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Mark Ellis

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Mark William Ellis

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[edit] Biographical Information

The Los Angeles Times reported, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that Mark Ellis set the record, in mid-2006, for the most home runs by a major league player born in South Dakota.

He played college ball at the University of Florida with future major leaguers David Eckstein, Josh Fogg, Paul Rigdon, and Brad Wilkerson. In the 1999 amateur draft, 7 University of Florida players were selected, but only Ellis would ever appear in the big leagues.

After playing his first 10 seasons with the Oakland Athletics (he missed the entire 2004 season with an injury), getting into 1,056 games for the green and gold during the period, Ellis was traded to the Colorado Rockies on June 30, 2011. He was in double figures in homers every season from 2005 to 2009, with a high of 19 in 2007. He also hit 20 or more doubles each of those seasons, with a high of 33, also in 2007, making him a valuable performer when these power numbers were combined with his excellent fielding record at second base. He was hitting .217 in 62 games at the time, and had lost his starting second baseman's job to rookie Jemile Weeks. However, he stepped right into the starting line-up with the Rockies, who had been struggling all year to find a player to man the second base bag. In his first game on July 1st, he homered off the Kansas City Royals' Danny Duffy in 9-0 win at Coors Field. That homer was one of three hits, and the following day, he had another three-hit day, this time all doubles, in leading the Rockies to another win over KC, 9-6. In 70 games for the Rockies, he hit .274, for a combined .248 in 132 games for the two teams, with 24 doubles and 7 homers.

Ellis became a free agent after the 2011 season and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for 2012, claiming the starting job at second base. On May 18th, he was involved in a collision with the St. Louis Cardinals' Tyler Greene, who upended him on a take-out slide while trying to break up a double play. He injured his left leg seriously, and had to undergo surgery to reliever the pain and swelling, as infection began to set in; doctors explained that the condition could have led to the loss of the leg had a fasciotomy not been performed so quickly. He recovered quickly, playing 110 games that season, with a .258 batting average, 62 runs scored, 7 homers and 31 RBI. He was again the Dodgers' starter in 2013, as the team won the NL West title. He hit .270 in 126 games, but only had 13 doubles and 6 homers, scoring 46 runs and driving in 48. In the NLDS, he went 4 for 15 (.267) with a pair of doubles, and then 6 for 25 (.240) in the NLCS. During both of his seasons with the Dodgers, he was in the starting line-up with C A.J. Ellis, who is no relation.

On December 16, 2013, Ellis signed a free agent deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals planned to play rookie Kolten Wong at second base in 2014 but wanted to have a veteran like Ellis around in case things did not pan out with the youngster.

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