Saturday, July 29, 2006

Featured Player: Joe Girardi

Joseph Elliot Girardi (born October 14, 1964 in Peoria, Illinois) is a former catcher in Major League Baseball and the current manager of the Florida Marlins.

He played baseball at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering.

He began his playing career in 1989 with the Chicago Cubs, staying with them through 1992. He played with the Colorado Rockies next, serving them through 1995. He was traded in 1995 to the New York Yankees for pitcher Mike DeJean. Girardi is best known as the Yankees' regular catcher during that period, earning three World Series rings in 1996, 1998, and 1999. In 1999, Girardi also caught David Cone's perfect game.

In 2000, Girardi left the Yankees and returned to Chicago, where he was named to that year's All-Star team, his only All-Star appearance. He played with the Cubs again in 2001. In 2003, Girardi played for the St. Louis Cardinals. After a spring training stint with the Yankees in 2004, he retired and became a commentator for the YES Network, and hosted the kids-oriented Kids on Deck. In 2005, he became the Yankees' bench coach. He even managed a game during a Joe Torre suspension, which the Yankees lost against the last place Kansas City Royals. Girardi remained the host of Kids on Deck in 2005, having shot his shows before Spring Training.

After the 2005 regular season, Girardi was named the manager of the Florida Marlins, replacing departed manager Jack McKeon. His first notable action as manager was to prohibit facial hair, which is a policy similar to that instituted by George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees.

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