Karim García

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Karim Garcia
Tigres de Quintana Roo – No. 95
Outfielder
Born: (1975-10-29) October 29, 1975 (age 38)
Ciudad Obregón, Mexico
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
September 2, 1995 for the Los Angeles Dodgers
Last MLB appearance
August 24, 2004 for the Baltimore Orioles
Career statistics
Batting average .241
Home runs 66
Runs batted in 212
Teams
Karim García
Medal record
Competitor for  Mexico
Men's baseball
Pan American Games
Bronze 2007 Rio de Janeiro Team

Gustavo Karim García Aguayo (born October 29, 1975) is an outfielder with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League and Yaquis de Obregón in the Mexican Pacific League. García bats and throws left-handed, and has been nicknamed "The Latino Bambino."[1]

Early years[edit]

Born in Ciudad Obregón, Mexico, García signed as an amateur free agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1992 at just sixteen years old. After batting .319 with twenty home runs and 91 runs batted in for the Albuquerque Dukes in 1995, he became the youngest player in Major League Baseball when he debuted with the Dodgers that September. He also received major league calls in 1996 and 1997, but spent most of tenure with the Dodgers as a minor leaguer. In five seasons in their farm system, he compiled a .281 batting average, 98 home runs and 375 RBIs. His first career home run came off of Osvaldo Fernandez at Candlestick Park in 1997.

D-backs inaugural season opening day right fielder[edit]

On November 18, 1997, the Arizona Diamondbacks selected García as the ninth overall pick in the 1997 Major League Baseball expansion draft. He earned a spot on the D-Backs' inaugural season opening day line-up, hitting the second home run in franchise history in the ninth inning of their 9-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies.[2] Following just one season in Arizona, García was traded to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Luis Gonzalez and cash.

Cleveland Indians[edit]

On May 28, 1999, Garcia became the 34th player in the history of Major League Baseball to hit a home run over the Tiger Stadium roof in right field,[3] however, he lasted just one full season in Detroit. In June 2000, he was sent to the Baltimore Orioles as part of a conditional deal, but was released by Baltimore after one season with the triple A Rochester Red Wings. He signed with the Cleveland Indians for the 2001 season, and clubbed 31 home runs for the triple A Buffalo Bisons. He joined the Indians that September, and batted .311 with five home runs in just 45 at-bats.

The Indians released García during Spring training 2002. He joined the New York Yankees shortly afterwards only to be released by the Yankees that July and rejoin the Indians. In 51 games for the Tribe, García managed to put up his most impressive stats to date: sixteen home runs, 52 RBIs and a .299 batting average.

García's 2002 performance earned him a job as Cleveland's 2003 opening day right fielder, however, a .194 batting average and sloppy play in the outfield caused him to lose his starting job to Jody Gerut by the beginning of May. Shortly afterwards, his contract was purchased by the Yankees.

New York Yankees[edit]

García's numbers improved dramatically upon joining the Yankees, as he batted .305 in 52 games. He also displayed a far steadier glove, committing just two errors the rest of the way.

He is likely best remembered for two incidents in the 2003 American League Championship Series at Fenway Park against the rival Boston Red Sox. Following a Hideki Matsui double that gave the Yankees a 4-2 lead in game three, García was plunked with a Pedro Martinez pitch thrown behind his head.[4] A verbal altercation with Martinez caused benches to empty, and interrupted play. Shortly afterwards, Martinez famously told Peter Gammons during an interview on ESPN:[5]

Karim García, who's Karim García? I have no respect for that guy. I don't have anything to prove to that guy. He needs to be forcing himself to come up to where I am, to my level. When you talk about Jeter, Bernie Williams, Paul O'Neill, guys like that that you really tip your hat, that you can understand. But guys like Karim García, what? So what? Who are you? Who are you Karim García to try to test Pedro Martinez, a proven player for ten years? That's what I don't understand. Why would I hit Karim García?

Later in the same game, García jumped into the bullpen to assist Yankees teammate Jeff Nelson in a fight with a groundskeeper. Martinez later referenced his famous quote during the Fenway Park centennial ceremonies, speaking on the microphone to fans before a game against the Yankees in 2012.

New York Mets[edit]

In 2004, García moved crosstown to the New York Mets. His brief tenure with the Mets included him and teammate Shane Spencer becoming involved in a parking lot encounter with a pizza deliveryman, but no charges were filed.[6] In July, the Mets sent him to the Baltimore Orioles for pitcher Mike DeJean. The Orioles released him in August with a .212 batting average.

Journeyman[edit]

García spent the 2005 and 2006 seasons with the Orix Buffaloes of the Nippon Professional Baseball League, batting a combined .281 with 44 homers and 97 RBIs. Thanks to the advice of Hideki Matsui, he became more patient than before, adapting to his new environment in Japan. On August 10-August 11, 2005, García hit three home runs in two consecutive games against the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, becoming the only player in Japanese baseball history to accomplish that.

On January 8, 2007, García signed a minor league deal with the Philadelphia Phillies,[7] however, was released during Spring training.[8] He ended up joining the Sultanes de Monterrey of the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol for the 2007 season, and batted .374 with twenty home runs to lead his team to a national championship.

García signed with the Lotte Giants of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) for the 2008 season. He played right field, batted fifth, and was one of the crowd favorites in Busan, posting a .283 batting average with thirty home runs and led the league with 111 RBIs in 125 games played. After the season, García won the KBO Golden Glove Awards as an outfielder.[9]

In 2011 he returned to the Sultanes de Monterrey in Mexico for a second season in this team. In June 2011, García came back again in South Korea to sign Hanwha Eagles of the KBO. He played for the team until the end of the season.

In 2012, he played for the Sultanes de Monterrey of the Mexican Summer League and the Naranjeros de Hermosillo of the Mexican Pacific League.

In a ten-season major league career, García posted a .241 batting average with 66 home runs and 212 RBIs in 488 games played.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=garcika01
  2. ^ "Colorado Rockies 9, Arizona Diamondbacks 2". Baseball-Reference.com. March 31, 1998. 
  3. ^ The Final Season, p.85, Tom Stanton, Thomas Dunne Books, An imprint of St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY, 2001, ISBN 0-312-29156-6
  4. ^ "2003 American League Championship Series, Game Three". Baseball-Reference.com. October 11, 2003. 
  5. ^ Dan Shaughnessy, "Speaking his piece on a number of subjects", Boston Globe, March 19, 2004.
  6. ^ "Mets' Garcia, Spencer avoid charges: Players were accused of assaulting pizza-delivery man", AP at MSNBC.com, March 11, 2004.
  7. ^ Troy E. Renck (January 8, 2007). "Karim García chooses Phillies". Denver Post. 
  8. ^ Ken Mandel (March 28, 2007). "Phillies Release García". MLB.com. 
  9. ^ "Former Major Leaguer Karim García Re-Signs With Lotte Giants". The Korea Times. November 17, 2008. 

External links[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Ismael Valdez
1994
Youngest Player in the
National League

1995
Succeeded by
Andruw Jones
1996