Rafael Antoni Furcal (born October 24, 1977) is a Dominican former professional baseball shortstop. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins. With St. Louis, he won the 2011 World Series over the Texas Rangers.
Furcal with the Los Angeles Dodgers
|Born: October 24, 1977|
Loma de Cabrera, Dominican Republic
|April 4, 2000, for the Atlanta Braves|
|Last MLB appearance|
|June 21, 2014, for the Miami Marlins|
|Runs batted in||587|
|Career highlights and awards|
Furcal grew up in Loma de Cabrera, a small village in the Dominican Republic near the Dajabón River and border with Haiti. His father, Silvino, drove a taxi and his mother, Aura, was a schoolteacher. Furcal had three older brothers, José, Manuel and Lorenzo, and a sister.
Silvino Furcal was a standout outfielder during an era when Dominican ballplayers did not get much recognition from Major League scouts. Silvino introduced his sons to baseball and Rafael credited his father with teaching him how to enjoy the game. Until his death in 2010, Silvino would often call Rafael to give him advice after games. Manuel Furcal pitched in the Seattle Mariners organization and Lorenzo played in the Oakland Athletics system before suffering career-ending injuries. José Furcal committed suicide in 1999 and Manuel died that same year in an accident.
Furcal attended Jose Cabrera High School and was prepared to enroll in engineering school before being spotted by a scout at a tryout in Santo Domingo. He was subsequently signed as an amateur free agent by the Atlanta Braves on November 9, 1996 for $5,000.
He began his professional career as a second baseman with the Gulf Coast Braves in 1997. The following season, with the Danville Braves he hit .328 and stole a league record 60 bases in only 66 games. He was named Danville's Player of the Year and Appalachian League All-Star Second Baseman.
In 1999, he switched to shortstop and joined the Macon Braves in "A" ball and hit .337 with 73 stolen bases in 83 games. He was transferred to the advanced "A" team in Myrtle Beach and hit .293 for them with 23 steals in 43 games. He led all of minor league baseball with 96 steals total. He was named to Baseball America's first team All-Star team and the South Atlantic League All-Star team. In addition, he was the Braves Minor League Player of the Year, the South Atlantic League Most Outstanding Prospect and a Class A All-Star.
An injury to Braves shortstop Walt Weiss prior to the 2000 season led to Furcal improbably making the jump from "A" ball to the Major League roster. He made his Major League debut on April 4, 2000 against the Colorado Rockies, getting 2 hits in 4 at-bats. His first hit was against Rockies pitcher Rolando Arrojo.
Furcal went on to hit .295 with 40 stolen bases for the Braves and won the National League Rookie of the Year Award that year.
He missed most of the 2001 season because of a dislocated left shoulder, suffered while stealing second base in a July 6 game at Boston.
The Braves learned Furcal's true age, then 23, at the start of the 2002 season. Before then, he had claimed he was only 21. He returned to the starting lineup that season and tied a modern Major League record with three triples in a game on April 21 against Florida.
Furcal completed an unassisted triple play for the Braves against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 10, 2003. It was the 12th in baseball history. In the fifth inning, the shortstop caught pitcher Woody Williams' liner with the runners moving in a hit and run attempt, stepped on second base to retire catcher Mike Matheny (who later became Furcal's manager in St. Louis) and tagged Orlando Palmeiro before he could return to first.
He was selected to the National League All-Star Team as a reserve in 2003.
In September 2004, during his final season with the Braves, he was arrested for drunk driving, violating his probation dating from an earlier drunk driving arrest in June 2000. Furcal was ordered to serve 21 days in jail. In an unusual arrangement, the beginning of the jail term was contingent upon the Braves' situation on the playoffs. Once the Braves were eliminated from post-season action, Furcal served his time.
On December 7, 2005, Furcal signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers for three years and $39 million. In September 2006 Furcal was selected as the inaugural winner of the Roy Campanella Award, given to the Dodgers player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher. The award was voted on by only his teammates.
