Best Local Boy Does Good in Pro Sports - 2011
Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers
We hate to give a Los Angeles Dodger props, but we have adjusted our rule for right fielder Andre Ethier, a hometown hero if there ever was one. Phoenix native Ethier first gained fame at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, where he batted .468 with 32 doubles and was named MVP. He then played at Arizona State University, where he batted .371 with 14 home runs. He was drafted by the Oakland Athletics before landing with the Dodgers in 2006. Three years later, Ethier had a breakout year. He hit 31 home runs and had 106 runs batted in. He had six walk-off hits, including four game-winning, ninth-inning homers, more than anybody in the big leagues and the most in 35 years. He was named an All-Star this summer for the second time, and he singled in a run in the game, which the National League won 5-1. He noted after the game that the hit, while a personal highlight, may come in second to when he was in Chase Field 10 years ago to witness the D-Backs' only World Series championship, against the New York Yankees. Ethier, who grew up down the street from the ballpark, made it to the mid-summer classic in Phoenix partly because he started the season with a 30-game hitting streak, which lasted until May 7. Ethier is batting .300 with nine home runs, 102 hits, 44 RBI, and 23 doubles. He has been sidelined by injuries this year and last, but we predict that the 29-year-old will be one of the greats before his career is over.