I remember, when I was eight-years-old, all I wanted to be when I grew up was Nomar Garciaparra.
At that point, who wouldn't? Nomar was the toast of Boston, the man who was sure to lead the Red Sox to many World Series titles, and rake in the MVPs while he did it. He would've gone into the Hall of Fame and had his No. 5 placed on the right field facade at Fenway.
Then, whether it be psychological or physical, or both, Garciaparra began to suffer on the field. From 2002 to 2003, Garciaparra's doubles went from a career high 56 (which led the American League) down to 37, playing in the same amount of games. His home runs went from 24 to 28, but his average dropped nine points, and his OPS dropped 28 points.
Garciaparra was supposed to be in the prime of his career. Yet, his most important statistics began freefalling.
He injured his Achilles heel during Spring Training of 2004, missing most of the first half of the season. By July 31 of 2004, Garciaparra was traded to the Chicago Cubs.
The immediate reaction by Red Sox Nation was "kill Epstein," but as the season wore on, and Garciaparra wore down, it became clearer and clearer that Theo Epstein made the right move by trading Garciaparra.
After two injury-plagued seasons with the Cubs, in which he played 43 games in 2004 and 62 games in 2005, Garciaparra signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. His first two seasons he played in 122 and 121 games, respectively. After that, he played in no more than 65, never hitting higher than the low .280s between Los Angeles and Oakland. His last .300 season was in 2006, which was also the final season he hit double-digit home runs.
Now, it's 2010. Nomar is a free agent again, and nobody wants him.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter once said Garciaparra was the best shortstop in the league, but with the Cubs, Dodgers, and Athletics Nomar played third base, first base, and DH.
According to Lou Merloni, Garciaparra's friend, ex-teammate, and confidant, Nomar intends to play in 2010. I find that hard to believe.
Garciaparra has been in downward spiral since at least 2003. He's proven he carries injuries like rats carry disease, he can't hit for average or power, and can't field. Some reports say Garciaparra isn't even a positive influence in the clubhouse.
So, with spring training days away, it might be best for Nomar just to simply call it quits and walk into the sunset.
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