In May 2007, he became one of only five Major League players to get 4 hits in each of 3 consecutive games.
Early in 2008, he suffered a back injury that kept him sidelined for most of the season, not returning until right before the playoffs started.
In the fifth inning of Game Five the 2008 National League Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, Furcal made three errors to set records for most errors in one NLCS inning and game. He was just the second player to make three errors in one postseason inning. No shortstop had made three errors in one playoff game since Buck Weaver in the 1917 World Series. Two of the errors came on the same play as Furcal booted a routine groundball hit by Pat Burrell and then airmailed his throw behind home plate in a failed attempt to prevent Chase Utley from scoring.
On December 19, 2008, after speculation that he would re-sign with the Braves as a free agent, Furcal signed a 3-year $30 million contract to stay with the Dodgers.
Furcal was added to the 2010 National League All-Star team as a reserve after New York Mets shortstop José Reyes suffered an injury and was forced to withdraw. Furcal walked in his only plate appearance in the game. Due to injuries he only appeared in 97 games for the Dodgers in 2010, but finished with a .300 batting average and stole 22 bases.
In 2011, he spent more time on the disabled list than the active roster for the Dodgers, appearing in just 37 games, during which he hit only .197.
Furcal was traded along with cash considerations to the St. Louis Cardinals on July 30, 2011 for Double-A outfielder Alex Castellanos. In 50 games with the Cardinals, he hit .255 with 7 home runs. In the 2011 World Series, he only hit .179 but picked up his first World Series ring when the Cards won the series by beating the Texas Rangers in seven games.
On October 31, 2011, the St. Louis Cardinals declined his $12 million option for 2012. The club signed Furcal to a 2-year, $14 million deal on December 10, 2011. During the 2012 season Furcal was batting .264 with five home runs and 49 RBIs until being sidelined with an elbow injury on August 30. An MRI of the elbow revealed damage to a ligament in his throwing arm. Furcal would be placed on the disabled list for the remainder of the season in order to undergo four to six weeks of physical rehabilitation in the hopes of forestalling surgical repair. As a replacement for Furcal, the Cardinals called up Pete Kozma from the Triple-A affiliate Memphis Redbirds.
On March 7, 2013 the Cardinals announced that Furcal would undergo Tommy John surgery and would almost certainly miss all of the 2013 baseball season. An off-season program of rest and rehabilitation for his damaged right elbow at first appeared to be successful, as Furcal reported for Cardinals spring training. However a bone spur began to cause discomfort prompting an MRI and examination by Cardinals team radiologist Greg Cizek on March 4, 2013, who recommended surgery. A second opinion from noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews confirmed the diagnosis on March 6, 2013. He became a free agent after the 2013 World Series on October 31, 2013.
On December 6, 2013, Furcal signed a one-year deal with the Miami Marlins. With the younger Adeiny Hechavarria at shortstop, Furcal was projected to play second base with the Marlins. He made his Marlins debut on June 13, 2014, against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
On March 17, 2015, Furcal signed a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals. He was released on March 31 and then re-signed the following day to another minor league contract. He played just seven games in the minors for the Wilmington Blue Rocks and Northwest Arkansas Naturals, hitting .240. On May 19, he announced his retirement.
During the offseason, Furcal played for the Aguilas Cibaeñas. He resides in Santiago, Dominican Republic with his family. Furcal met his wife, Glenny, during his final spring training with the Braves and the couple has two sons together, Rafael Jr. (born in 2006) and Anthony (born in 2008). Furcal also has a daughter named Ashley (born in 2004) from a previous relationship.
