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1914 Boston Braves

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    Rafael Furcal


    The first major-leaguer ever born in the 1980s, Furcal jumped from Single-A to the majors in 2000 at the age of 19 and won the Rookie of the Year Award in his first season with the Braves. Manager Bobby Cox had intended to ease Furcal into the lineup, but an early-season injury to Walt Weiss forced his hand. Filling in for Weiss and batting eighth, Furcal's outstanding play -- especially his electric baserunning -- eventually won him a regular job as Atlanta's leadoff man.

    Furcal shook off a mid-season DUI arrest and nagging hamstring problems to swipe 40 bases -- breaking Ty Cobb's 1906 record for a 19-year-old -- while posting a .295 batting average and .394 on-base percentage. Comfortable at both middle infield positions, he filled in capably for Quilvio Veras when the veteran second baseman suffered a season-ending ACL tear in July.

    Furcal is shorter than his listed height of 5' 10", earning him the affectionate moniker "El Enano" -- The Dwarf -- from his Spanish-speaking teammates. (JGR)

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