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Darin Charles Erstad (born June 4, 1974 in Jamestown, North Dakota) is an outfielder/first baseman for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball. Prior to 2007, he had played with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim franchise (1996-2006) before signing with the Chicago White Sox in 2007. He bats and throws left-handed.
Erstad graduated in 1992 from Jamestown High School in Jamestown, North Dakota. He was a kicker and punter on the school football team, logging a school-record 50-yard field goal. Erstad also played hockey (36 goals and 24 assists in 26 games) and participated in track and field (winning state titles in 110 and 300-meter hurdles).
Erstad played American Legion baseball (Jamestown had no high school baseball team), and hit .492 with 18 home runs and 86 RBI for Jamestown in 1992. He also was 10-2 with a 2.18 ERA as a pitcher, and was named AP North Dakota Athlete of the Year in 1992
Erstad attended the University of Nebraska, playing baseball there for three years and, to date, holds the school record for career hits with 261. In his final year there, Erstad hit .410 with 19 home runs and 79 RBIs, earning First-Team All-American status and was a finalist for the 1995 Golden Spikes Award.
Darin started his junior campaign on a tear and never stopped hitting. He was at his best against the conference’s top team, Oklahoma. In five games with the first-place Sooners, he batted .429 and blasted three home runs. Oklahoma lefty Mark Redman—with whom Darin would share conference Player of the Year honors—was among his biggest victims. The Huskers finished 35-23, and Darin led the Big Eight with a .410 average. He was the only batter in the conference to surpass 100 hits, and also led all players with 7 triples. Named a First Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, Darin set career highs with 19 homers and 76 RBIs.
Erstad was also the starting punter on the Cornhuskers football team and was part of their 1994 National Championship squad, averaging 42.6 yards per punt, the 14th best mark in the country that year.
In the 2000 season, Erstad led the American League in hits (240), singles (170) and at-bats (676); was second in total bases (366), third in runs (121), and hit .355, finishing second in the batting race behind Nomar Garciaparra (.372). Erstad was just 26 years old at the end of the season, an age at which many players enter their prime, leading many to believe more superstar seasons were ahead of him.
Erstad led all major league center fielders in range factor (3.39) in 2002. Notably, he is the only player in MLB history to have won Gold Gloves as an infielder and outfielder and first to win the award at three different positions, though all outfield Gold Gloves are voted on together.
- On June 10, 2000, Erstad hit a double in the Angels' 10-3 win over Arizona. With a major league-leading 100 hits in 61 games, he became the fastest to reach the 100-hit mark since Heinie Manush did it in 60 games for the 1934 Washington Senators.
- He became the first player in Major League history to record 100 RBIs as a leadoff hitter in the 2000 season as a member of the Angels.
- Erstad has a billboard in his honor off Interstate 94 in his hometown of Jamestown, ND.
- During Erstad's tenure with the Angels, his hometown carried all Angels games over the radio. Most North Dakota stations only carry Minnesota Twins games.
- When the Angels won the World Series in 2002, Erstad was the second player hailing from North Dakota to be on a World Series winning roster. Roger Maris was the first with the 1961 Yankees and 1967 Cardinals.
- Hit a home run in his first at-bat as a member of the Chicago White Sox on opening day off C.C. Sabathia.
- Erstad is the only MLB player in history to win a gold glove award in both the outfield and the infield (has 3 total: two in the OF in 2000 and 2002, and one in the infield at 1B in 2004).
- Caught the final out of the 2002 World Series to give the Anaheim Angels a world series championship.
- Erstad endorses Dakota Kid brand Big Sunflower Seeds.
- Erstad has two children, a daughter Jordan Elizabeth and a son Zack with his wife Jessica.
- In July 2008 it was announced that Erstad purchased a home in Southeast Lincoln, Nebraska and paid a reported $1.9 Million dollars, the largest home purchase in Lancaster County Nebraska's history.
- Has seven game-ending or "walk-off" RBI in his career, most recently a sac fly to beat the New York Mets on August 2, 2008.
- Has been selected twice to the American League All-Star team (1998, 2000)
- 3-time Gold Glove Award winner (2000 outfielder, 2002 outfielder, 2004 first baseman)
- Won the Silver Slugger Award (2000)
- Member of 2002 World Series Champion Anaheim Angels. Erstad batted .300 in the seven game series vs. the San Francisco Giants. He hit a key home run in Game 6 of the series with the Angels losing 5-3 in the eighth inning and facing elimination. He also caught the final out of Game 7.
- With three hits on Aug. 29, 2000, reached 200 hits faster than any player in 65 years.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
|First overall pick in the MLB Entry Draft|