Nomar Garciaparra played major league baseball from 1996-2009, and is best known for his years as a star for the Boston Red Sox. He was drafted by the Red Sox in 1994 and made his big-league debut in 1996, when he played 26 games. The next year he established himself as one of baseball's hottest shortstops, making slick plays in the field while hitting .306 and slugging 30 homers. Garciaparra won American League batting titles in 1999 (hitting .357) and 2000 (.372). His good looks and lean, muscular physique made him a popular heartthrob, an impression that was reinforced when he began dating soccer star Mia Hamm
in 2001. (The two were married on 22 November 2003.) He was often compared with two of his contemporaries, New York Yankees infielders Alex Rodriguez
and Derek Jeter
. Garciaparra was also known for his idiosyncratic tics when batting, including an elaborate routine of glove adjustments before each pitch. Despite his popularity in Boston, Garciaparra was traded to the Chicago Cubs in July of 2004 in a four-team deal that brought shortstop Orlando Cabrera and first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz to the Red Sox. (The Sox won the World Series later that year, their first title since 1918.) Garciaparra joined the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2006, playing first and third base for three seasons. In 2009 he played a final season with the Oakland Athletics. Garciaparra announced his retirement before the 2010 season, signing a one-day contract with Boston so that he could retire as a member of the Red Sox.