Random Athlete of the Day- Mark Bellhorn
Mark Bellhorn was an infielder for seven different clubs in his MLB career, spanning from 1997 to 2007.
After struggling with the Oakland A’s to start his career, Bellhorn was traded to the Chicago Cubs. In 2002, his only full season as a Cub, he smacked 27 home runs. Other milestones achieved in Chicago included becoming the first player in the history of the National League to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in a single inning, and becoming the first person in Cubs history to homer from all four infield positions.
However Bellhorn’s most famous season came in 2004, when he was a member of the Boston Red Sox. Early in the season, infielders Pokey Reese and Nomar Garciaparra (who was soon traded) suffered injuries, opening the door for Bellhorn to snag some extended playing time. In the regular season, he had 17 home runs, 82 RBI, a .264 batting average, and a .373 on-base percentage (highest of all second baseman that year).
In the ALDS that year against the Anaheim Angels, Bellhorn played particularly poorly, putting together an abysmal .091 average. The ALCS against the New York Yankees was a struggle as well, as evidenced by his .192 batting average, but he did hit a big three-run home run in Game 6, which proved to be the difference in Boston’s 4-2 win. He also hit a home run in Game 7 to extend their lead to 9-3; the Red Sox won that game 10-3, and became the first team to come back from an 0-3 series deficit and make the World Series.
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Unlike the first two rounds, Bellhorn played well in the World Series. In the 8th inning of Game 1, in what was undoubtedly the biggest hit of his career, Bellhorn hit a game-winning home run off of St. Louis Cardinals reliever Julian Tavarez to give Boston an 11-9 lead that they wouldn’t give up. Bellhorn had two more hits in the following three games, including a big two-run double in Game 2 to extend the Red Sox’s lead to 4-1. The Red Sox swept the Cardinals to win the World Series, and Bellhorn won his first and only ring.
After his time with the Red Sox he played in a limited role for the Yankees, San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds before retiring in 2007. While these teams may not have appreciated him very much, Red Sox Nation is forever grateful for having Bellhorn to help them reverse their dreaded curse.