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Mark Bellhorn

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Mark Bellhorn
Mark Bellhorn
Third baseman
Born August 23, 1974 (1974-08-23) (age 42)
Boston Massachusetts
Batted Switch Threw Right
MLB debut
June 10, 1997 for Oakland Athletics
Last appearance
September 30, 2007 for the Cincinnati Reds
Career information
High school Oviedo High School
Oviedo, Florida
College Auburn
MLB Draft 1992 / Undrafted
Teams

Mark Christian Bellhorn (born August 23, 1974 in Boston, Massachusetts) is a retired Major League Baseball third baseman. He has played in the majors for the Oakland Athletics (1997-1998, 2000-2001), Chicago Cubs (2002-2003), Colorado Rockies (2003), Boston Red Sox (2004-2005), New York Yankees (2005), San Diego Padres (2006), and Cincinnati Reds (2007). He is a switch-hitter and throws right-handed. He graduated from Oviedo High School located in Oviedo, Florida.

CareerEdit

After playing college ball at Auburn University, Bellhorn broke in the majors with Oakland in 1997. That year he managed a .228 batting average with six home runs and 19 runs batted in. Over the next three seasons with the Athletics he would see only limited playing time, batting .131 with one homer and five RBI.

In 2002, Bellhorn would go to the Cubs and hit .258 with 27 home runs and 56 RBI. On August 29, 2002, Bellhorn became the first player in National League history to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in the same inning, doing so in the Cubs' 10–run 4th inning at Miller Park. Bellhorn also tied a team record with five RBI in the inning. His 2002 campaign was a record-setting season for the Cubs: His 27 home runs was the most ever by a Cubs switch-hitter, and he became the 1st player in Cubs history to hit a home run from all 4 infield positions. [1]

On June 20, 2003, he was traded to the Rockies, and finished the year hitting .221 with two home runs and 26 RBI.

In 2004, Bellhorn was signed by the Boston Red Sox as a utility infielder. However, he became the regular second baseman after Pokey Reese and Nomar Garciaparra suffered early season injuries. He proceeded to have the best batting average of his career, hitting .264 with 17 home runs and 82 RBI. Despite leading the league in strikeouts (177), Bellhorn was among the league leaders in walks (88, 3rd), pitches seen per at bat, Batting Average with Runners in Scoring Position, and on base percentage (.373, first among AL second baseman). Nearly half of his 2004 plate appearances resulted in a strikeout, walk or home run.

With his shaggy hair and frequently unshaven face, Bellhorn was one of many members of the memorable-looking 2004 Red Sox team (including Johnny Damon, Pedro Martínez, Manny Ramírez, and Kevin Millar) to adopt an unkempt appearance, distinguishing themselves more as opposites from their arch-rivals the New York Yankees (who are forbidden to wear long hair or facial hair below the lip). Bellhorn's quiet demeanor, humble behavior, and incredible ability to repeatedly strikeout or walk, created a small, but fiercely loyal fan-base for Bellhorn. Throughout Boston, people were once seen wearing "Who died and made you Mark Bellhorn?" shirts. There is also another once-popular shirt, "Don't blame me, I voted for Bellhorn." [2]

In 2005, Bellhorn struggled, registering a lower batting average and dramatically increasing his strikeouts. The Red Sox eventually released Bellhorn after he broke his finger in a game and the fans were getting restless with his "non-production". Bellhorn signed with the Yankees days later. In 2006, he played for the San Diego Padres.

In 2007, Bellhorn signed a minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds with an invitation as a non-roster player to the Reds' spring training camp. Although he had a decent spring with some playing time, he was optioned to Cincinnati's Triple-A affiliate, the Louisville Bats, and a few days later he accepted the minor league assignment. [3]

On August 12, 2007, the Reds designated Bellhorn for assignment to make room for Josh Hamilton, who was coming off the 15-day disabled list. On October 12, 2007, Bellhorn refused his outright assignment to the minors, becoming a free agent. In 2008, Bellhorn signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers and was assigned to their Double-A affiliate, the Jacksonville Suns. After a couple of months with the Suns, he was released by the Dodgers on July 24, 2008.

2004 postseasonEdit

For the first seven postseason games of his career, Bellhorn had 2 hits in 25 at-bats (.080). But his resurgence started when he broke up Mike Mussina's perfect game in the 7th inning of game 1. Bellhorn then hit a three-run homer off Jon Lieber to power Boston to a 4-2 victory over the Yankees in Game 6 of the ALCS. He also homered in Game 7 in the Bronx for a key insurance run, sending the ball high and clanging it loudly off the right field foul pole off Tom Gordon.

Boston won Game 1 in the World Series, thanks to Bellhorn's eighth-inning two-run home run off Julián Tavárez, (again, clanging a ball off the foul pole, this time Pesky's Pole at Fenway Park) to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 11-9. In Game 2, he hit a two-run double to help the Sox pull away to a 4-1 lead in an eventual 6-2 victory. In doing so, Bellhorn became the first second baseman ever to homer in three consecutive postseason games. The Red Sox went on to win the World Series in a four game sweep of St. Louis.

In 14 post-season games, Bellhorn hit three doubles and three home runs with eight runs and eight RBI. He hit a low .191 batting average (9-for-44). Nevertheless, he provided a good offensive support in on base percentage (.397), slugging average (.447) and OPS (.844).

Personal lifeEdit

Bellhorn owns and operates four Dunkin Donuts franchises in the greater Boston area. [4] His younger brother, Todd, pitched in the New York Mets minor league system from 1998-2000. He is now a youth pastor in Florida. [5]

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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