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Nomar Garciaparra

From Academic Kids

Anthony Nomar Garciaparra (born July 23, 1973, in Whittier, California) is one of the premier shortstops in major league baseball. Currently plays shortstop for the Chicago Cubs after being traded from the Boston Red Sox at the 2004 trading deadline.

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Nomar Garciaparra, hitting with his new club the Chicago Cubs

Through the 2004 season, in 1009 games he has hit (.322/.370/.549/.919) (BA/OBP/SLG/OPS), with 182 HRs and 710 RBI.

Nomar, whose name is the reverse of his father's name "Ramon", was a first-round pick of the Boston Red Sox in 1994 following a successful career at Georgia Tech. At the time, Boston had a talented shortstop patrolling the position in John Valentin, who finished 9th in MVP voting in 1995. Nomar's talent was just too good for the Sox to pass up, and Valentin was moved to third base to make room for Nomar, who showed good power in his first tryout with the club, near the end of 1996. It was a tune-up for an outstanding rookie year in 1997, where he hit 30 HRs, drove in 98 runs, led the league in hits and was second in extra-base hits. He was named Rookie of the Year in a unanimous vote, and finished 8th in MVP voting. He also won the immediate admiration of Red Sox fans. With his hard work and attitude, not to mention his catchy name, his popularity has easily stretched well beyond "Red Sox Nation."

To the amazement of many, Nomar improved on his terrific rookie year in his following three seasons, furthering his status as a fan favorite. He hit 35 HRs and 122 RBIs in 1998 and finished second in MVP voting. In 1999 and 2000 Nomar led the American League in batting average, batting .357 and .372, finishing in the top ten in MVP voting both times. He is one of the few right-handed batters to win consecutive batting titles.

Unfortunately, in 2001, Nomar suffered a bad wrist injury, which essentially aborted his season. He recovered well enough in 2002 and drove in 120 runs while hitting a league-high 56 doubles.

Garciaparra has a very distinctive and unusual side-arm throwing motion when making defensive plays. This motion is often coupled with a seemingly off-balance running stride, which looks inefficient and even injury-prone, but which produces a throw with surprising accuracy and high velocity.

Nomar is part of the so-called "Holy Trinity" of shortstops that debuted in the mid '90s, which includes superstars Alex Rodriguez (now a 3rd baseman) and Derek Jeter, who are considered the best shortstops in baseball.

Nomar holds the un-official record for most home runs and highest batting average on a player's birthday. Alex Rodriguez has the second most home runs on his birthday.

Nomar wears the number 5. On November 22, 2003, he married soccer legend Mia Hamm.

On July 31, 2004, at the MLB trading deadline, he was traded from the Red Sox (where many projected he would spend his entire career) to the Chicago Cubs in a four-way deal, in which the Red Sox acquired Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz. He expressed his infinite appreciation to "Red Sox Nation" in a speech to media and left for the Windy City.

In the 2005 season, a torn left groin forced him to go on the disabled list. According to CBS SportsLine (http://cbs.sportsline.com/mlb/injuries), he is not expected to return until at least July.

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