 2005, pg. 32
  3. ^ Waggoner, Jim (2009-01-29). "Marquis looking ahead to baseball season with Colorado Rockies". Staten Island Advance. http://www.silive.com/sports/index.ssf/2009/01/marquis_looking_ahead_to_seaso.html. Retrieved 2009-08-19.  
  4. ^ "Dodgers move quickly after killing Unit deal". ESPN.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=1951346. Retrieved 2008-08-28.  
  5. ^ Nadel, John (2006-11-09). "Dodgers' J.D. Drew Opts for Free Agency". Associated Press. http://www.forbes.com/business/feeds/ap/2006/11/09/ap3161812.html. Retrieved 2006-11-10.  
  6. ^ ESPN - J.D. Drew Stats, News, Photos - Boston Red Sox - MLB Baseball
  7. ^ J.D. Drew Stats, Bio, Photos, Highlights | redsox.com: Team
  8. ^ Drew named AL player of month for June - Extra Bases - Red Sox blog
  9. ^ =http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2008/07/16/the_longest_goodbye/?p1
  10. ^ Simmons. "Exactly how the Sox Drew It Up". http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/071023.  
  11. ^ "The 14 Million Dollar Swing". http://bats.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/20/the-14-million-swing/.  
  12. ^ Edes, Gordon, "Drew swings into action for Red Sox.": http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2008/06/04/drew_swings_into_action_for_red_sox/
  13. ^ http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/baseball/red_sox/view.bg?articleid=1126141&srvc=sports&position=recent
  14. ^ Jeff Pearlman, "The Passion of J.D. Drew" Sports Illustrated: March 22, 2004. Accessible online at http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1031447/index.htm

External links


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