Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Auction Donations - Paul Lo Duca

CHERUBS is very grateful for autographed baseball donated by LA Dodgers catcher, Paul Lo Duca!

From Wikipedia:

Paul Anthony Lo Duca (born April 12, 1972 in Brooklyn, New York) is a Major League Baseball catcher who was recently released by the Colorado Rockies organization. Previously, Lo Duca played for the Los Angeles Dodgers (1998-2004), Florida Marlins (2004-2005, 2008), New York Mets (2006-2007), and Washington Nationals (2008). He recently was an analyst for the TVG Network analyzing horse races.

Collegiate career

Lo Duca walked on to the baseball team at Glendale Community College (AZ) after he was not recruited or drafted out of high school. He hit .449 and .461 in his two years at the community college before transferring to Arizona State University.[1] In 1993, the one year he played at ASU, Lo Duca was named The Sporting News Player of the Year, setting school records with a .446 batting average and 129 hits. He was also named a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award and his 37-game hitting streak is the second longest in school history. He was named ASU On Deck Circle Most Valuable Player; other winners include Dustin Pedroia, Willie Bloomquist, Ike Davis, and Barry Bonds.[2]

[edit] Professional career

Despite his college success, Lo Duca spent many years in the minor leagues after being drafted in the 25th round of the 1993 Amateur Draft. He spent the 1995 off-season abroad with the Adelaide Giants in the Australian Baseball League,[3] but finally achieved a breakthrough year with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2001 at age 29. Lo Duca drew comparisons to Dodgers predecessors Mike Scioscia and Mike Piazza -- all three were capable and popular everyday catchers who were homegrown through the Dodgers' organization, and all three are of Italian-American ancestry. Lo Duca's primary strength is as a contact hitter, like Scioscia, but unlike the power-hitting Piazza.

Since becoming an everyday big league player, Lo Duca has named to four All-Star Games. In 2002, he was one of the best contact hitters in the majors – only Jason Kendall struck out less often and no one had a better percentage of swings and misses.[4] In 2003, Lo Duca's 25-game hitting streak was the second longest in Dodgers history and defensively he ranked first in the National League in throwing out baserunners. In 2004, he led National League catchers in RBI. In the field in 2004, he allowed 93 stolen bases, more than any other catcher in Major League Baseball. He was traded from Los Angeles along with Juan Encarnacion and Guillermo Mota to the Marlins for Hee Seop Choi, Brad Penny, and minor league pitching prospect Bill Murphy at the 2004 trading deadline and was later traded to the Mets for two minor league prospects, pitcher Gaby Hernandez and outfielder Dante Brinkleys. This was part of a Marlins "market correction" where most of their large salaries were traded away after the 2005 season.

Lo Duca was a member of the 2006 All-Star Team; the Mets finished that year with a 97-65 record and made the postseason (his first playoff experience). Lo Duca hit .318, his highest average since 2001. He also had a .355 on-base percentage, a career high.

Lo Duca collected his 1,000th career hit on May 30, 2007 off Barry Zito. His batting average fell 48 points that year to .272, and he played only 119 games after making a trip to the disabled list in August.

Lo Duca with the Nationals in 2008.
After the 2007 season, Lo Duca agreed to a $5 million, one-year deal with the Washington Nationals on December 10. He was released by the Nationals on July 31, 2008 and on August 8, he signed a minor league deal to return to the Florida Marlins organization.[5] LoDuca was called up on August 16.[6]

He became a free agent after the 2008 season and did not play in 2009. In June 2009, he joined TVG Network as an analyst. He began working on 2009 Belmont Stakes day.

On January 19, 2010, it was reported that Lo Duca had signed with the Colorado Rockies. His role with the club is expected to be a backup catcher and occasionally playing first base and the outfield[7][8].

On May 29, 2010, he was released.

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