On this date eight years ago, the Dodgers came to terms with infielder Nomar Garciaparra on a one-year deal worth$6 million. Garciaparra was one of the top shortstops in baseball with the Boston Red Sox, but was signed by the Dodgers to play first base.
The Dodgers signed Rafael Furcal to play shortstop, but Garciaparra agreed to play the new position with former position occupied. The then 32-year-old was coming off a season in which he played for the Chicago Cubs. He hit .283 with nine home runs and 30 RBI in 62 games in limited time due to injuries.
In the 2006 season, Garciaparra started off hot, having a .358 batting average with 11 home runs and 58 RBI at the All-Star break. He was even voted into his sixth All-Star game on the Final Vote ballot and carried a 21-game hitting streak into the break. Garciaparra cooled off in the second half and ended the season hitting .303 with 20 home runs and 93 RBI. He hit two key home runs in the stretch run to help the Dodgers make the postseason.
He hit the walk-off home run in the 10th inning of the September 18 game in which the Dodgers hit four consecutive home runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game. Less than a week later, he hit a walk-off grand slam against the Arizona Diamondbacks en route to a 5-1 victory. After the season, he was named the 2006 Comeback Player of the Year.
Garciaparra re-signed with the Dodgers for two more seasons, but couldn’t replicate his 2006 numbers and missed significant time in 2008 with a few injuries. Garciaparra played one more season after his time with the Dodgers with the Oakland Athletics before retiring and becoming a baseball analyst. He was recently hired by SportsNet LA to work with the Dodgers new channel on Time Warner Cable.
ICYMI: The Dodgers and J.P. Howell agreed to a two-year deal earlier in the week