2000 - 2005
Rafael Furcal
Biography
Rafael Antoni Furcal was born October 24, 1977 in Loma de Cabrera, Dominican Republic. He attended Jose Cabrera High School in the D.R. where he played baseball and basketball. Furcal was signed as an amateur free agent in 1996 by the Atlanta Braves. Rafael is a right handed, switch hitter, who plays short stop and made his major league debut on April 5, 2000 with the Braves. In December of 2005 Furcal signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers. When Furcal received his signing bonus in 1996 he bought his parents a car and built them a house in the Dominican Republic. When Rafael was called up to the majors in 2000, he was to replace the injured Walk Weiss for just 15 days. That year he won the National League Rookie of the Year Award.
Braves Career Highlights
2000: Made the jump from Class A to the majors, in outstanding fashion, winning the BBWAA National League Rookie of the Year Award...Led all NL rookies in runs (87), walks (73), stolen bases (40) and OBP (.384)...Hit .293 (98x334) with 4 HR, 30 RBI, 65 R, 30 SB, 59 BB in the leadoff sport...Hit .256 (20x78) with 8 BB and 16 R when leading off the game...Posted a .269 average (29x108) as a 2nd baseman with 2 HR, 11 RBI and 6 SB; .303 as a SS (105x346) with 2 HR, 26 RBI, 33 SB and a .414 OBP...Had no homers prior to Sept. 2; had 4 after...Had an 11-game hitting streak (19 x 47, .404, 5 SB) Sep. 6-17...Hardest to double up in ML (2 GIDP) with a GIDP every 227.5 at-bats...September.. .315 (34 x 108), 11 SB, .431 OBP...Hit .306 vs. righties (110x359) while posting a .250 BA (24x96) against lefties...Liked Turner Field better than the road with a .338 average (79x234) at home and a .249 average (55x221) away...Only hit below .290 and posted an OBP below .390 for one month of the season, August: .256 (30x117) and a .346 OBP...His 40 steals were 5th in the NL, set a Major League record for stolen bases by a 19-year old, breaking Ty Cobb's mark of 23 set in 1906, and an Atlanta rookie record... Last Brave to steal at least 40 bases - Otis Nixon (47) in 1993...Stole 11 bases in July and September...Hit .389 (14 x 36) with 7 runs, 3 RBI, 3 SB, 3 2B, 4 BB in 9-game road trip to AZ, StL and Cinci Aug. 1-9...On 15-day DL June 13-29 with a strained right hamstring...Had a 6-game hitting streak (14 x 26, .538, 8 R, 5 RBI, 2 2B, 1 SB) May 14-20...Led the team with 3 last at-bat game winning RBI...Stole home on April 9 in the bottom of the 3rd vs. San Francisco...2000 POST SEASON: Division Series: Went 1 X 11 in 3 games, with 2 runs and 1 steal in 3 games.

2001: Braves' offense suffered major blow as leadoff catalyst was lost for season when dislocated his left shoulder while stealing second in a July 6 game at Boston...Underwent successful surgery to repair dislocation July 10 in Birmingham, performed by Dr. James Andrews...Overcame a slow start (.231 BA through 48 games) by rebounding with a .358 BA (34 x 95) in June, lifting his BA by month's end to .281...Also stole 10 bases in 11 attempts in June...Set a career high with a 12-game hitting streak (18 x 52, .346) May 25-June 7...Added an 11-game streak (20 x 50, .400) June 13-30...Established another career-high with 4 hits, including a bunt double, June 24 at NYM...Hit safely in 28 of his final 33 games before season ending injury (46 x 138, .333)...His 4-RBI game in the season opener at Cincinnati, a 10-4 Braves win, also set a career best...Homered on Opening Day after not hitting his first one in his rookie season until Sept. 2...The opening day blast was his first as a right-handed hitter...Missed 6 games June 15-21 with a partial left shoulder separation...Ranked 5th in the NL with 22 steals when he was placed on 15-day D.L. July 7....Transferred to the 60-day July 12...Batted .349 (29 x 83) vs. lefthanders, and .249 (60 x 241) vs. right-handers.

2002: Three triples April 21 vs. Fla tied modern M.L. record, last accomplished by Lance Johnson of White Sox Sept. 23, 1995, at Minnesota; last Brave to perform the feat was Danny O'Connell June 13, 1956, vs. the Phillies...Ranked 2nd in the majors with 21 bunt hits (Juan Pierre, 24) and 3rd in the NL with 38 infield hits...Four hits Aug. 22 at SD and Aug. 6 at AZ matched his career high...Braves went 64-14 (.821) when he scored at least 1 run, starting May 1...Had 4 leadoff home runs, the last coming Sept. 24 at Phi., to raise his career total to 5...Had a 10-game hitting streak (19 x 45, .422) Aug. 14-23, a career-high 15-game streak (21 x 55, .382, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 13 R) June 21-July 6 and a 10-game streak (15 x 41, .366) April 23- May 3...Led the Braves with 27 stolen bases...Ranked 2nd in the NL with 111 double plays turned...Played 4 games at 2B and 150 games at SS...Had just 1 error in 44 games May 14-July 2 after committing 13 in his first 38 games...Hit .342 (26 x 76) with RISP May 31-end of season.

