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Anthony Nomar Garciaparra (born July 23, 1973, in Whittier, California) is a baseball player. On December 18th, 2005, he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for a reported one-year contract with a base salary of $6 million, which could earn him up to $8 million in incentives, to play first base. Before signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Nomar most recently played shortstop for the Chicago Cubs, after being traded from the Boston Red Sox at the 2004 trading deadline.
Garciaparra was part of the so-called "Holy Trinity" of shortstops that debuted in the mid '90s, which also included Alex Rodriguez (now a third baseman), Miguel Tejada and Derek Jeter, who were considered the best shortstops in baseball.
Red Sox years
Garciaparra, whose middle name is the reverse of his father's name "Ramon", was a first round pick of the Red Sox in 1994 following a successful career at Georgia Tech. At the time, Boston's starting shortstop was John Valentin, who finished ninth in MVP voting in 1995. Garciaparra's talent was enough to displace Valentin, who was moved to second base (then third base) to make room for young Garciaparra, who batted .241 with 4 home runs, 16 RBI, and 5 stolen bases in his first time up with the club, near the end of 1996. It was a tune up for his official rookie year in 1997, in which he hit 30 home runs, batted 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 eighth in MVP voting. He also won the nearly-immediate admiration of Red Sox fans, who referred to him in Boston accents as "Nomahh". With his hard work and attitude, his popularity easily stretched well beyond Red Sox Nation.
Garciaparra improved on his rookie year in his following three seasons, furthering his status as a fan favorite. He finished with 35 home runs and 122 RBI in 1998, good enough for second in MVP voting. Garciaparra led the American League in batting average for the next two years, batting .357 in 1999 and .372 in 2000, finishing in the top ten in MVP voting both years. He is one of the few right-handed batters to win consecutive batting titles.
In 2001, Garciaparra suffered a serious wrist injury, which essentially aborted his season. He recovered well enough in 2002 and batted in 120 runs while hitting a league-leading 56 doubles. However, the toll of injuries left him unable to perform at the high level of years past.
With the Chicago Cubs
On July 31, 2004, at the MLB trading deadline, he was traded from the Red Sox to the Chicago Cubs in a four way deal, in which the Red Sox acquired Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz. He expressed his appreciation to Red Sox Nation in a speech to media and left for the Windy City.
In 2005, he received a World Series ring from the Boston Red Sox, even though he was playing for the Cubs. The Red Sox felt that any player who played at least one game in the 2004 season deserved a ring.
In the 2005 season, a torn left groin forced him onto the disabled list for more than three months. Garciaparra resumed play on August 5, 2005. Because Cubs regular third baseman Aramis Ramirez was on the disabled list for the last few weeks of the 2005 season, he temporarily played third base. Aside from his first game in the majors, in which he played second base, he had played shortstop in all of his other major-league games up to that point in his career. There has been some speculation on him moving to the outfield for the 2006 season; he has said he intends to do whatever he can to help his team.
On October 8, 2005, Garciaparra and his uncle Victor Garciaparra were alerted to the screams of two women who had fallen into Boston Harbor outside his condominium. One of the women sustained injuries to her head after hitting the pier on her way in. Nomar Garciaparra quickly jumped into the harbor and saved both women, who were later taken to the hospital. (Sources: )
Style of play
When making defensive plays, Garciaparra throws from a sidearm motion. 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.
Garciaparra is also known for his idiosyncratic tics when batting—which includes an elaborate routine of glove adjustments and alternating toe taps prior to an ensuing pitch.
- Selected by Milwaukee Brewers in the 5th round of the free-agent draft - did not sign (June 3, 1991).
- Selected by Boston Red Sox in the 1st round (12th pick overall) of the free-agent draft (June 2, 1994 - signed July 20, 1994).
- Traded by Boston Red Sox with Matt Murton to Chicago Cubs as part of 4-team trade in which Chicago Cubs sent Brendan Harris, Alex Gonzalez and Francis Beltran to Montreal Expos; Montreal Expos sent Orlando Cabrera to Boston Red Sox; Minnesota Twins sent Doug Mientkiewicz to Boston Red Sox; and Chicago Cubs sent Justin Jones to Minnesota Twins (July 31, 2004).
- Granted free agency (October 29, 2004).
- Signed by Chicago Cubs (December 7, 2004).
- Granted free agency (October 28, 2005).
- Signed by Los Angeles Dodgers (December 19, 2005).
- Granted free agency (October 30, 2006).
- Signed by Los Angeles Dodgers (November 20, 2006).
- Garciaparra wears the number 5, although for his first game as a Cub he wore the number 8 because catcher Michael Barrett already wore the number 5 on his jersey. He and Barrett then swapped numbers.
- He is a five-time All-Star (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, and 2003).
- In five postseason series, he has batted .323 with a slugging percentage of .625.
- Garciaparra holds the unofficial record for most home runs and highest batting average on a player's birthday.
- On November 22, 2003, he married soccer legend Mia Hamm.
- The couple have twin girls, Grace Isabella and Ava Caroline, who were born on March 28, 2007 in Los Angeles.
- He graduated from St. John Bosco High School]] in Bellflower, California in 1991.
- Garciaparra is the cousin of Arturo Javier Ledesma, a Mexican soccer player who currently plays for Club Deportivo Guadalajara. His uncle is legendary Mexican soccer goalkeeper, Javier "Zully" Ledesma. His brother, Michael Garciaparra, is a baseball player, playing second base for the Double-A Reading Phillies.
- Garciaparra uses the song "Low Rider" by War as his entrance music when he comes up to bat.
Garciaparra is known for his idiosyncratic tics when batting. This habit includes an elaborate routine of glove adjustments and alternating toe taps on the ground prior to an ensuing pitch.
- His unique name comes from his father's name, Ramon, spelled backwards. Derisive names for Garciaparra used by hecklers include "Nosemar," "Mr. Hamm," "Garciapopup," "Garciaerror," and "No Mas", meaning "No More" in Spanish. Several callers and hosts on WEEI affectionately referred to him as "Nomie" when talking about him on the air.
- On the Kate Hudson/Radiohead episode on season 26 of Saturday Night Live, Garciaparra cameoed in a "Boston Teens" sketch.
- On October 8, 2005, Garciaparra and his uncle Victor Garciaparra were alerted to the screams of two women who had fallen into Boston Harbor outside his condominium. One of the women sustained injuries to her head after hitting the pier on her way in. Garciaparra quickly jumped into the harbor and saved both women, who were later taken to the hospital.