Aurilia with the Giants in July 2007
September 2, 1971 |
Brooklyn, New York
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|September 6, 1995 for the San Francisco Giants|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 4, 2009 for the San Francisco Giants|
|Runs batted in||756|
|Career highlights and awards|
The 24th round pick of the Texas Rangers in the 1992 Major League Baseball Draft, Aurilia worked in the Rangers minor league system before being traded with first baseman Desi Wilson to the San Francisco Giants for pitcher John Burkett in 1994.
High school and college
Aurilia is also a graduate of Xaverian High School in Brooklyn, New York and University of Texas. He was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame, and his number 22 was retired by local baseball league, Our Lady of Grace.
Major league career
Aurilia made his major league debut on September 6, 1995 as a defensive replacement in a game against the Montréal Expos. This would begin his long, solid run as the Giants shortstop. On June 14, 1997, during his first stint with the Giants, Aurilia hit the first-ever grand slam in interleague play at the expense of the Anaheim Angels' Allen Watson, a former teammate. The Giants went on to win the game 10–3. 2001 would prove to be a banner year for Aurilia as he collected a National League best 206 hits, all leading to a .324 batting average with 37 home runs, 97 RBI, an NL All-Star nod, and a Silver Slugger Award. However, his career best 37 home run year in 2001 was overshadowed by Barry Bonds' record breaking 73 home runs in the same season.
From 1999 to 2001, he led NL shortstops in home runs. Production trailed off in 2002, but Aurilia shined once again in San Francisco's failed 2002 run for a World Series Championship. In 14 postseason games that season, he batted .296, with 5 homers and 14 RBI (an NL record for a shortstop in the postseason). He also was a Roberto Clemente Award nominee.
After more offensive stagnation in 2003, the Giants severed their nine-year relation with the shortstop, granting him free agency on October 27. Soon after, Aurilia signed on with the Seattle Mariners to patrol the M's infield. The lifetime National Leaguer could not get a grip on American League pitching, and was dealt to the San Diego Padres. He continued to struggle in spacious PETCO Park, and was not tendered a contract for 2005.
Needing a veteran infielder, the Reds signed Aurilia to a minor league contract, on January 22, 2005. The versatile infielder played well for the Reds collecting 14 home runs and 68 RBI as Cincinnati's shortstop, second baseman, and third baseman. The Reds then re-signed him on January 8, 2006.
Aurilia served as an everyday player spending time rotating between shortstop, second base, first base and third base for the Reds in 2006. He finished the year with 23 home runs, 70 RBI, and a batting average of exactly .300—his highest in all three categories since 2001.
In the 2006 offseason, Aurilia signed a two-year, $8 million contract with his old team, the Giants. During the 2007 season, he appeared in 99 games (mostly at first base), starting in 81 of them. Aurilia was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a neck injury that had been slow to heal, limiting his range of movement and causing headaches. At the time, he was batting only .236 with two home runs. Aurilia returned to the Giants' lineup on July 4, hitting a home run in a 9–5 win over the Cincinnati Reds. He finished the season batting .252 with five home runs, 33 RBI, and a .304 on-base percentage. Aurilia posted better numbers in each of those categories during the 2008 season, where he remained generally healthy throughout the year, one factor that led him to have considerably more playing time (99 games started).
On February 9, 2009, Aurilia re-signed with the San Francisco Giants to a minor league deal. It was announced on April 4 that Aurilia had made the Giants final roster. He went on to appear in 60 games during the 2009 season, starting in 22 of them, playing either first or third base. There was considerable uncertainty as to whether or not Aurilia would stay with the team for the entire season, but he was placed on the DL twice in order to free up a roster spot long enough for the September roster expansion. Knowing that the organization would not be bringing him back for the 2010 season, Aurilia played his final game as a Giant on October 1 at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks, receiving standing ovations from the home fans in appreciation for 15 years with the team.
Aurilia announced his retirement on April 11, 2010. He is currently a member of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
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