Furcal has used his baseball earnings to give back to his hometown. When Furcal re-signed with the Dodgers in 2008, he arranged to have the Los Angeles Fire Department donate a fire truck to Loma de Cabrera which, until then, did not have a fire department. He has also arranged to pay the hospital bills of Loma de Cabrera residents.
| Baseball America Rookie of the Year
| Sporting News NL Rookie of the Year
| Players Choice NL Most Outstanding Rookie
The 2001 Atlanta Braves season marked the franchise's 36th season in Atlanta and 131st overall. The Braves won their tenth consecutive division title. The season saw the team finish first in the NL East Division with an 88-74 record – the worst among playoff teams in 2001, and also the worst record for the Braves since 1990 (meaning the worst record through their run of 14 consecutive division titles starting in 1991. Not counting the strike-shortened 1994 season). Atlanta finished the season with just a 2 game division lead over the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Braves swept the favored Houston Astros in the NLDS before losing to the eventual World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS 4-1, in which Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling notably dominated Atlanta's offense.2003 Atlanta Braves season
The 2003 Atlanta Braves season marked the franchise's 38th season in Atlanta and 133rd overall. The Braves won their 12th consecutive division title, finishing 10 games ahead of the second-place Florida Marlins. The Braves lost the 2003 Divisional Series to the Chicago Cubs, 3 games to 2. The Braves finished 2003 with their best offensive season in franchise history, hitting a franchise record 235 home runs. Atlanta also had one of the most noteworthy combined offensive outfield productions in league history.
The Braves' starting rotation had new faces in 2003, but aged pitchers. Opposite of what they were traditionally known for in years earlier. Greg Maddux was joined by trade acquisitions Mike Hampton and Russ Ortiz, free agent Shane Reynolds and rookie Horacio Ramírez. Critics noted had Atlanta had a younger staff with this offense, they would've been more likely to win the World Series. Marcus Giles had an All-Star season as the Braves' second baseman and Gary Sheffield as the Braves' right fielder. Sheffield finished with a top 5 voting in NL MVP voting. 2003 also marked the last season for Maddux, ending his tenure in Atlanta after 11 seasons.2004 Atlanta Braves season
The 2004 Atlanta Braves season marked the franchise's 39th season in Atlanta and 134th overall. The Braves won their 13th consecutive division title under Manager of the Year Bobby Cox, finishing 10 games ahead of the second-place Philadelphia Phillies. The Braves lost the 2004 Divisional Series to the Houston Astros, 3 games to 2.
J. D. Drew replaced Gary Sheffield (lost to the Yankees in free agency) in the outfield, free agent John Thomson joined the rotation, and rookies Adam LaRoche and Charles Thomas saw significant playing time on a younger 2004 Braves team.2004 National League Division Series
The 2004 National League Division Series (NLDS), the opening round of the 2004 National League playoffs, began on Tuesday, October 5, and ended on Monday, October 11, with the champions of the three NL divisions—along with a "wild card" team—participating in two best-of-five series. They were:
(1) St. Louis Cardinals (Central Division champion, 105–57) vs. (3) Los Angeles Dodgers (Western Division champion, 93–69): Cardinals win series, 3–1.
(2) Atlanta Braves (Eastern Division champion, 96–66) vs. (4) Houston Astros (Wild Card, 92–70): Astros win series, 3–2.The St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros went on to meet in the NL Championship Series (NLCS). The Cardinals became the National League champion, and lost to the American League champion Boston Red Sox in the 2004 World Series.2008 Caribbean Series
The fiftieth edition of the Caribbean Series (Serie del Caribe) was played in 2008. It was held from February 2 through February 7, featuring the champions teams from Mexico, Yaquis de Obregón; Venezuela, Tigres de Aragua, and two teams from Dominican Republic: Águilas Cibaeñas  and Tigres del Licey . The format consisted of 12 games, each team facing the other teams twice, and was played at Estadio Cibao, home of the Águilas. Licey finished second in the Dominican League, but made the Series due to the cancellation of the Puerto Rican League season due to financial problems. It was the first Series fully held in the city of Santiago de los Caballeros and the first round-robin of its kind to feature two teams from the Dominican Republic.2008 National League Championship Series
The 2008 National League Championship Series (NLCS), the second round of the 2008 National League playoffs, was a best-of-seven baseball game series. The series matched the NL West Champion Los Angeles Dodgers against the NL East Champion Philadelphia Phillies, who had home field advantage for this series due to their better regular-season record. The teams split their season series, with the home team sweeping their two four-game series in August.
