Club Feet or Foot Series-Disabled Legend Freddy Sanchez

Frederick Phillip “Freddy” Sanchez, Jr. was born on 21 December, 1977 in Hollywood, California, USA. Freddy Sanchez is an infielder in Major League Baseball. Since 2002, Freddy Sanchez has played for the Boston Red Sox (2002-03) and Pittsburgh Pirates
(2003-Present). Freddy Sanchez bats and throws right-handed.

Freddy Sanchez graduated in 1996 from Burbank High School in Burbank, California, where he was a consistent 3 year varsity player. In his senior year he was named MVP of the talent-filled foothill league of the CIF. Freddy Sanchez also starred in the Daily News Bernie Milligan All-Star Game, where he earned MVP honours. While in high school, he played on the same summer league team as current teammate Jack Wilson. (At the time Freddy Sanchez played the more demanding shortstop position while Jack Wilson played 2nd base.)

Freddy Sanchez’s success in high school was nothing short of miraculous. Freddy Sanchez was born with a severely pigeon-toed left foot and a club right foot, and his parents had received a medical diagnosis that he might never walk. Freddy Sanchez underwent surgery to correct his foot problems at 13 months, and then had to undergo years of physical therapy before he could walk properly.

Freddy Sanchez was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 30th round of the 1st year player draft, but opted not to sign. Freddy Sanchez went to Glendale Community College for 2 years, where he led the team to a co-championship in the Western State Conference, which was also the college’s 1st playoff appearance since 1981. Freddy Sanchez transferred to Dallas Baptist University as a Junior, where he played in the NAIA College World Series. In his senior year, he transferred to Oklahoma City University in 2000, where he was named a NAIA All-Star.

Freddy Sanchez was originally signed by Boston Red Sox scout Ernie Jacobs after being selected in the 11th round of the 2000 draft. In the 2000 season, he split the year between Single-A Lowell and Augusta. For Lowell he hit 288, and for Augusta he hit 301. Freddy Sanchez began 2001 playing for Single-A Sarasota, where he hit a Red Sox minor league system best of 339. Freddy Sanchez quickly moved up to Double-A Trenton, where he hit well above the 300 mark for all of his time there, including above 400 in his 1st 10 games.

On 2 August, 2002, Freddy Sanchez was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket, and made his major league debut for the Red Sox on the 10th against Tampa Bay. Freddy Sanchez went 1-for-2 with a pinch-hit 2-run single. The 2003 season saw him optioned back and forth between the Red Sox and Pawtucket. Eventually, Freddy Sanchez was acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates on 31 July for Jeff Suppan, and was assigned to Triple-A Nashville; he played only 1 game there before an ankle injury forced him onto the disabled list.

Freddy Sanchez spent most of the 2004 season on the disabled list because of the ankle injury, and did not play until July; he joined the major league roster in September.

2005 was Freddy Sanchez’s 1st full season in the major leagues. Freddy Sanchez began the season as a backup infielder, but ended up playing in a majority of the team’s games due to injuries and poor performance by other players. Freddy Sanchez appeared in 132 games and made 100 starts (39 at second base, 6 at shortstop and 55 at 3rd base), compiling a 291 batting average with 5 home runs and 35 RBI.

Despite his impressive finish to 2005, Freddy Sanchez began the 2006 season as a bench player. When 3rd baseman Joe Randa suffered an injury on 6 May, Freddy Sanchez took over the position.

Freddy Sanchez received over 850,000 write-in votes for the 2006 All-Star Game, the most of all MLB players. Freddy Sanchez made the National All-Star squad as a reserve selected by NL manager and former Pirate Phil Garner. Freddy Sanchez entered the game in the 5th inning at shortstop, replacing perennial All-Star Edgar Rentería. Freddy Sanchez made a stellar leaping catch which was the defensive play of the game. Freddy Sanchez finished the game at 2nd base and went 0 for 2 at the plate with 2 ground-outs.

A local reporter has dubbed 2006 Freddy Sanchez’s “storybook season” for his rise from a high-ceiling, limited-visibility prospect to an All-Star and batting champion. Freddy Sanchez’s coach, Jim Tracy, admitted his surprise and praised him, “If you handed out ballots at the start of the season listing potential candidates to win the National League batting championship, I don’t know that his name would have been on it. Now? He’s a guy people are going to keep an eye on for many years to come.”

Beyond this amazing accomplishment, Freddy Sanchez reached the coveted 200 hit mark for the season. Though it was said that he lacked power, he showed nice pop in his bat by leading the National League in doubles with 53. Freddy Sanchez also tacked on 85 RBIs. Freddy Sanchez led the majors in line drive percentage (27.5%). After the season, Freddy Sanchez received the Tony Conigliaro Award for having overcome his physical adversities.

In early January 2006 his Burbank High School Bulldog baseball jersey number “21” was retired during a ceremony hosted by the school and city officials. The day was declared “Freddy Sanchez” day. In January 2007, Freddy Sanchez was voted one of Pittsburgh’s most 25 beautiful people by Pittsburgh Magazine. Freddy Sanchez became the 1st Pirate to win a batting title since Bill Madlock in 1983. Freddy Sanchez won the award for Pittsburgh, beating Florida Marlins 3rd baseman Miguel Cabrera on the last day of the 2006 season. Freddy Sanchez made his MLB All-Star Game debut in his own ballpark at PNC Park in 2006 with fellow teammate Jason Bay as the starter for the Pirates.

In 2007, Freddy Sanchez was moved to 2nd base, replacing Jose Castillo. Freddy Sanchez, was also named to the 2007 National League All-Star as a reserve. Freddy Sanchez was selected by Tony LaRussa, and was the only Pirate on the All-Star team. It was his 2nd straight year for Freddy Sanchez to attend the All-Star game.

On 26 January, 2008, Freddy Sanchez’ wife Alissa gave birth to their 2nd son, Ryan Anthony. Shortly following on 5 February, the Pirates and Freddy Sanchez agreed to a multi year deal. Freddy Sanchez’s contract guarantees him 2 seasons with the Pirates and a club option for 2010 that could become a guaranteed year if Freddy Sanchez meets certain performance criteria in 2009. The 2010 option takes the place of Freddy Sanchez’s 1st year of free agency. The contract could pay the 2 time All-Star 2nd baseman up to $18.9,000,000.

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