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David Mark Eckstein (born January 20, 1975), nicknamed "X Factor," also the "Sparkplug," is a Major League Baseball infielder for the San Diego Padres. He is noted for his size, as he is small for a professional sports player at 5' 7". Eckstein's name is pronounced (ECK-styne) and means "cornerstone" in German. His "walkup music" is Ludacris's "Number One Spot" (appropriate since Eckstein usually bats as the leadoff hitter) and Crystal Method's "Busy Child."

Amateur career

High school

Eckstein played baseball all four years at Seminole High School in Sanford, Floridamarker. He was a two-time All-State athletic selection, and a prominent member of a state championship team.

He was also a member of the National Honor Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. David was voted "Most Helpful," in the Class of 1993.

Eckstein also is commemorated on the 2006–2007 Seminole High baseball squad's T-shirt with the recognition at the bottom of the shirt as follows: "22.DE.WS.MVP.06." 22 was Eckstein's number with the St. Louis Cardinals, DE are his initials, and he was the 2006 World Series MVP.


At the University of Floridamarker in Gainesville, Floridamarker, Eckstein was a walk-on player to the Gators baseball team in season of , later earning a scholarship. A standout in the Southeastern Conference, he was a two-time All-SEC ( - ) first team sports in 1996 and a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection (1995- ). Eckstein was the first two-time corporation Academic All-American in Gator history. He was also a member of the 1996 baseball team that finished third in the country. Eckstein also played for the Harrisonburg Turks of the Valley Baseball League in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Professional career

Anaheim Angels

Eckstein was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 19th round of the 1997 amateur draft, and selected off waivers by the Anaheim Angels on August 16, 2000. He was a member of the 2002 World Series champion Anaheim Angels (now the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), as well as the 2006 Champions, the St. Louis Cardinals, where he was selected 2006 World Series MVP. However, in several post-Series interviews, Eckstein said that he cannot use his prize, a Chevrolet Corvette Z06, because he does not know how to drive a manual transmission. He gave the car to his brother Rick. During his championship year, he led the major leagues with three grand slams, including grand slams in back-to-back games against the Toronto Blue Jays, one of which was a walk-off grand slam leading the Angels to complete the sweep over Toronto, at a time when the Angels were 7–14. After the sweep of the Jays, the Angeles went on to win 20 of their next 23 games. The walk-off grand slam is seen as a turning point in the 2002 season for the Angels, propelling them to a World Series title.

St. Louis Cardinals

At the end of the season, Eckstein was part of a "shortstop merry-go-round," in which three free agent shortstops swapped teams: Edgar Rentería went from the Cardinals to the Boston Red Sox, Orlando Cabrera went from the Red Sox to the Angels, and Eckstein went from the Angels to the Cardinals.

In his first seven seasons, he amassed 1,079 hits while batting .286. He was voted to the National League All-Star team in , along with teammates Chris Carpenter, Albert Pujols, Jason Isringhausen and Jim Edmonds. He was a late addition to the All-Star team. In 3,772 regular season at-bats, Eckstein struck out only 305 times, with a total of 22 in .

was a fan favorite in St. Louis, who considered him to be a "pesky" hitter (he chokes up on the bat about 2 inches). On Mother's Day, May 14, 2006, Eckstein was one of more than 50 hitters who brandished a pink bat to benefit the Breast Cancer Foundation.

As a member of the 2006 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals, Eckstein was named the World Series MVP. Following a 1–11 start in the first 2 games of the World Series, Eckstein went 8 for 22 with 4 RBI and scored 3 runs in the series, including going 4-for-5 with three doubles in game 4.

Toronto Blue Jays

On November 5, 2007, Eckstein became a free agent along with Kip Wells, Troy Percival, and Miguel Cairo. On December 13, 2007, he signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Arizona Diamondbacks

On August 31, , Eckstein was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for minor league pitcher Chad Beck.

San Diego Padres

On January 15, 2009 he signed a discounted one-year contract with the San Diego Padres on the condition that he would play primarily second base.On August 22, 2009 the San Diego Padres extended David Eckstein's contract through the 2010 season securing that he will play for the Padres through 2010.

Personal life

David was born in Sanford, Floridamarker. He married actress Ashley Drane on November 26, 2005, at his family church in Sanford, Florida, followed by a reception at Walt Disney Worldmarker. He is also a big fan of professional wrestling, having made public appearances with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling during the 2006 World Series and on February 11, 2007, he co-managed (along with New York Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon) TNA wrestler Lance Hoyt for his match with current White Sox conditioning coach Dale Torborg, managed by Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski at TNA's Against All Odds pay-per-view.

His older brother, Rick, is currently the hitting coach for the Washington Nationals.

In December 2006, David released the second edition of his inspirational children's autobiography, "Have Heart" ISBN 0-97-915040-X.

David is currently enrolled at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio for an honorary degree. He is usually sighted in Alden library checking and sending his emails.

Career highlights

  • 2006 Holiday Inn Look Again Player of the Year
  • 2-time World Series Champion (2002 Anaheim Angels, 2006 St. Louis Cardinals)
  • 2006 World Series MVP
  • 2-time All-Star (2005, 2006)
  • Babe Ruth Award winner (2006)
  • Inaugural winner of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association's Heart & Hustle Award in 2005.


  1. 2002 Anaheim Angels Schedule, Box Scores and Splits -
  2. Baseball: Spotlight; National League Scouting Report, The New York Times, 10 October, 2006
  3. "Baseball: Dynamo powers Cardinals' victory", International Herald Tribune, 27 October, 2006
  4. D-backs acquire David Eckstein from Blue Jays

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