The Phillies won the series, four games to one.
The series opened on Thursday, October 9, 2008 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, with the series being telecast on Fox.
This series marked the first postseason meeting for the Phillies and Dodgers since the 1983 NLCS, which Philadelphia won 3–1 en route to a loss to Baltimore in the World Series. It also marked the first NLCS for both teams since the Division Series was instituted in 1995. Overall, this was the fourth time these two teams had met in the postseason. Prior to the 1983 NLCS, the Dodgers had defeated the Phillies 3–1 in the NLCS during both the 1977 and 1978 post-seasons.
The Phillies would go on to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series in five games.2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 81st midseason exhibition between the All-Stars of the American League (AL) and the National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 13, 2010, at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, the home of the American League Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and was telecast by Fox Sports in the US, with Joe Buck and Tim McCarver in the broadcast booth. Fox also teamed with DirecTV to produce a separate 3D broadcast, the first ever for a network Major League Baseball game. Kenny Albert and Mark Grace called the 3D telecast. ESPN Radio also broadcast the game, with Jon Sciambi and Dave Campbell announcing. The National League won the game 3–1, ending a 13-game winless streak.This was the third All-Star Game hosted by the city of Anaheim, California, which previously hosted the game in 1967 and 1989. From 2003-16, the winning team earned home field advantage for the World Series. This was the first All Star Game the National League won since 1996, giving the NL said advantage in the World Series for the first time since 2001 – ironically, the winning pitcher, Washington Nationals closer Matt Capps, would go on to participate in the American League playoffs after his trade to the Minnesota Twins just a couple of weeks following the Midsummer Classic.
A short memorial honoring George Steinbrenner, the owner of the New York Yankees who died early that morning, was held prior to the game.2011 Los Angeles Dodgers season
In the 2011 Los Angeles Dodgers season, the team was attempting to rebound from its fourth-place National League West finish in 2010. This was the franchise's 54th season in Southern California, since moving from Brooklyn after the 1957 season. The Dodgers struggled in the 1st half of the season but wound up finishing with a winning record thanks to playing good baseball in August and September. They still finished the season in third place. Some positives included pitcher Clayton Kershaw winning the NL Pitching Triple Crown and Cy Young Award, and Outfielder Matt Kemp leading the league in Home Runs and RBI and finishing second for the NL MVP.2011 National League Championship Series
The 2011 National League Championship Series (abbreviated NLCS) was a best-of-seven playoff pitting the winners of the 2011 National League Division Series, the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers, against each other for the National League championship and the right to be the league's representative in the 2011 World Series. The series was the 42nd in league history.
The series began on October 9 to accommodate the World Series, which was scheduled to begin on October 19. TBS televised all games in the United States with Game 1 starting at 4:05pm EDT. Games 1, 2 and 6 were played at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, while the other games were played at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. By coincidence, Brian Anderson, who usually called Brewers games on Fox Sports Wisconsin during the regular season, did the play-by-play for the NLCS on TBS, along with Ron Darling and John Smoltz. Anderson filled in for regular TBS lead baseball announcer Ernie Johnson, who was tending to a son in the hospital.This was the Brewers' first-ever appearance in the NLCS, having moved to the National League in 1998. As an American League team, the Brewers made the ALCS in their pennant season of 1982, defeating the California Angels, 3–2. Thus, the Brewers became the first franchise to play in the LCS as a member of each league. The Cardinals, meanwhile, appeared in the NLCS for the first time since winning the 2006 World Series. This was a rematch of the 1982 World Series (a.k.a. the "Suds Series", with both cities associated with the brewing industry with Milwaukee’s Miller Brewing Company, Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company, and Pabst Brewing Company and St. Louis, whose Anheuser-Busch company is namesake of the Cardinals' ballpark), which the Cardinals won, 4–3.
