After barely receiving enough votes to remain on the ballot last year, Nomar Garciaparra fell from 5.5 percent to 1.8. This means that the former Red Sox shortstop is among the 13 players that failed to earn enough votes to remain eligible for next year. Of those 13 players, 7 of them did not receive any votes, including Red Sox postseason hero Mike Lowell.
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Given how his injury-plagued career came to an end, it’s often overlooked how great “Nomah” was to start his career. The 1997 Rookie of the Year splashed onto the scene with a league-leading 209 hits while producing a .306 average, 30 home runs and 98 RBI en route to an All-Star appearance and 8th place finish in the MVP race during his first full year in the big leagues.
He would go on to hit .323/.370/.553 over parts of 9 seasons in Boston. The 41.2 WAR that he produced in a Red Sox uniform remains the highest in franchise history among shortstops.
Garciaparra’s sour exit from Boston mid-way through the 2004 season soiled an otherwise extraordinary stint with the Red Sox, as the image of him sulking in the dugout in the days leading up to the trade deadline will unfortunately stick in the memories of many fans. The fact that his departure paved the way for the arrival of Orlando Cabrera, whose energy proved to be a key component in boosting the Red Sox to their first World Series title in 86 years, certainly doesn’t help Garciaparra’s case.
Looking back at his early years with the Red Sox it’s clear that Nomar was on a Hall of Fame caliber pace, regardless of how it ended for him in Boston. All has been forgiven, as Garciaparra was welcomed back by the organization when they inducted him into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2014.
Unfortunately his production tailed off after he left Boston as he dealt with a variety of injuries that limited him to an average of 85 games over the final five years of his career. It leaves us to wonder how great he could have been if he had only been able to stay healthy, but all that missed time resulted in his final numbers falling short of Hall of Fame worthy.