Spending six years on the minors-to-majors shuttle and battling injuries, Paquette had spent just one full year in the majors (in 1995) before becoming a regular for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2000. Frequent trips to the disabled list had continually slowed Paquette's development, and he was signed and released by the Oakland Athletics, Kansas City Royals, and New York Mets organizations before arriving in St. Louis as a throw-in to the deal that sent Shawon Dunston to Queens on July 3, 1999.
Finally healthy after a season-ending ankle-injury in 1998, Paquette hit four home runs in 43 at-bats as a major contributor to the Cardinals' 1999 playoff run. Assured of a roster spot in 2000, Paquette's versatility and consistent, if strikeout-prone, bat made him one of the most useful Cardinals on Tony LaRussa's bench. He played every position except for pitcher or catcher in 2000, and after the departure of Fernando Tatis after the season he got regular playing time at the hot corner in 2001.
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