The Cardinals would go on to defeat the Texas Rangers in seven games in the World Series.2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 83rd edition of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. It was held on July 10, 2012, during the 2012 Major League Baseball season at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, home of the Kansas City Royals. This marked the third time the Mid-summer Classic had been played in Kansas City, with Kauffman Stadium (then named Royals Stadium) last hosting the event in 1973, the stadium's first year of existence. The event was also held at Municipal Stadium in 1960, when the Athletics were still based there, one of two played that season. The game was televised in the United States by Fox.
The National League shut out the American League for the sixth time in All-Star Game history. It was the third-largest margin of victory for any Mid-summer Classic. The TV ratings fell even further than the 2011 edition, earning a 6.8 rating and 12 share on Fox. The total number of viewers who watched any portion of the game was up 7 percent from the previous year, however, with 27.7 million total viewers.Atlanta Braves award winners and league leaders
This is a list of award winners and league leaders for the Atlanta Braves professional baseball franchise, including its years in Boston (1871–1952) and Milwaukee (1953–1965).Leadoff hitter
In baseball, a leadoff hitter is a batter who bats first in the lineup. It can also refer to any batter who bats first in an inning.List of Los Angeles Dodgers seasons
The Los Angeles Dodgers are the second most successful franchise in the National League and the third-most successful and second-most wealthy in Major League Baseball after the New York Yankees. The franchise was formerly based in Brooklyn and known originally as the "Grays" or "Trolley Dodgers" after the trams which supporters had to avoid to enter games. Later it became known successively as the "Bridegrooms", "Superbas", "Dodgers" and "Robins"; the present "Dodgers" was firmly established in 1932.
The franchise has won the World Series six times and lost a further 13, and like the Yankees and Cardinals have never lost 100 games in a season since World War I, with their worst record since then being in 1992 with 63 wins and their best records ever being in 1953 with 105 wins and both 1942 and 2017 with 104. Their most successful period, between 1947 and 1966 with ten World Series appearances and only two seasons with 71 or more losses (one of them the year they moved to Los Angeles after a dispute over stadium funding), was famous for the Dodgers becoming the first Major League Baseball team to incorporate African American players, led by Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella.List of Major League Baseball career triples leaders
In baseball, a triple is a hit in which the batter advances to third base in one play, with neither the benefit of a fielding error nor another runner being put out on a fielder's choice. Triples were more common in baseball's dead-ball era, when teams relied more on stolen bases and hit and run plays than on the home run. More distant fences in old ballparks, such as Pittsburgh's Forbes Field and Detroit's Tiger Stadium, also produced fewer home runs and more triples on well-hit balls. As a result, most of the players on this list have been retired for decades. In 2006, the Hardball Times lamented the decline of the 100-triple player, although three have joined the list since that time. Fangraphs, a statistical website, likewise noted the lack of modern 100-triple hitters in 2013. Of the 162 Major League Baseball players who have hit 100 or more triples, 69 are members of Baseball's Hall of Fame.Hall of Famer Sam Crawford of the Detroit Tigers holds the Major League Baseball triples record, with 309. Second to him is his Tigers teammate, Ty Cobb, with 297, the American League record. Honus Wagner is third with 252, the National League record. Jake Beckley (243), Roger Connor (233), Tris Speaker (222), Fred Clarke (220), and Dan Brouthers (205) are the only other players to have hit at least 200 triples. Only triples hit during the regular season are included in the totals (George Brett, Rafael Furcal, and Derek Jeter are tied for the record in post-season triples, with five).Jim O'Rourke was the first player to reach the 100-triple mark, doing so with the New York Giants in 1886. With Kenny Lofton's retirement after the 2007 season, 2008 was the first season since 1885 in which no active player had more than 100 triples. Carl Crawford hit his 100th triple in 2010, becoming the only active player on the list at that time. José Reyes became the latest player to reach the 100 triple plateau, doing so on April 8, 2012.Loma de Cabrera
Loma de Cabrera is the second largest city in the province of Dajabón, Dominican Republic. It is located in the northwest portion of the country, in the Cibao region.
