Garciaparra, Anthony Nomar: 1973—: Baseball Shortstop

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Anthony Nomar Garciaparra: 1973: Baseball shortstop

Called "one of baseball's best ambassadors" by Baseball Digest, Anthony Nomar Garcia-parra has made quite a name for himself as a shortstop on the Boston Red Sox baseball team. During his 1997 rookie season, he set several major league, American league, and Red Sox rookie records. Baseball Weekly called it "the greatest rookie season in history." Garciaparra continued to impress with each season.

Garciaparra was born July 23, 1973, in Whittier, California. He was the oldest of the four children of Ramon and Sylvia Garciaparra. Garciaparra actually got his unique middle name from his father, who wanted to name his son something that incorporated all the letters of his own name but was not the same. When he was young Garciaparra played T-ball, and he was dubbed by one of the other parents "No Nonsense Nomar" because unlike the other children he was usually very serious about the game. Several people have asked him about his childhood heroes that inspired him to become a baseball player, but Garcia-parra told Baseball Digest, "I never modeled myself after anyone as a kid. I never had a hero. I didn't like watching it; I liked playing it. I learned to play every single position in baseball. My inspiration was the game itself, not any individual player in it."

In high school at St. John Bosco, Garciaparra played baseball, soccer, and football, but it was baseball that was always his first love. His high school team was League Champ in 1990-1991, he was league MVP in 1991, and they were the Youth League World Series Champs in 1989. He had several offers after high school, including one from the Milwaukee Brewers, but in the end Garciaparra decided to go to college at Georgia Tech University, where he had been offered a spot on the baseball team. While there he majored in management. In 1992 Garcia-parra earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic baseball team. He spent a lot of time there watching other shortstops and learning from their examples. Back at Georgia Tech, Garciaparra helped lead his baseball team, the Yellow Jackets, to the College World Series for the first time in that school's history. He earned all-tournament honors that year. He ended his career at Georgia Tech with a .372 career batting average, 58 doubles, 14 triples, 23 home runs, and 166 RBIs.

At a Glance . . .

Born on July 23, 1973, in Whittier, CA. Education: Attended Georgia Tech University.

Career: Boston Red Sox, shortstop, 1997.

Awards: Olympic Baseball Team player, 1992; American League Rookie of the Year, 1997.

Address: Team c/o Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park, 4 Yawkey Way, Boston, MA 02215.

Began Career with Boston

The Boston Red Sox picked Garciaparra for their team in 1994, and he quickly moved his way up through the organization. In 1996 he started out with a terrific season with the Class AAA Pawtucket team, Boston's minor league team, and then was called up in September to join the major leagues. His first major league hit was a home run. "I've been around some good young shortstops and Nomar is quite a talent, He's going to be really good," Red Sox manager Jim Williams told Atlanta Journal and Constitution.

The 1997 season, even before his first home run, started with a little surprise, because established shortstop John Valentin was moved to second base to make room for Garciaparra. The resulting situation was a little tense for a while, but he proved himself admirably, even being chosen for the American League All-Star Team in his first year. Garciaparra told Baseball Digest that Valentin was "one guy who's taught me so much about my game, about my positionbeing a former shortstop himself. There is just one word to describe him: class. A complete class guy. He's always been that way to me and he's just taught me so much." At the Americn League All-Star game, Garciaparra won the rookie home run contest that is held every year before the game. He ended his first season with a batting average of .306, with 30 home runs and 98 RBIs. His RBIs set a record for a lead off hitter and the American League rookie record, and his home runs were the highest ever for a rookie shortstop. He was voted unanimously to be the American League Rookie of the Year. According to the All Sports web site, "There was never any doubt. Nomar Garciaparra was indeed the best rookie in the game during the 1997 season. This rookie phenom started out strong and never looked back." His second season was stopped suddenly when his shoulder was separated and he missed 17 games. When he returned he was moved to the clean up spot where he batted a .323, with 35 home runs and 122 RBIs.

Garciaparra started the 2001 season with tendinitis in his right wrist, and had to have surgery to repair it. He was forced to sit out of all but 21 games in that season. When he returned after missing four months, he hit a home run in his first game and received one of the wildest standing ovations any Red Sox player has been given in recent years. This showed what everyone had already suspected: he had already become a Red Sox favorite. And the feelings were mutual. "[T]he Red Sox and the fans are not just my business, they're my passion, and I just hope that whoever buys them appreciates what the Red Sox are," he told regarding the fact that Red Sox ownership was up for bid in 2001. "This is not just a team, or a sport franchise. The Red Sox are a way of life, the lifestyle of an entire region. There isn't another place where baseball matters the way it does in Boston and throughout New England."

According to the Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, Garciaparra made history in July of 2002 when he was the first player in major-league history to hit three home runs in back-to-back innings. He also hit a grand slam. All this was done on his birthday.

Garciaparra is involved in more than just playing baseball. In 2001 he teamed up with Dunkin' Donuts to run a program called Dunkin Dugout. He also participated in "Sox Talks" for youth, helping run camps for children who were interested in playing and watching baseball. In 2002 Garciaparra, along with fellow shortstop Derek Jeter, was signed by Fleet to do commercials. And on the philanthropy front, he was involved with the Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Jimmy Fund. He also established the "Nomar 5 Foundation "to provide children with access to sports through his affiliation with Dunkin Donuts. He continued to host baseball camps and clinics through the Hot Dog Training Center, which awarded five scholarships a year to help children attend the camps and clinics.

Remained Humble

With all this success and prestige coming upon him, it would be easy to believe that it was all going to Garciaparra's head. But everyone who has interviewed the young shortstop has said that he is well grounded. According to Sports Illustrated, Garciaparra "of the Boston Red Sox catches grounders with two hands, is as comfortable hitting balls behind runners as he is hitting them out of the park, refuses to talk about his gaudy statistics, curls the brim of his cap like a Little Leaguer and, in the rare instances when he thinks his ego might be sprouting like a weed from a sidewalk crack, calls his mother, Sylvia, and humbly groans, 'Mom, I need to come home and take out the trash.'" As of 2003, he lived in Boston. Despite all his success Garciaparra continues to aim for a World Series win. And it is to be hoped that someone as passionate about the game as Nomar Garciaparra will have his wish come true.



Sports Stars, Series 5, UXL, 1999.


American Banker, May 17, 2002, p. 3.

Baseball Digest, June, 2000, p. 22.

Baseball Weekly, July 10, 1997; November 5, 1997.

Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, July 23, 2002, p. K2016.

People Weekly, August 19, 2002, p. 58.

Sport, September 1998, p. 88; June 2000, p. 36.

Sporting News, June 30, 1997, p. 38.

Sports Illustrated, August 26, 1996, p. 120; May 19, 1997, p. 92; September 1, 1997, p. 28; August 24, 1998, p. 52; March 5, 2001, p. 28.


"Garciaparra Wins Rookie of the Year Award," All Sports, (March 31, 2003).

"Nomar Garciaparra," Boston Red Sox Team, (March 31, 2003).

"Nomar Garciaparra,", (March 31, 2003).

"Nomar: Sox Need Owner Who Cares,", (March 31, 2003).

Catherine Victoria Donaldson

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Garciaparra, Anthony Nomar: 1973—: Baseball Shortstop

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