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Gary Matthews (matthga02)

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Gary Nathaniel Matthews Jr. (Little Sarge)

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[edit] Biographical Information

[edit] Introduction

Gary Matthews Jr. played twelve years in the majors and eleven in the minors. In his best major league year, 2006, he hit .313 with 44 doubles.

[edit] Minor League Beginnings

Gary was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 13th round of the 1993 amateur draft. Gary debuted with the 1994 Spokane Indians, hitting .209/.286/.251 and being caught in 5 of 8 steal attempts. In 191 AB, he failed to homer and struck out 58 times. San Diego gave him another shot with the 1995 Clinton Lumber Kings and he hit .238/~.343/.314 there.

In 1996, the 21-year-old outfielder began to hit, putting up a .271/~.359/.418 line for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. His 11 triples were shy of California League leader Shane Monahan. Matthews split 1997 between Rancho Cucamonga (.302/~.410/.478) and the AA Mobile BayBears (.244/~.352/.378).

At age 23, Gary returned to Mobile. He batted .307/~.430/.480 and stole 11 bases in 12 tries. In AAA in 1999, Matthews hit .256/~.346/.386 with the Las Vegas Stars and stole 17 in 23 tries. He got his first look at the majors, hitting .222/.378/.222 in 23 games as a sub for the Padres.

[edit] Nomadism Is Me

For the next few years, while playing for the Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, briefly with the New York Mets, and later for the Baltimore Orioles, then back with San Diego, Matthews failed to hit better than .276, or slug better than .427.

In March of 2000, he was dealt by San Diego to Chicago for pitcher Rodney Myers. He hit just .242/.300/.393 for the Iowa Cubs and .190/.264/.297 in 80 games in Chicago. In 2001, Gary hit .217/.320/.364 for Chicago and was claimed off waivers by the Pirates. Replacing the ineffective Tike Redman, Emil Brown, Adrian Brown and Chad Hermansen, he had the best season of a Bucs CF that year at .245/.341/.401. He hit 14 homers in the majors in 2001, though his OPS+ was still only 84.

The New York Mets bought Gary's contract that winter and he was 0 for 1 for the 2002 Mets before being traded to Baltimore for John Bale. He had a 109 OPS+, his best yet in the majors, batting .276/.355/.427 with the Orioles that season.

He hit .204/.250/.327 in 41 games for the 2003 Orioles and was waived again, this time being claimed by San Diego. He did well there, batting .271/.346/.379 and playing regularly and effectively.

[edit] Stability in Texas

On April 8, 2004, the Texas Rangers signed Matthews as a free agent. That year he played in 87 games and batted .275 with 11 home runs. He also spent time with the AAA Oklahoma RedHawks, putting up a .324/.409/.628 line in 38 games. In 2005, he played in 131 games for Texas, hitting .255 with 17 home runs. With an overall lifetime fielding percentage of .982 in the outfield, team management offered him another chance.

The 2006 season was good for Matthews, as he finally bloomed, starting in centerfield for the Rangers. In 620 AB, he had 194 hits, including 44 doubles, 6 triples, and 19 home runs. He made his first appearance on the AL All-Star team that year, in a game where fellow Ranger All-Star Michael Young got the game-winning hit and the game's MVP Award. Over the course of the season, Matthews hit .313, and slugged .495, with 79 RBIs. Mostly used as a lead-off hitter, his on-base percentage was a career high .371. After the season ended, Gary won the Texas Rangers MVP award for the year.

[edit] Assessment

Gary has fairly good base-running ability, with 64 career stolen bases, being caught 28 times. His career major-league totals, after his first 8 seasons, stand at .263 batting, .419 slugging, and .336 on-base percentage. Matthews filed for free agency after the 2006 season, and was signed by the Los Angeles Angels to a five-year $50 million dollar contract.

Through age 31, one of the most similar players is Oddibe McDowell.

Gary's father, Gary Matthews Sr. was an All-Star in the outfield himself, playing in the 1970s and 1980s, with a number of National League teams. Dave Martinez played with both Gary Matthews Sr. and Matthews Jr.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • AL All-Star (2006)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (2006)

[edit] Related Sites

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