Eric Chavez

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Eric Cesar Chavez

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Biographical Information[edit]

Eric Chavez, a first-round draft pick by the Oakland Athletics in 1996, played for Oakland from 1998 to 2010, with a slugging average of .478 and six Gold Gloves at third base over that period. His career was derailed by repeated injuries in the latter portion of his Oakland days.


While 2006 was not his most impressive season, he helped the team by getting 84 walks to go with his 22 home runs, and he again was a strong defensive player at third base. As a comparison to the rival Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, their third baseman Maicer Izturis had a much higher batting average but many fewer walks and home runs, and so Chavez had a higher OPS. Chavez hit 20 or more homers for seven straight season with the A's from 2000 to 2006, including a pair of seasons when he had more than 30. He drove in 100+ runs four times during that period. On June 21, 2000, he hit for the cycle against the Baltimore Orioles.

His injury problems were mainly with a sore back, forcing him to become a designated hitter. When injuries cut his season short again in early 2010 after only 33 games, it seemed that he would decide to retire for good, but he attempted another comeback with the New York Yankees in 2011. After a solid spring training, he made the team as a back-up first baseman. He started the season well, batting .290 with a .405 OBP in his first 16 games; he even spelled Alex Rodriguez at third base for a few games while the superstar was dealing with various aches and pains. Injury struck again on May 5th, as he broke a bone in left foot legging out a triple and was immediately placed on the disabled list. He came back in time to spell A-Rod for a longer period in August, and ended up playing 42 games at 3B out of 58 total games. He hit .263/.320/.356 for the year. In 2012, he was healthy for the entire season, playing 113 games, the most for him since 2006. He went to bat 278 times, hitting .281/.348/.496, with 12 doubles, 16 homers and 37 RBI. He took over for Rodriguez for a couple of long stretches when A-Rod was dealing with injuries in the second half, then started three times at third base during the postseason, with the struggling Rodriguez on the bench. The radical move did not pay for the Yankees, as Chavez was 0 for 8 in both the ALDS and ALCS.

When it was announced during the 2012-2013 offseason that Alex Rodriguez needed to undergo surgery on his hip and would miss a good part of the 2013 season, Chavez seemed to be the logical candidate to step into the breach. However, he was a free agent at the time and decided December 5th to accept a one-year deal from the Arizona Diamondbacks for $3 million instead of re-signing with the Bronx Bombers. Continuing in a back-up role with the D-Backs, he had a big moment on September 6th, when he pinch-hit for P Patrick Corbin with two outs in the 9th inning with San Francisco Giants pitcher Yusmeiro Petit making a bid for a perfect game. Down to his last strike, he managed to stroke a single to break up the perfecto, although Petit retired the next batter to complete a 3-0, one-hit shutout. Chavez returned to the Diamondbacks in 2014 but went down with a knee injury in June. By the end of July, Chavez announced his retirement rather than trying to force a comeback. He was one of only a handful of players to hit 250 or more home runs and never make a big league All-Star team.

After the 2014 season, he rejoined the Yankees as a special assignment scout, but just as spring training was starting in 2015, the Oakland A's announced that he was joining their cable television broadcast crew as a color commentator.

Chavez was a special assistant for the Los Angeles Angels in 2016-2018 when he was named to replace Keith Johnson as manager of the Salt Lake Bees on August 5th. He became eligible for the Hall of Fame in its 2020 election but received only two votes and was dropped from the ballot.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Futher Reading[edit]

  • Paula Bott: "A Story of Best Friends Who Set Out to Do What Millions of Little Boys Dream Of: Make It to the Big Leagues", The San Diego Union-Tribune, May 23, 1999, pp. A1-.
  • Gwen Knapp: "Oakland A's Young Star Eric Chavez Now in Charge", Baseball Digest, Volume 61, Number 9, September 2002, pp. 36-38.
  • Josh Lewin: "Eric Chavez", in You Never Forget Your First: Ballplayers Recall Their Big League Debuts, Potomac Books Inc., Washington, DC, 2005, pp. 37-39. ISBN 978-1574889611
  • Susan Slusser: "A's Chavez the Real Deal: Low-Key Third Baseman Seems Lock for Baseball Stardom", The San Francisco Chronicle, March 23, 2003, pp. B8-. [1]
  • Susan Slusser: "A Chip on His Repaired Shoulder: Chavez More Motivated than Ever After Third Surgery", San Francisco Chronicle, November 21, 2007, pp. D1-. [2]
  • Carl Steward: "Eric Chavez Shuts It Down for Season, Hints He May Be Done" ,The Oakland Tribune, September 3, 2010. [3]
  • Phil Taylor: "Head First: With Better Thinking at the Plate, the A's Eric Chavez Has Solved Lefthanded Pitchers and Made His Game Whole", Sports Illustrated, Volume 101, Number 11, September 20, 2004. [4]

Other Resources[edit]

  • Jesse Morse: Rotations: From the Eric Chavez Sonnets, c_L Books, Portland, OR, 2011.

Related Sites[edit]