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David Allen Wright (born December 20, 1982) is an American baseball player who plays third base for the New York Mets of Major League Baseball. He was drafted by the Mets in 2001 and made his Major League debut in 2004. Wright is a five time All-Star and won the Gold Glove Award and the Silver Slugger Award in 2007 and 2008. He also is a member of the 30-30 club and holds the record for most career doubles as a Met.

BiographyEdit

Wright was born December 20, 1982 in Norfolk, Virginia and raised in Chesapeake, Virginia. Wright attended Hickory High School in Chesapeake, Virginia and was the 2001 Gatorade Virginia High School Player of the Year. Wright also earned All-State honors in 1999, 2000 and 2001 and was named Virginia All-State Player of the Year in 2001. Over his four-year career at Hickory, Wright hit .438 with 13 home runs and 90 RBI.

Wright was signed by the New York Mets after being taken 38th overall during the 2001 First-Year Player Draft by the Mets.

Prior to signing with the Mets, Wright initially planned to attend Georgia Tech and major in engineering.

Professional careerEdit

Minor leaguesEdit

Wright was chosen by the Mets in the 2001 amateur draft during the supplemental round as compensation for the Mets' loss of Mike Hampton to the Colorado Rockies in free agency. Wright was selected after future teammate Aaron Heilman who had been selected in the first round. Wright progressed steadily in his first three years of minor league play, winning the Sterling award for best player on the class A St. Lucie Mets in 2003. In 2004, he quickly rose from the class AA Binghamton Mets, to the AAA Norfolk Tides, to the major leagues.

Major leaguesEdit

2004Edit

On July 21, 2004, he made his major league debut starting at third base against the Montreal Expos. Since then, Wright has been the Mets regular starting third baseman.

During his first major league season, he had a .293 batting average, 14 home runs and 40 RBI in 263 at bats in 69 games, and was voted as the This Year in Baseball Awards Rookie of the Year.

2005Edit

In 2005, the 22-year-old Wright played in 160 games and batted .306 with 27 home runs, 99 runs, 102 RBI, 42 doubles, and 17 stolen bases, leading the team in average, runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, RBI, doubles, and finishing second in home runs to Cliff Floyd (34). Wright was also in the top ten in the National League for average, hits, total bases, RBI, extra base hits, and runs. Wright's 24 errors tied him with Troy Glaus for the most errors by a third baseman in the major leagues.[1]

Wright caught a ball bare-handed and over the shoulder during the seventh inning of a game at PETCO Park against the San Diego Padres on August 9, 2005. With one out in the inning, Brian Giles hit a blooper 20 feet beyond the edge of the outfield grass. Wright, retreating quickly with his back to home plate, extended his bare right hand and caught the ball cleanly while crashing to the ground. Wright would maintain control of the ball after landing hard on the outfield grass. The sellout crowd at PETCO Park acknowledged the splendor of the catch with a standing ovation lasting several minutes. This play was voted the "This Year in Baseball Play of the Year."[2]

2006Edit

In 2006, Wright was named National League Co-Player of the Week for June 12–18 along with teammate José Reyes.[3] It was Wright's second Player of the Week award. He was also named National League Player of the Month for June, becoming the first Met since Howard Johnson in 1991 to capture the award.[4] For the month, Wright batted .327 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI.

Wright also provided his share of heroics throughout the 2006 season. His first game-winning hit occurred on May 5 with a 2-out double just out of the reach of a chasing Andruw Jones in the bottom of the 14th inning off Jorge Sosa to defeat the Atlanta Braves, 8–7. Two weeks later on May 19, he hit a walk-off single off vaunted closer Mariano Rivera that just sailed over the head of center fielder Johnny Damon as the Mets rallied to beat the Yankees in the first game of the 2006 Subway Series, 7–6. He capped off the month on Memorial Day, May 29, with a single to the wall in left-center field off Arizona Diamondbacks closer José Valverde scoring José Reyes from first base as the Mets defeated Arizona, 8–7. Wright also made a game-saving stop at 3rd base of a would-be game-tying single by Mike Lieberthal for the final out of a 4–3 Mets victory over Philadelphia on August 5.

Wright was voted on to his first MLB All-Star Game as the starting third baseman for the NL. During the 2006 season, Wright collected 74 RBI before the All-Star Break, breaking the Mets record previously held by Mike Piazza, who had 72 RBI in 2000. Wright also participated in the 2006 Home Run Derby, reaching the final round but finishing second to Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies. He hit 22 home runs in the contest, including 16 in the first round, the third highest total in any one round in the history of the Home Run Derby.[5] The following night, he hit a home run in his first All-Star Game at-bat off American League starting pitcher Kenny Rogers.

