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- 1 Career
- 1.1 Oakland Athletics
- 1.2 Texas Rangers
- 1.3 Detroit Tigers
- 1.4 St. Louis Cardinals
- 1.5 Return to the Detroit Tigers
- 1.6 Atlanta Braves
- 1.7 Arizona Diamondbacks
- 2 Personal
- 3 References
- 4 External links
Oakland Athletics Edit
Laird first attended Rancho Alamitos High School, and then later graduated from La Quinta High School in Westminster, California. He was chosen by the Oakland Athletics in the second round of the 1998 draft, but held out for more money. When the A's declined, Laird enrolled in Cypress College and led its baseball team to the finals. In June 1999, Oakland and Laird negotiated a new contract. In his first minor league season, 1999, he played 60 games with the Low-A Southern Oregon Timberjacksand hit .285. He divided the 2000 season between the rookie-level Arizona League Athletics and High-A Visalia Oaks, but a broken wrist limited his playing time. Going into the 2001 season he was considered a top prospect until he tailed off to .255 with theModesto A's.
Laird during his tenure with the Texas Rangers in 2005
Texas Rangers Edit
Shortly before the 2002 season Oakland traded Laird to the Texas Rangers along with outfielder Ryan Ludwick, Jason Hart and Mario Ramos, for slugging first basemanCarlos Peña and southpaw relief pitcher Mike Venafro. Texas assigned Laird to its Double-A Tulsa Drillers, where his strong defensive play and improved batting average (.276) drew plaudits.
He joined the Rangers for 2003 spring training, but was soon farmed out to the Triple-A Oklahoma RedHawks. The parent club recalled him on April 30 when catcher Todd Greene went on the disabled list, and he made his major league debut the same day. But when Greene returned from the disabled list after 15 days, Laird was optioned back to Oklahoma. The Rangers recalled him again in September when the rosters expanded, and he remained with the big league club for the rest of the season. In his two stints with Texas, he got into only 19 games and hit .273 but at the end of the year was chosen for the USA Baseball squad.
Laird won the Rangers' starting catching job in 2004 spring training after the Einar Diaz trade, but after dislocating his thumb in a home plate collision in May ended up on thedisabled list and lost his starting job to Rod Barajas. After spending most of the 2005 season in Triple-A, he was called up again as backup catcher for the Rangers in 2006. He went into that season well-regarded around the majors for his defensive skills despite a career MLB batting average of only .234.. Commented San Diego Padresgeneral manager Kevin Towers: "The Rangers knew they had a commodity. The only way they were going to part with him was if some team grossly overpaid [him]." In 78 games in 2006, he hit an improved .296 with seven home runs, earning the starting catcher's job for 2007. New Ranger manager Ron Washington took a special interest in him during spring training: "I just want him to concentrate on making this pitching staff better and helping them to believe in him." But that year he had the lowest fielding percentageof all major league catchers (.984) and the lowest range factor among full-time AL catchers (6.83). Compensating for the low fielding percentage, he threw out 40% of attempted base stealers, ranking him second behind the Seattle Mariners' Kenji Johjima in 2007. He was also in the second most double plays among all MLB catchers despite being among the lowest in fielding chances.
Detroit Tigers Edit
Laird with the Detroit Tigers in 2010
On December 8, 2008, he was traded to the Detroit Tigers for two minor league pitchers, Carlos Melo and Guillermo Moscoso. The Tigers named him starting catcher ahead of Dane Sardinha and Matt Treanor, and Laird rewarded them with the highest caught-stealing throwing average in the American League. In May 2010, while struggling offensively, Laird changed his jersey number from 8 to 12.
St. Louis Cardinals Edit
The St. Louis Cardinals signed Laird to a one-year contract for the 2011 season, where he won his first World Series ring as backup catcher to All-Star Yadier Molina.
Return to the Detroit Tigers Edit
On November 18, 2011, the Detroit Tigers welcomed Laird back with a one-year contract for the 2012 season as backup catcher to Alex Avilawhile slugger Victor Martinez, often used as a DH rather than as a catcher in any event, was on the disabled list for the entire season. He rewarded them by hitting .282, often hitting DH, in the regular season and helping them come back from well behind the Chicago White Sox to win their second consecutive AL Central Division title, edge the powerful young upstart Oakland Athletics 3–2 in the ALDS thanks to defending MVP Justin Verlander's stellar pitching in Games 1 & 5, and then sweep the suddenly discombobulated New York Yankees 4–0 in the ALCS. Laird had the key hit that put the Tiger's ahead in Kansas City the night they beat the Royals to clinch the AL Central for 2012, while owner Mike Illich watched from a booth (who flew in to see the Tigers clinch). He was in his second World Series in a row, which the Tigers lost to the San Francisco Giants 4–0, and became a free agent on October 29.
