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Jim Edmonds

Jim Edmonds

Position(s):
CF, LF, OF, RF, 1B, DH
Born:
June 27, 1970
Bats:
Left
Throws:
Left
Height:
6' 1"
Weight:
210 lbs
Major League Debut:
9-09-1993 with CAL
Allstar Selections:
1997 GG, 1998 GG, 2000 GG, 2001 GG, 2002 GG, 2003 GG, 2004 GG, 2004 SS, 2005 GG

 

A classic five-tool player, Edmonds powered baseballs to all fields with a gorgeous left-handed stroke and patrolled center field with a rare combination of grace and flair. He often made baseball look easy -- too easy, his teammates sometimes grumbled.

No one questioned Edmonds’ talent. He earned a spot on the 1995 AL All-Star squad in his first full season, when he batted .290 with 33 home runs, 107 RBIs and 120 runs scored. Over the next three years he never hit below .291 or launched fewer than 25 round-trippers, all the while providing a steady diet of highlight reel plays in the outfield.

But Edmonds often faced criticism from teammates who didn’t take kindly to the southern California native’s laid-back attitude. He irritated some players who saw his casual style of play as laziness, and infuriated others who felt he never made the effort to fulfill his enormous potential. “He can definitely play the game when he wants to,” said Angels starter Chuck Finley. "Jimmy’s biggest problem is Jimmy."

Hard-nosed team leader Mo Vaughn took Edmonds to task before the 1999 season, reportedly packing the center fielder’s suitcase and telling him to leave if he didn’t want to be with the team. “Jim Edmonds is one of the most talented guys I’ve ever played with,” said Vaughn. “The responsibility is what’s in question.”

Edmonds also had trouble avoiding injury, likely a result of his predilection for diving catches and collisions with outfield walls while pursuing enemy fly balls. A shoulder injury in the spring of 1999 limited him to 55 games that season, further straining his relationship with skeptical teammates.

With Edmonds due for free agency after the 2000 season, the Angels worried that they would lose him to another team and get nothing in return. His name flew in trade talks throughout the winter and spring, as the New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners all tried to land him. Less than two weeks before the start of the season, the Angels sent him to the St. Louis Cardinals for starter Kent Bottenfield and second baseman Adam Kennedy.

His first year in St. Louis proved a smashing success. Edmonds got off to a hot start with his bat while the Cardinals led the NL Central virtually from start to finish. He set career highs in 2000 with 42 home runs, 306 total bases, 108 RBIs and 129 runs scored. (The free-swinger also fanned 167 times, the most ever by a Cardinals player and a record for an NL left-handed batter.) Edmonds, who finished fourth in league MVP balloting, was so enamored of his new baseball home and its ardent fans that he signed a six-year extension with the club in early May.

During the Cardinals’ three-game sweep of Atlanta in the Division Series, Edmonds terrorized the Braves’ vaunted pitching staff, ripping four doubles and two home runs while driving in seven runs. He added a home run and five RBIs in the club’s four-game loss to the Mets in the League Championship Series.

In 2001, Edmonds couldn’t match the production of his first summer in St. Louis, but he proved himself a solid investment for the team. An August and September batting surge coincided with the Cardinals late-season playoff run, and brought his offensive numbers in line with his careers norms.

2004 Season

The 2004 season was Edmonds' best season. He hit .301, had a .643 slugging percentage, 42 HRs, and 111 RBI; all but batting average were career highs. As a result, he earned a Silver Slugger Award, a Gold Glove Award, and was fifth in the voting for the Most Valuable Player Award.

A defining moment of Edmonds' career came in the 2004 National League Championship Series, in which Edmonds hit an extra-inning home run to win Game 6. In Game 7, Edmonds made a spectacular defensive play in center, helping the Cardinals win the pennant.

During a Chicago Cubs-Cardinals game at Wrigley Field on July 19, 2004, pitcher Carlos Zambrano was ejected from the game for throwing at Edmonds. Zambrano screamed at Edmonds as he rounded the bases on a home run, earning Zambrano a five-game suspension.

Edmonds, along with Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen, earned the nickname "MV3" for their phenomenal 2004 seasons. Edmonds was on the cover of video game MLB Slugfest 2004.

In December of 2007, Edmonds was traded to the San Diego Padres for about one million dollars and infield prospect David Freese. After hitting just .178 in 26 games with the Padres, he was released in May 2008 and signed with the Chicago Cubs shortly thereafter. After sitting out the 2009 season, Jim signed a contract with the Milwaukee Brewers in January 2010, and made a comeback, earning a spot on the team in spring training. He hit well enough to play regularly and raise the interest of the playoff-bound Cincinnati Reds, who acquired him in return for young OF Chris Dickerson on August 9. Between the two teams, he hit .276 with 23 doubles and 11 homers in 86 games. However, his season ended suddenly on September 21 in a game against the Brewers: starting at 1B, he hit a homer off David Bush in the 2nd inning, but injured his right achilles tendon while circling the bases and had to leave the game. As a result, he missed the postseason as well. It turned out to be his last major league at-bat: he signed a minor league contract with the Cardinals before the opening of spring training in 2011, but announced his retirement on February 18 when he realized his achilles tendon had not healed properly.

 

Notable Achievements

4-time All-Star (1995, 2000, 2003 & 2005)

8-time Gold Glove Winner (1997/AL, 1998/AL & 2000-2005/NL)

NL Silver Slugger Award Winner (2004)

20-Home Run Seasons: 11 (1995-1998, 2000-2005 & 2008)

30-Home Run Seasons: 5 (1995, 2000, 2001, 2003 & 2004)

40-Home Run Seasons: 2 (2000 & 2004)

100 RBI Seasons: 4 (1995, 2000, 2001 & 2004)

100 Runs Scored Seasons: 4 (1995, 1998, 2000 & 2004)

Won a World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006

 

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