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Scott Eric Podsednik (born March 18, 1976 in West, Texas) is a Major League Baseball outfielder who is currently a free agent. Podsednik led the major leagues in stolen bases in 2004 with 70. In 2005, Podsednik finished second in the American League in stolen bases with 59 (behind Chone Figgins' 62), despite missing several games due to injury. However, because he led Major League Baseball in steals for all of the first half of the 2005 season, he was voted by fans into the last roster spot as an All-Star selection, the first of his career. Although he played in the All-Star Game in Detroit, he saw only defensive time and did not get a chance to bat.
Podsednik was drafted out of West High School in the 3rd round, 85th overall, in the 1994 Major League Baseball Draft by the Texas Rangers. For the next 8 years, he would only play on minor league clubs, dealing with minor nagging injuries along the way. While his play was not stellar initially, he showed gradual improvement until he was promoted to Texas' Double-A team, the Tulsa Drillers. Here, he began to struggle so much as to be demoted back to the Rangers organization's rookie club in 1999, but he immediately responded by hitting .412 with 5 RBI in just 5 games. After being recalled back to Tulsa for the remainder of that season and the 2000 season, the Rangers gave up on him as a future prospect, and he then moved to the Seattle Mariners organization.
Seattle immediately placed Podsednik at the Triple-A level, where he hit .564, good enough for his first promotion to a major league team in September, 2001. He was mostly used in a pinch-running role or as a late defensive replacement. In his first career major league at-bat, he hit a bases loaded triple.
After the 2002 season, Podsednik was acquired by the Milwaukee Brewers organization from Seattle for $20,000. In Milwaukee, Podsednik was finally given a fair chance to become a Major League regular, and he would take advantage in 2003. Podsednik surprised many people by compiling a .314 batting average, 43 stolen bases, 100 runs scored, 175 hits, 29 doubles, eight triples, nine home runs, 58 runs batted in, 56 walks and a .379 on-base percentage for the Brewers, even though he was not inserted permanently into the starting lineup until mid-May.
Podsednik finished second to the Florida Marlins' Dontrelle Willis in the official Rookie of the Year balloting. Despite sharing comparable success, some thought Podsednik's chances for winning the award were irreparably hurt by his playing for a perennial also-ran and by his relative low profile. This was in contrast to Willis, who received much more national exposure and played in a larger Miami market for a team that would eventually win the World Series. Furthermore, unlike Podsednik, who had been a relatively obscure career minor leaguer, Willis had been a much-hyped future superstar, going back to his days in the Chicago Cubs minor league system.
The 2004 season saw Podsednik's average drop to .244, partly due to pressure on him and his teammates to produce runs on an offensively lethargic Brewers team. Despite his more limited time on base, Podsednik led the league with 70 stolen bases, an astounding number for a sub-.250 hitter.
In December 2004, the Chicago White Sox realized Podsednik's ability and felt he was perfect for the direction they were going, as he batted .290, led the league in infield hits, and stole third base on 18 out of 19 attempts. A well rounded yet below average offensive White Sox team enabled Podsednik to concentrate on his strengths — getting on base, and using his speed, rather than hitting for power and driving in runs himself. He quickly became a huge fan favorite in Chicago, and every stolen base he attempted seemed to bring as much excitement as does an RBI base hit; indeed, the "Podsednik effect" was one of the factors in the White Sox' performance, much commented on, unnerving pitchers who knew they had to watch over their shoulder constantly. He was selected to his first All-Star game in 2005 via the MLB's All-Star Final Vote.
On June 23, 2006, Podsednik hit his first career grand slam off Andy Pettite, another Houston Astros pitcher. Phil Garner, manager of the Astros when they were swept by the White Sox in the 2005 World Series and still when Podsednik hit his first grand slam in 2006, said "It's tough to pitch to this guy. He hits a home run once in a blue moon or whenever he faces the Astros."
On November 20, 2007, Podsednik was designated for assignment and the White Sox had 10 days to trade, waive, release, or outright him to the minors. Podsednik was released on November 28, 2007. On February 5, 2008, he signed a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training with the Colorado Rockies.
On October 4, 2005, during Game 1 of the American League Division Playoff Series against the Boston Red Sox, Podsednik became only the second player in Major League Baseball history to hit a home run in a post-season game after going without any homers in the regular season with at least 500 or more at bats. Coincidentally, the man he joins in this historical category is Lance Johnson, another White Sox player who was the first to accomplish the feat in the 1993 American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays. Later, on October 23, 2005, during Game 2 of the World Series against the Houston Astros, Podsednik hit a solo homer in the bottom of the 9th off Astros closer Brad Lidge to win the game thus making Podsednik the only player in history to hit more than one home run in the post-season after going a full season with none.
In Game 3 of the same 2005 Series, as the lead-off batter he also became the player with the most at-bats in a single series game (8).
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
|Sporting News NL Rookie of the Year|
|Players Choice NL Most Outstanding Rookie|
|National League Stolen Base Champion|