Few rookies have come out of nowhere to help their teams right from the start. Shea Hillenbrand was one of those rookies. Born on July 27, 1975 in Mesa, AZ, Shea played Baseball and excelled at soccer at Mt. View High School. Shea was named the High School Soccer Player of the Year in 1993, and was predicted to only go as far as the AA level in baseball. After high school, Shea attended Mesa Community College, where he was named the league MVP for baseball. In the 1996 June draft, Shea was the 12th pick of the Red Sox, way back in the 10th round. Shea then made his way through the minors, starting with the A level Lowell Spinners. It was here that Shea hit 88 hits in a season, setting a record that still stands for the Spinners.
Shea made his Red Sox debut on opening day of the 2001 season. He started off hot by successfully hitting in his first 9 games. Surpassing the previous marks set by Teddy Ballgame and Nomah. While some might say his rookie season was marred becuase of the slump he fell into midway through the season, I'd say it all evens out by the numerous short hit-streaks he had throughout the year.
My intoxicated self almost forgot... Shea Hillenbrand is the starting third basemen for the 2002 American League All-Star team. Way to go Shea! While Shea was invited to the Midsummer's Classic, he didn't fare too well, going 0-2 with 1 strike out.
Hillenbrand made some waves during his time with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2006. He posted a comment on the clubhouse bulletin board that said "the ship is sinking." This prompted hot-headed team manager John Gibbons to challenge him to a fistfight, which he declined. He was then traded to the San Francisco Giants a few days later.
Position: 3rd Base