Wright ranked among the club's top three hitters in all offensive categories for the 2006 Mets, who were the second most run-scoring team in the National League. Fans at Shea Stadium have routinely greeted Wright's performances with chants of "M-V-P, M-V-P." According to then teammate Tom Glavine, "He's probably been our most clutch hitter over the first half of the season and he's certainly thrown his hat into the MVP talks."[6]

On August 6, 2006, Wright signed a 6-year contract extension with the Mets worth $55 million, as well as a $1.5 million signing bonus. The contract will pay him $1 million in 2007, $5 million in 2008, $7.5 million in 2009, $10 million in 2010, $14 million in 2011, and $15 million in 2012. The contract also contains a club option for 2013 which is worth $16 million. Wright has already announced that he will donate $1.5 million to the Mets Foundation throughout the course of this contract.[7]

The Mets captured the NL East title in 2006 and returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2000. Wright struggled in his first and only postseason, going 4–25 (.160) in the Mets' NLCS loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, and batting a mere .216 in 10 postseason games.

Wright participated in the 2006 Major League Baseball Japan All-Star Series along with fellow teammates José Reyes, Julio Franco, and John Maine.

2007Edit

As of April 19, 2007, Wright had a hit streak of 26 regular season games; the previous team record was 24, held by Mike Piazza and Hubie Brooks. He had a hit in the 12 final regular season games of the 2006 season, and had a hit in all of the first 14 games of the 2007 season.[8] Wright's hit streak of 26 regular season games ended on April 21, 2007 against the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium. Wright went 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts and walked once.

On September 16, 2007, Wright became the 29th and one of the youngest players in baseball history to join the 30-30 club, after hitting a 7th inning solo home run against the Philadelphia Phillies at Shea Stadium. He is only the third player to reach this milestone before his 25th birthday, and only the third Met to reach this milestone in club history, the other two being Howard Johnson and Darryl Strawberry.

Wright was awarded the 2007 Gold Glove and the Silver Slugger Award at third base. He also was fourth in the NL MVP voting receiving 182 votes.[9]

2008Edit

Wright began the year with two doubles, including a bases-clearing double, in finishing 2–4 with 3 RBIs in the Mets' Opening Day victory over the Marlins, 7–2. With the RBIs, Wright already halfway matched his RBI production from the preceding April. In the final game of the series, Wright went 3–5 with a 3-run home run. On April 13, Wright hit his 100th career home run, a solo shot off of Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Jeff Suppan. On April 15 in a game against the Washington Nationals, Wright had 5 RBIs and went 3–3.

On August 7, 2008, Wright hit the first walk-off home run of his career, which includes the minor leagues and high school.

On August 21, 2008, Wright went 3 for 4 with a home run, 3 runs scored, a double, a walk, and also scored the game winning run in the bottom of the ninth at Shea Stadium in a Mets 5 to 4 victory over the rival Atlanta Braves.

On November 5, 2008, Wright was announced as the recipient of the Rawlings' Gold Glove Award for third basemen. It was the second consecutive year in which Wright won the award. His teammate, Carlos Beltran, also won the award for center fielders. He also won his second Silver Slugger Award.

On December 22, 2008, it was announced that Wright would be going to the 2009 World Baseball Classic in March 2009 as a representative of the USA Team and would play third base. This position was taken by Alex Rodriguez in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006, but Rodriguez was on the Dominican Team in 2009's Classic and was replaced by Wright.[10]

Wright was seventh in the voting for the 2008 NL MVP award, behind Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, Ryan Braun, Manny Ramirez, Lance Berkman, and CC Sabathia.[11]

2009Edit

Wright hit the first Mets home run in Citi Field history on Monday, April 13, 2009, Citi Field's Opening Day. The three run home run was hit off San Diego Padres pitcher Walter Silva in the 5th inning.[12]

In a season where many other Mets' players have already been injured, the injury bug finally caught up to Wright on August 15. Wright suffered a concussion when he was hit in the head with a 94 mph fastball by San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain. He was admitted to the Hospital for Special Surgery, where he underwent a precautionary scan.[13]

Mets spokesman Jay Horowitz said Wright had a CT Scan, which turned out to be negative. On August 16, he left the hospital, diagnosed with post-concussion symptoms. He was then placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career, joining teammates John Maine, Jon Niese, Fernando Nieve, J.J. Putz, Jose Reyes, Billy Wagner, Carlos Delgado, Ramon Martinez, Carlos Beltran, and Fernando Martinez on the list of players on the Mets' DL.[14]

Despite the injury to Wright, Mets General Manager Omar Minaya stated that there were no plans to shut him down for the remainder of the season.[15] In fact, Wright was activated from the disabled list on September 1, and started at third base against the Colorado Rockies that evening. In that game, Wright wore a new style of batting helmet (the Rawlings S100) that is said to be able to better withstand impacts of 100 miles per hour. He would abandon that helmet after wearing it in that one game. Wright explained that he found the helmet uncomfortable. "It's the last thing I need to be worrying about in the box is trying to shove it on my head. So I wanted to go back to the old one and just wait to see if there's going to be any adjustments made." [16]

Wright finished the season with a career low in home runs (10) and RBI's (72) with a high .307 batting average while having only 535 at-bats in 144 games.

