Doug Mientkiewicz (Douglas Andrew Mientkiewicz) was born on June 19, 1974 in Toledo, Ohio. He made his Major League debut on September 18, 1998 for the Minnesota Twins. In 1999, his rookie year, he hit .229 with 2 home runs and 32 RBI. Mientkiewicz played for the Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and Kansas City Royals over the course of his 9 year career.
Most people believe that Doug Mientkiewicz's best season was 2001, when he slugged 15 home runs, hit for a .306 average and knocked in 74 runs.
High school career
At Westminster Christian High School in Miami, Florida, Doug Mientkiewitcz was a three-sport standout in baseball, basketball, and football. There, he often played alongside classmate Alex Rodriguez, the current starting third baseman for the New York Yankees and the highest-payed player in baseball. As a senior, he was an All-State pick in both baseball and football.
Mientkiewicz attended the Florida State University where he played for coach Mike Martin's Seminoles. He ended his career at FSU after his Junior year in 1995 ranked 10th in the NCAA in RBI and ninth in the Atlantic Coast Conference in batting average. He led his FSU team in batting average for three straight seasons and was selected to the College World Series All-Decade team for the 1990s.
Mientkiewicz is a notorious line-drive hitter and hits well against both lefties and righties. He has a nice, short stroke with gap power (though no home run hitter) and tremendous discipline at the plate, coupled with good knowledge of the strike zone. For his career he has a good 0.951 walk-to-strikeout ratio (310-to-326). Though not a base-stealing threat, Mientkiewicz will get every extra base he can.
Although he batted .300 for two years with the Minnesota Twins, Mientkiewicz has not produced at the plate at that level in recent years. Defense is still the best part of Mientkiewicz's game. He has a great glove with soft hands, great mobility, good range and a strong arm. Also, Mientkiewicz is excellent at scooping balls in the dirt, tagging down on a high throw and extending himself to make the play. He won the Gold Glove Award in 2001 with the Minnesota Twins.
The 2004 World Series ball controversy
Mientkiewicz recorded the final out of the 2004 World Series, ending Boston's 86-year championship drought. The Red Sox led 3-0 in Game 4 in St.Louis when Mientkiewicz entered in the bottom of the seventh inning as a substitute in first base. Mientkiewicz didn't handle the ball until there were two outs in the ninth. St. Louis shortstop Edgar Rentería grounded back to pitcher Keith Foulke, who trotted toward first base and underhanded the ball to Mientkiewicz. As the ball that symbolically ended the Curse of the Bambino, the item would be of considerable interest to memorabilia collectors. Controversy resulted when Mientkiewicz kept the ball and the Red Sox later asked for its return. A spokesperson for Major League Baseball indicated that the ball belonged to Mientkiewicz, but the Red Sox contended that it belonged to them, as they wanted to have it for archive or museum use. In an announcement made with the Red Sox in January 2005, Mientkiewicz said the ball will now accompany the World Series trophy as it makes its way through the cities, towns, and other assorted places of New England during its yearlong tour. The ball will be displayed as part of a special plaque. On 23 April 2006 it was announced that he had reached an agreement with the Red Sox and the ball would go to the hall of fame. Red Sox claim on the ball was questionable as the game was not played on Fenway Park and based on precedent Mientkiewicz could have claimed it. .
Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko recorded the final out of the 2005 World Series in similar fashion. His handling of the ball was less controversial than Mientkiewicz, as he very publicly turned the ball over to club chairman Jerry Reinsdorf during the team's victory celebration. During the off-season, Konerko was re-signed to a large contract.
Mientkiewicz had a career-high 20 Win Shares in 2003, when he hit .300/.393/.450 with the Minnesota Twins, but his very best year came for the Twins in 2001, when he posted a .306/.387/.464 line and won a well-deserved Gold Glove (+11 FRAA).
- Selected by Minnesota Twins in the 5th round of the free-agent draft (June 1, 1995 - signed July 8, 1995).
- Traded by Minnesota Twins to Boston Red Sox as part of 4-team trade in which Boston Red Sox sent Nomar Garciaparra and Matt Murton to the Chicago Cubs; Chicago Cubs sent Brendan Harris, Alex Gonzalez, and Francis Beltran to the Montreal Expos; Montreal Expos sent Orlando Cabrera to Boston Red Sox; and Chicago Cubs sent Justin Jones to Minnesota Twins (July 31, 2004).
- Traded by Boston Red Sox with cash to New York Mets in exchange for Ian Bladergroen (January 27, 2005).
- Granted free agency (November 1, 2005).
- Signed by Kansas City Royals (December 16, 2005).
- Granted free agency (October 31, 2006).
- Signed as a Free Agent with the New York Yankees (January 5, 2007)
- Signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to spring training with the Pittsburgh Pirates (February 11, 2008).
- His nickname is Eye Chart alluding to the difficulty of the spelling of his last name.
- Mientkiewicz was on the U.S. Olympic team when they won the gold medal at the 2000 games in Sydney, hitting the game-winning home-run against South Korea in the semi-finals.