Carlos Felipe Peña (born May 17, 1978 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) is a Dominican professional baseball left-handed first baseman who plays for the Chicago Cubs. He played previously with the Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays.
Peña is the eldest of four children born to Felipe and Juana Peña. The family moved to the United States from the Dominican Republic when Peña was 12, initially living with one of his uncles.
He graduated from Haverhill High School in Haverhill, Massachusetts in Template:By. He initially went to Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, but returned home after one quarter and instead went to Northeastern University where he studied electrical engineering. As a collegiate player, he competed in the Cape Cod League, which showcases top amateur prospects every summer. He was a member of the Wareham Gatemen in 1997. During his time at Northeastern Peña led the Huskies to one NCAA tournament. Peña's career batting average at Northeastern was .324 and finished with 24 home runs in two seasons.
Peña began his professional career in 1998, playing for three different Rangers affiliates. Prior to the Template:By season, Peña was named by Baseball America as the 93rd prospect in their top 100 prospects list. In 1999, Peña played for the Charlotte Rangers, the Rangers Advanced Single-A team. He batted .255 with 18 home runs in 138 games.
Peña appeared in Baseball America's top 100 prospect list in Template:By, this time appearing at #11 and was also the Rangers top prospect. He advanced another level in 2001, this time playing for the Oklahoma Redhawks, the Rangers Triple-A affiliate. He played in 119 games for the Redhawks in which he batted .288 with 23 home runs and 74 RBIs. Peña was also a Triple-A All-Star in 2001.
Following the Template:By minor league season, the Rangers called him up to the big leagues during September 2001, when rosters expanded. Peña made his Major League debut on September 5, starting at first base and going 0–3. Peña finished the 2001 season with a .258 batting average and 3 home runs in 22 games played.
During Peña's stint with Sacramento, he hit .438 with 2 home runs and 6 RBIs from July 2–5. Following this small hot streak, Peña was involved in a three team deal on July 6, 2002. The Athletics had sent Peña, a player to be named later (was later named as Jeremy Bonderman), and Franklyn Germán to the Detroit Tigers. The New York Yankees sent Ted Lilly, John-Ford Griffin, and Jason Arnold to the Athletics. The Tigers sent Jeff Weaver to the Yankees and cash to the Athletics.
The Tigers had acquired him due to a season ending injury to designated hitter Dmitri Young and the first baseman at the time of the trade for the Tigers was Randall Simon who immediately became the Tigers designated hitter following Peña's acquisition.
Peña made his Tigers debut the next day, on July 7, against the Boston Red Sox. He went 3–4 with 2 doubles and 2 RBIs. Peña played in 75 games for the Tigers in 2002 and batted .253 with 12 home runs and 36 RBIs. Overall he batted .242 with 19 home runs and 52 RBIs in 115 games. His 2002 season included a 12 game hitting streak from September 8–21, which tied teammate Omar Infante for the longest hitting streak for an American League rookie in 2002.
Peña played in his first full season in Template:By as the Tigers everyday first baseman. On May 19, against the Cleveland Indians, he established career highs with 3 home runs and 7 RBIs. Peña also missed nearly a month in June when he was out with a left calf strain. He played in 131 games for the Tigers in 2003 and batted .248 with 18 home runs and 59 RBIs.
In Template:By, Peña established career highs in games played (142), at bats (481), hits (116), doubles (22), home runs (27), runs scored (89), RBIs (82), total bases (227), stolen bases (7), walks (70), and strikeouts (146). Peña also batted .241 in 2004.
On May 27, 2004, against the Kansas City Royals, Peña matched a Tigers nine inning single game record with a career high six hits. He became the fifth player in franchise history to do so and the first one since Damion Easley accomplished it on August 8, 2001, against the Texas Rangers. He batted in the eighth spot in the batting order and his six hits were the most from the eighth spot since Wilbert Robinson of the Baltimore Orioles collected seven hits on June 10, 1892 against St. Louis.
Peña began the Template:By season as the Tigers' starting first baseman again. After playing in 40 games in which he batted .181 with 3 home runs and 14 RBIs, Peña was demoted to the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens. He played in 71 games for the Mud Hens and batted .311 with 12 home runs and 71 RBIs. Following an injury to shortstop Carlos Guillén, Peña was recalled on August 17. Following his recall, he put on a power show, hitting 15 home runs in 38 games. Overall, he played in 79 games for the Tigers in 2005, and batted .235 with 18 home runs and 44 RBIs.
While with the Tigers, Peña hit the longest home run in Comerica Park clearing the bleachers in right-center as it took one bounce and left the stadium.Template:Citation needed The home run was hit to the deepest part of the ballpark.