2010Edit

Wright along with Jose Reyes arrived at the Mets's Spring Training camp in Port St. Lucie, Florida two weeks early to get a head start on preparing themselves after a disappointing 2009 campaign. Wright came into camp heavier than he has in previous seasons, adding more muscle to his body.[17]

On Opening Day, Wright hit a two run home run off of the Marlins' Josh Johnson in his first at bat of the season. On April 27 in the second game of a double header against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Wright reached the 1,000 hit mark against pitcher Ramon Troncoso in the bottom of the 5th inning as he hit a 2-out RBI single scoring Angel Pagan and giving the Mets a 4–3 lead. In the following inning, Wright hit a 3-run triple to the right-center field wall, scoring Angel Pagan, Luis Castillo, and Jose Reyes, and giving the Mets a 10–3 lead at the time. The Mets won the game 10–5. On May 20, he hit a three run double after Mets manager Jerry Manuel gave Wright a day off. By June 25, Wright had 12 home runs, which led the team, and was batting .294 with 57 RBI to lead the N.L. On July 4, 2010, Wright was named the starting third baseman for the National League in the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game and became Wright's fifth consecutive All-Star Game appearance. On July 6, Wright was named the June 2010 National League Player of the Month after he hit .404 with 11 doubles, 6 home runs, and 29 RBI. On July 13, 2010, Wright collected 2 hits and a stolen base in the 81st All-Star Game in Anaheim. He is now 6-for-13 in his All-Star Game at bats. He is tied for fifth all-time in All-Star Game batting average. As of August 20, he has more than doubled his home run total from 2009. Wright finished the season with a .283 batting average, a .354 on-base percantage, 29 home runs, 103 RBI's, 69 walks, and 19 stolen bases.

World Baseball ClassicEdit

File:David Wright, 2009 World Baseball Classic.jpg

Wright was selected to play third base for the United States in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. In the second round, with the United States facing elimination against Puerto Rico, Wright delivered a 9th inning walk-off hit against Fernando Cabrera to win the game for the Americans. The win guaranteed the USA a spot in the semifinal round.

PersonalEdit

Wright has maintained homes on the Lower East Side of Manhattan[18] and in Manalapan, New Jersey, wherein he owns a Boxer named Homer. Clubhouse nicknames include "Visine" and "Hollywood".[19]

His brother Stephen was enrolled at Virginia Tech in 2007, and attended classes in Norris Hall, the scene of the majority of shootings in the Virginia Tech Massacre. He could not get a hold of Stephen that day and did not find out he was all right until his younger brother Matthew, a freshman at James Madison University, called and informed him of Stephen's whereabouts.

In May 2007, Vitamin Water was sold to the Coca-Cola Corporation for $4.1 billion. As part of his endorsement deal, Wright was given 0.5% of the company, and thus netted approximately $20 million from the deal.[20]

David Wright FoundationEdit

In 2005, Wright began his own charitable organization, the David Wright Foundation. Its mission is to increase awareness about multiple sclerosis and to raise money for multiple sclerosis organizations and projects. The Foundation hosted its first annual gala at the New York Stock Exchange Members' Club on December 16, 2005, donating the proceeds to two multiple sclerosis centers.[21]

During the 2009 season, Wright and Yankees star Derek Jeter will represent their foundations in a competition sponsored by Delta Air Lines. The player with the higher batting average will receive $100,000 for their foundation from Delta while the runner-up's foundation will receive $50,000.[22]

Media appearancesEdit

Delta Air Lines named an MD-88 airplane "The David Wright Flight" after Wright. The plane's name, along with Wright's signature and jersey number (5), are next to the boarding door. The plane shuttles between New York, Boston and Washington.[23] Wright is noted for his unaffected politeness and work ethic. He has been known to help participate with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. He has developed a reputation for arriving very early to the park for games and being uncommonly accommodating with fans and reporters.[24]

Wright was featured on the cover of MLB 07: The Show, as well as a TV commercial advertisement for the game on the PlayStation 3 game console. He has also appeared in a television commercial for Fathead, promoting the company's wall graphics. He is on posters for Under Armour products.

In 2006, Wright appeared on MTV's Total Request Live with then teammate Cliff Floyd. He also made an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman on July 12, 2006. That same day he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated along with Mets teammates Carlos Beltran, Paul Lo Duca, Carlos Delgado, and José Reyes.

On January 3, 2008, Wright appeared on Celebrity Apprentice to purchase hot dogs for charity.[25]

Wright is a celebrity spokesman for Ford in the New York/New Jersey market.


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