What do you think of when you read or hear "Every Four Years?" The Presidential elections? The Olympics? World Cup Soccer?
Nope, not if you are a fan of the San Diego Padres' infielder David Eckstein.
"Every Four Years" means David Eckstein wins a World Series.
In 2002, the biggest little man in major league baseball helped lead the then-Anaheim Angels to a World Series championship over the San Francisco Giants. The 5'7", 175 lb. Eckstein led the majors with three grand slams that season.
In 2006, Eckstein was named World Series MVP for the champion St. Louis Cardinals. Following a 1-for-11 start at the plate in the first two games of the World Series, Eckstein finished 8-for-22 with four RBI and scored three runs.
The World Series victory with the Cardinals placed Eckstein in elite company as one of few starting shortstops who have won a World Series in both the American and National Leagues.
Flash forward to 2010. It just so happens to be four years since Eckstein's last World Series title, and the Padres are in the midst of an NL West pennant race.
As Dick Enberg put it in last Wednesday's broadcast against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Adrian Gonzalez has been the Friars' Most Valuable Player, but Eckstein has been the team's most clutch player, while also mentoring younger players with his outstanding work ethic and hustle on each and every play.
Eckstein is the only infielder in major league baseball this year with at least 80 games played and no errors. Despite missing 28 games because of a calf strain, Eckstein has played in 105 games this season and provided near-flawless defense.
In a recent poll of 313 major league players conducted by Sports Illustrated, Eckstein was chosen as the player who had gotten the most out of his talent. He got 25 percent of the votes, well ahead of the 13 percent earned by Boston's Dustin Pedroia.
In this new-age style of baseball, reliant on power numbers and jaw-dropping statistics, Eckstein has relied on another outlet to get the job done: his heart.
Wherever David Eckstein has played, winning has followed.
Entering the final week of the 2010 regular season a half-game behind the San Francisco Giants in the NL West, Eckstein and the Padres are on a collision course for a pivotal three-game series in San Francisco this weekend.
If Eckstein can help bring the city of San Diego its first professional championship, he might have to consider taking his "Every Four Years" regime from the playing field to politics.
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