New York YankeesEdit
Peña signed a minor league contract with the New York Yankees on April 15, 2006. He played at the Triple-A level for the Columbus Clippers. Playing in 105 games, he batted .260 with 19 home runs and 66 RBIs. In August Peña exercised a clause in his contract and became a free agent.
Boston Red SoxEdit
The next day, on August 17, 2006, Peña signed a minor league contract with the Boston Red Sox and was assigned to Triple-A Pawtucket. With the Pawtucket Red Sox, Peña played in 11 games and batted .459 with 4 home runs and 8 RBIs. His contract was purchased on August 28, 2006. On September 4, 2006, Peña hit his only home run of the 2006 season. He was a defensive replacement and when he came up to bat in the bottom of the ninth, he hit a walk-off home run off Brandon McCarthy of the Chicago White Sox.
Peña ended up playing in 18 games for the Red Sox in 2006. He batted .273 with 1 home run and three RBIs. Following the season, he opted for free agency.
Tampa Bay RaysEdit
Peña signed a minor league contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on February 1, 2007 with an invitation to Spring training. The Rays reassigned Peña to minor league camp. With a knee injury to Greg Norton on the last day of Spring Training, the Rays re-signed him, this time to a Major League contract on April 1.
Peña was on the Rays active roster throughout the whole 2007 season. Peña had a slow start to his 2007 season, batting just .213 with four home runs in the month of April as a backup player. Peña got hot in May, hitting .356 with six home runs and 15 RBIs as an everyday player and was the Rays everyday first baseman for the rest of the season. He had four multi-home run games from August 26 to September 22.
Peña would go on to have the best season of his career in 2007 and set numerous career highs. He finished the season with a .282 batting average, 46 home runs and 121 RBIs. His batting average, home runs, and RBIs were career highs, as well as games played (148), at bats (490), runs scored (99), doubles (29), total bases (307), on-base percentage (.411), slugging percentage (.627), walks (103), and strikeouts (142). He was second in the American League in home runs to Alex Rodriguez's 54. His home run, RBIs, slugging percentage, on-base percentage and walk totals also set Rays franchise records. In 2007, he had the lowest range factor of all AL league first basemen, 8.73. While his team did not advance to the playoffs, Peña's season led him to being named the 2007 American League Comeback Player of the Year and his name has even been considered as an AL MVP candidate. He also was named the Player's Choice AL Comeback Player of the Year by fellow players. With this award he is allowed to donate $20,000 to Dominican youth under the poverty line.
In 2008, Peña had .227 batting average and 11 home runs in 207 at-bats through June 4, 2008. A day after going 2–3 with a home run and three runs batted in against the Boston Red Sox, Peña was placed on the fifteen-day disabled placed on June 4, 2008 due to a broken finger. He returned to action from the disabled list on June 27, and finished the season with a .247 batting average, 31 home runs, and 102 RBIs. Peña homered once every 15.8 at-bats, the highest ratio on the Rays. After the 2008 season ended, he was awarded his first (and also the first for a Tampa Bay Rays franchise player) AL Gold Glove.
Peña was elected for the 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, replacing Dustin Pedroia and participated in the 2009 Home Run Derby where he lost in a batoff against Albert Pujols in the first round. On September 7, 2009 Peña suffered two broken fingers after getting hit by a pitch, which put him out for the rest of the 2009 season. Despite missing the last few weeks of the season, he still finished tied for the lead for home runs in the American League at 39, sharing with Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees. . Peña's three-year contract with the Rays, reported by the St. Petersburg Times as worth $24.125 million, expires at the end of the 2010 season.
In 2010 with the Rays, he hit 28 home runs drove in 84 runs and finished the season with a .196 batting average (below the Mendoza line), the lowest average of anyone in the Majors that qualified for the batting title. He also started 135 games at first base for the Rays and played in 144 games.
In the 2010 American League Division Series against Texas, Peña got his first triple of the year off Rangers starter Tommy Hunter in Game 4 on October 10, helping the Rays even the playoff series at two games apiece. The day before, he had gone 2-for-3 with a home run. The Rays would lose the series, 3–2.
On December 8, 2010, Carlos Pena signed a one year contract with the Chicago Cubs worth 10 million dollars. Pena will receive $5 million in 2011, and $5 million in January 2012, which will count against the '11 payroll.Template:Cn
In the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Peña donated food and medical supplies to the victims and made fundraising appearances, which he described as, "people uniting for a good cause, people showing their good heart". Peña is also a spokesman for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and, in 2008, was the Rays' nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, given for exemplifying on-field achievement and sportsmanship with off-field community service.
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