2003: In his 4th season, set career highs with 194 hits, 130 runs, 61 RBI, 15 HR, 10 triples and 35 doubles...130 runs are within 1 of Dale Murphy's modern day franchise season record of 131, set in 1983...Braves were 65-20 (.765) when he scored at least one run; team was 72-20 (.783) in 2002 when he scored; Braves' record with Furcal scoring over last two years: 137-40 (.774)...Tied for NL lead with 10 triples, 3rd with 130 runs, T4th with 194 hits, 7th with 25 SB and 10th with a .324 day BA...Turned 11th unassisted triple play in major league history Aug. 10 at St. Louis; it was the 2nd in Braves franchise history (other by SS Ernie Padgett, Oct. 6, 1923, vs. Phillies)...Tied for lead among NL shortstops with 481 assists, led with 749 total chances and was 2nd in number of double plays participated in by a shortstop with 108...Furcal's 194 hits are a franchise record for hits by a shortstop and his 130 runs are the most scored by a Braves shortstop in the modern era...Selected to his 1st All-Star Game in a vote by players, coaches and managers; went 1 x 3 with 1 run...Hit 4 leadoff HRs, last coming July 10 at Wrigley Field; has 9 in career...Was 25 of 27 in SB attempts; Rangers' Todd Greene was only catcher to throw him out (June 4 in Atlanta); Furcal's other CS was a 1-3-6 putout August 1 vs. LA...Went 443 ABs without a GIDP before hitting into one July 28 at Montreal; finished with best GIDP ratio in NL (1 in 664 ABs)...Reached base in 36 consecutive games April 19-May 28; scored at least 1 run in 10 straight games May 10-20...Hit .345 (30 x 87) in last 23 games, starting September 5...2003 POSTSEASON HIGHLIGHTS: Division Series (Chi.): Hit .211 (4x19) with a team-leading three runs scored and the lone Braves' stolen base in five games vs. the Cubs...Went 2x3 with two runs and a walk in Game 2...Scored lone Braves' run Game 5's 5-1 loss.

2004: Played in 143 games, but was limited to just 131 games in the field due to a series of early-season injuries ... Notched 100 runs for the second straight season with 103 ... His 14 home runs were just one shy of his career best of 15 set in 2003 ... Owned a team-high 42 multi-hit games ... Was successful in 21 of his 24 steal attempts in the second half and he hit safely in 39 of his last 53 games after Aug. 4 ... Was out of starting lineup for 19 games after jamming his right ring finger on May 1 at Colorado...was limited to mostly pinch-hitting duty for three weeks before returning to the starting lineup on May 23 ... Hit his 10th career leadoff homer on June 16 vs. KC ... Was named NL Player of the Week for the week of July 5-11...hit .385 (10-for-26) with four homers, eight RBI, two doubles and nine runs scored ... Homered in three straight games for the first time in his career from July 7-10 ... Hit two homers (second career multi-homer game) and had a career-high six RBI on July 9 at Philadelphia ... Appeared in the NL Division series vs. Houston and batted .381 (8-for-21) while scoring five runs in the series... clubbed two homers, including a 10th-inning game-winning shot in Game 2 off Dan Miceli.

2005: Batted .284 with a career-high 46 stolen bases, 194 hits and .981 fielding percentage in 154 games ... Reached double figures in doubles (31), triples (11) and home runs (12) ... Ranked third in the National League in stolen bases and triples (11)...ranked fourth in the NL in hits ... His .338 batting average (99-for-293) from July 7 through the end of the season ranked second in the NL and fifth in the Majors ... Hit safely in 67 of his last 85 games (.333, 112-for-336) ... Went 46-for-56 in stolen bases, giving him 189 in his career to surpass Otis Nixon on Sept. 21 for the Braves' all-time record ... Went 4-for-4 on Aug. 17 vs. Los Angeles, his second game of four or more hits on the season ... Hit .390 in July, the second-best mark in baseball ... Homered from both sides of the plate on July 31 vs. Pittsburgh and April 15 at Philadelphia ... Had a career-best five hits on July 10 vs. Milwaukee ... Tied a Major League record (7th time) by reaching base via error three times on May 21 at Boston...became the first NL player to accomplish the feat since 1975 (Jerry Grote) ... Set a career high with three stolen bases on April 25 at New York ... Appeared in the NL Division Series and hit .150 (3-for-20) with three stolen bases...had two stolen bases and two hits in the Game 2 win ... Underwent minor arthroscopic knee surgery on Jan. 11, 2006 to remove torn cartilage.
 
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