Best Professional Athlete (2002)

Craig Counsell
Infielder, Arizona Diamondbacks

Amid talk of strikes and steroids, there are still a few baseball players you can hold up as shining role models to your kids.

Craig Counsell is the shiniest role model of the lot.

Undersized and undertalented, Counsell seems to have nothing going for him except heart, an undying work ethic and an exceptional understanding of the subtleties of baseball.

There are a lot of guys in Double A with more natural talent. But because he's Craig Counsell, he's a consistent big-league batter capable of playing any spot in the infield on any day with Gold Glove acumen.

And like the superstars, he always seems to pull out a hit when the Diamondbacks most need one. Unfortunately for the D-Backs and their fans, Counsell suffered an injury in August and will be unavailable for the postseason. Still, if the Snakes repeat as world champions this year, Counsell will have been one of the biggest contributors to their success.


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