Nicholas Thompson Swisher (born November 25, 1980) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder. Swisher was a switch hitter who throw left-handed. He is the son of former Major League catcher Steve Swisher, who played for various National League baseball clubs in the 1970s and 1980s. Swisher was born in Columbus, Ohio and grew up in Parkersburg, West Virginia. While attending Ohio State University, he played for their division I baseball team.
High School, College and MLB DraftEdit
Swisher was a two-sport star at Parkersburg High School in football and baseball. As a strong safety he was recruited by several Division I-A colleges, including Notre Dame, but chose to pursue baseball. As he was not selected in the Major League Baseball Draft out of high school he signed with Ohio State, as that school along with Ohio University were the only colleges to recruit him for baseball. He was named Big 10 Freshman of the Year in 2000 after hitting .299 with 10 home runs and 48 RBI. He was an All-Big 10 selection at first base as a sophomore in 2001 after hitting .322 with 56 RBI and a league leading 15 home runs. He earned All-Big 10 honors in the outfield in 2002 after batting .348 with 10 home runs and 52 RBI. Swisher was selected by the A's with the Boston Red Sox first round pick in 2002 as compensation for the loss of free agent Johnny Damon.
Swisher, and the A's 2002 draft, are heavily featured in Michael Lewis' 2003 book Moneyball. In a book whose key theme was the gulf between orthodox baseball thinking and the new sabermetric influenced system being implemented by Billy Beane, Swisher was notable as one of the few examples of a player that traditional scouts and Beane could agree upon.
Major League careerEdit
Swisher played in only 20 games during the 2004 season, and subsequently was still considered to be in his rookie year in 2005. He finished 6th in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. His teammates Huston Street and Joe Blanton finished 1st and 7th, respectively.
Following his rookie season, Swisher was able to improve in most offensive categories. During the 2006 regular season, Swisher compiled a .254 batting average with 35 home runs. He also improved his on base percentage by raising it to .372, as well as boosting his slugging percentage to .493. Swisher finished second for the team in on base plus slugging behind the veteran slugger Frank Thomas. Swisher spent about half of his playing time in left field, and the other half at first base. The Oakland A's lacked both Dan Johnson and Erubiel Durazo for a large portion of the 2006 season, leaving room for Swisher to move back into his preferred position on a temporary basis. During the season, Swisher had a column for ESPN.com about his various baseball experiences called Sophomore Year. This included multiple articles that pertained to his early MLB playing experiences as well as the MLB Draft of 2002.
The 2007 season has continued to allow Swisher to demonstrate his defensive versatility. In the past 2 years, he has started a significant portion of games in all 3 outfield positions as well as first base. Offensively, his power numbers have seemed to have tapered off from the previous year . Despite this, he still gets on base frequently while keeping his batting average above his career average. Swisher has also exemplified a good amount of durability in contrast to his teammates who have spent a large portion of time on the disabled list. On September 16, Swisher initiated a brawl when he charged the mound after getting hit by a pitch from Texas Rangers pitcher Vicente Padilla. Earlier in the plate appearance, Padilla threw two inside pitches with the apparent intention of hitting Swisher. Both players were ejected following the brawl.
Swisher was traded on January 3, 2008 to the Chicago White Sox for three minor leaguers, including Ryan Sweeney and Gio Gonzalez, as part of what Athletics general manager Billy Beane termed a "rebuilding effort". 
Swisher was traded to the Yankees with minor league pitcher Kanekoa Texeira for Wilson Betemit. Nick Swisher starred as the Yankees starting right fielder in 2009, helping bring the Yankees to their 27th world championship.
Swisher's father played 509 games in the Major Leagues with the Chicago Cubs (1974-77), St. Louis Cardinals (1978-80) and San Diego Padres (1981-82). He was a .216 lifetime hitter with 20 home runs and 124 RBI. His father was also a first round draft pick as he was selected by the Chicago White Sox with the 21st selection of the 1973 draft.
Swisher was very close to his paternal grandmother Betty Lorraine Swisher, who raised him after his parents' divorce and died from brain cancer in 2005; he famously has her initials tattooed on his chest. He points at the sky after every hit to acknowledge her and has her initials inked on the knob of his bats and usually on his batting gloves or shoes. To honor her further, he decided to grow his hair and donate it to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, a program that creates free wigs for cancer patients. On May 19th, 2007, he cut his hair with assistance from his father before Oakland's game. He intimated in March 2008 that he may again be growing out his hair for the Beautiful Lengths program. His website, nickswisher.net, is also dedicated to his grandmother.
Swisher is half Italian on his mother's side.
- List of second-generation Major League Baseball players
- Steve Swisher
- Moneyball By Michael Lewis
- Billy Beane
- ↑ "Nick Swisher Has Found Success In His Strut"
- ↑ "Street wins AL Rookie of Year; Howard wins NL"
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 "Swisher's stats on Yahoo! Sports"
- ↑ "Swisher's Sophomore Year Column on espn.com"
- ↑ http://www.mercurynews.com/sharks/ci_6916345
- ↑ Rebuilding A's continue dealing -- Swisher to White Sox, accessed Jan. 3, 2008
- ↑ "SPENDING TIME WITH KIDS LIGHTS ME UP!"
- ↑ "Nick Swisher signs on as an entertainment industry foundation ambassador for Pantene Beautiful Lengths"
- ↑ "Interview with Mike North, 3/5/08"
- ↑ "nickswisher.net"
- ↑ "A's Pay Tribute To Troops"