The river named Dajabón, also known as Masacre, runs through Loma de Cabrera. The same river separates the city of Dajabon from Haiti. Loma de Cabrera has a very popular river falls called "Balneario El Salto", which is a very popular tourist place for Dominican residents.
Loma de Cabrera is the birthplace of well-known merengue artist Fernando "El Mayimbe" Villalona, Rafael Furcal, the former Major League Baseball shortstop, the poet Cristino Gómez, and painter Juan Andújar.Myrtle Beach Pelicans
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans are a Minor League Baseball team in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. The Pelicans are members of the Carolina League and most recently won the league's championship in 2016. Home games are played at TicketReturn.com Field, which opened in 1999 and seats up to 6,599 fans. From their inaugural season through 2010, the Pelicans were affiliated with the Atlanta Braves, before spending four seasons as a Texas Rangers affiliate from 2011 to 2014. The team's affiliation with the Chicago Cubs began in 2015 and is currently in place through 2022.Preston Wilson
Preston James Richard Wilson (born July 19, 1974) is a former professional baseball center fielder. He played all or part of ten seasons in Major League Baseball from 1998 to 2007. He is both the nephew and stepson of former New York Mets outfielder Mookie Wilson. (Mookie married Preston's mother after his brother fathered Preston.)Roy Campanella Award
The Roy Campanella Award is given annually to the Los Angeles Dodgers player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame Brooklyn Dodger catcher, Roy Campanella. The award is voted on by all Los Angeles Dodgers uniformed personnel, players, and coaches. The award has been given out since 2006.Águilas Cibaeñas
The Águilas Cibaeñas (English lit. Cibao Eagles) is a professional baseball team in the Dominican Republic's winter baseball league. Founded on January 28, 1933 and based in Santiago, they have won 5 Caribbean Series and 21 national titles. In 2008, the Águilas Cibaeñas hosted the Caribbean Series at their stadium, Estadio Cibao, which is also known as the "Valle de la muerte", and the Tigres del Licey (Tigers of Licey) won that classic by defeating the Aguilas in two games. Won the 2017-2018 Dominican league title on 01-31-2018.
The team is immensely popular among Dominican baseball fans by the most famous phrase : “La Leña Está Aquí”(The Wood is here), so much that Águilas Cibaeñas have earned the nickname “Las Cuyayas” (The Kestrels) and “Los Mameyes” (The Mameyes). These nicknames are in reference to the team’s mascot and the classic yellow color the team uses in its official uniform.
Águilas Cibaeñas won 21 championships in less seasons than any other Dominican team. They won their 20th championship in the 2007-2008 season when they defeated the Tigres del Licey (Tigers of Licey) in a best of 9 series with a 5-2 record. The Águilas Cibaeñas won the final game of the series at their home stadium Estadio Cibao (Stadium Cibao) by the score 2-1. Mendy Lopez and Rafael Furcal both hit home runs in the game. Furcal—popularly known as “Furcalazo”—sealed the game with his homerun in the 8th inning.Estadio Cibao is nicknamed the “Valley of Death” and many fans consider it the most intimidating stadium in the country or even all the Caribbean. Historically the Águilas Cibaeñas have performed much better at home than on the road. With a capacity of 18,077, it is the largest stadium in the Dominican Winter Baseball LeagueÁguilas Cibaeñas has more former players in Major League Baseball than any other Dominican team. Some current MLB players who played with Águilas Cibaeñas include Edwin Encarnación, Carlos Martínez, Jose Reyes, Jonathan Villar, Carlos Gómez, Juan Lagares, Dellin Betances, Bartolo Colón, Wandy Rodríguez, Melky Cabrera, Danny Santana, Yoenis Céspedes, Starling Marte, Brandon Moss and current Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona.