Given that his career fell off quickly due to injuries, it’s easy to forget just how dominant Nomar Garciaparra was when he burst into the majors with the Red Sox in August 1996.
Garciaparra’s first full season earned him Rookie of the Year honors, as he led the American League in hits and triples, and he was second in the MVP voting in 1998 after hitting .323/.362/.946 with 35 homers and 122 RBI.
He won back-to-back batting titles in 1999 and 2000, hitting .357 and .372, respectively, and he topped the AL with 56 doubles in 2002, a year after playing in just 21 games after surgery to repair damage in his right wrist.
Garciaparra was still good after the injury, but not the same player, and in July 2004 the Red Sox traded the fading star along with Matt Murton to the Chicago Cubs in a four-team extravaganza that brought Boston Doug Mientkiewicz from the Minnesota Twins and Orlando Cabrera from the Montreal Expos.
In parts of nine seasons with the Red Sox, Garciaparra hit .323/.370/.9232, an OPS+ of 133, with 178 homers, 690 RBI and 709 runs. He was a five-time All-Star as well.
In three postseasons with Boston, he hit .323/.391/1.016 with seven homers and 21 RBI to go with 16 runs scored in 25 games. He clubbed three homers with 11 RBI in Boston’s four-game loss to the Cleveland Indians in the 1998 ALDS.
He finished his career out with the Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics before retiring after the 2009 season, picking up one more All-Star nod as a first baseman for the Dodgers in 2006.
Married to U.S. women’s soccer legend Mia Hamm since 2003, Garciaparra has worked in television since his playing days ended.