Atlanta Braves Edit
After former Braves backup David Ross signed with Boston for a two year contract early in the off-season, the Braves scavenged the open market for a backup catcher. They found Laird, signing him to a two-year, $3 million contract with up to $750,000 in performance bonuses based on games played. With Brian McCann leaving in free agency, Laird handled the primary backup role to Evan Gattis in 2014.
Arizona Diamondbacks Edit
In February 2015, he signed a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks. A back injury sustained during the first month of the season ended Laird's season.
Laird is represented by sports agent Scott Boras. His younger brother, Brandon has also played in MLB.
On December 30, 2009, Laird and brother Brandon were arrested during a basketball game between the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns for allegedly assaulting two security guards during a drunken brawl. Witnesses said the brothers had been cautioned by security guards when they arrived, because they were already intoxicated.Officers said Brandon Laird shouted derogatory remarks towards women, and then swung at one of the women. He was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Phoenix police said the brothers allegedly assaulted security guards, and Gerald was cited for assault.
- Jump up^ Dybal, Chuck (May 1, 2001). "Catcher has shot with A's lacking depth at position; Modesto's Laird could climb the ladder quickly after Hinch and Olivo were traded in the winter". Contra Costa Times. p. C03.
- Jump up^ Saxon, Mark (January 15, 2002). "A's acquire first base prospect; Oakland gets Peña in six-player deal with the Rangers". Oakland Tribune.
- Jump up^ "Drillers Update". Tulsa World. June 11, 2002. p. B3.
- Jump up^ "USA Baseball Roster". Associated Press. October 28, 2003.
- Jump up^ Sullivan, T.R. (May 22, 2004). "Injuries piling up around the majors". Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
- Jump up^ Antonen, Mel (March 12, 2006). "Teams place help wanted ads in search of catchers; Finding right balance on offense, defense proves elusive". USA Today. RetrievedOctober 1, 2013.
- Jump up^ Hawkins, Stephen (February 26, 2007). "Laird finally has the starting job and a clear direction with Rangers". ESPN.com. Associated Press. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
- Jump up^ "Gerald Laird Stats – St. Louis Cardinals – ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. November 13, 1979. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
- Jump up^ "Jarrod Saltalamacchia Stats". Sports.espn.go.com. May 2, 1985. Retrieved October 9,2011.
- Jump up^ "2011 Postseason MLB Baseball 1B Fielding Statistics". Sports.espn.go.com. RetrievedOctober 9, 2011.
- Jump up^ "Tigers acquire Gerald Laird from Texas Rangers". MLB.com. December 8, 2008. Retrieved December 12, 2008.
- Jump up^ Beck, Jason; Alex DiFilippo (May 29, 2010). "Laird changes jersey number". MLB.com. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
- Jump up^ "Cardinals sign Laird to be backup catcher". MLB.com. December 14, 2010.
- Jump up^ "Tigers make it official: Gerald Laird will be backup catcher". freep.com. November 18, 2011.
- Jump up^ "Laird gets two-year Braves deal". Msn.foxsports.com. November 19, 2012. RetrievedMarch 22, 2013.
- Jump up^ Eddy, Matt (February 7, 2015). "Minor League Transactions: Jan. 30-Feb. 5". Baseball America.
- Jump up^ Ferraresi, Michael (December 31, 2009). "2 pro baseball players arrested after Phoenix Suns game". Azcentral.com. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
- Jump up^ "Tigers' Gerald Laird, brother arrested in brawl at Suns-Celtics game". Mlive.com. The Associated Press. Retrieved July 23, 2011.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d "The Backup Catcher, The NBA Journeyman's Wife, And The Gropey Grandpa". Deadspin. January 26, 2010. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
- Jump up^ "Tigers catcher Laird, brother arrested in Arizona". ESPN. December 31, 2009. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
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