Few major league baseball players can say that they have a fan club that have dubbed themselves, “the Ugglies,” in fact the number is very few- like one. And, that one is the spotlight of today’s Sports legends of the Ville, second baseman Dan Uggla is a legend with the Seattle Mariners and is currently making his mark with the Atlanta Braves.
A native of Louisville, Uggla actually graduated from a Columbia, Tennessee high school. Staying “in-state” Uggla leant his talents to the University of Memphis. Who; ironically at the time, was an inner-conference rival of the University of Louisville.
While with the Tigers Uggla immediately made his presence known both on offense and defense Uggla’s bread and butter was and continues to be his bat though. And, it was with his bat that the young infielder was named an All-American by Baseball America, Baseball Weekly, and Collegiate Baseball.
Seeing Uggla’s inside-out skills, it was no surprise when the “bigs” came knocking. Specifically the Arizona Diamondbacks who placed him in their farm system, where he once again excelled. Despite his outstanding stats the Diamondbacks decided to keep Uggla in Double-A in the 2005 season, a place where he wouldn’t be for long, as the Florida Marlins, long noted for their willingness to try out new talent made the trade for the native Louisvillian.
And, a year later Uggla suited up with his first major league team, the Marlins. His first season on the team was so prolific in fact that he made the reserve squad for the Major League baseball all-star team and was the Sporting News’ rookie of the year, Player’s choice national league most outstanding rookie, as well as Topps’ all-star Rookie second baseman.
This set a precedent, and it wasn’t long before Florida fans found a new infield favorite. And, for good reason as he was invited to another all-star game in 2008, won the NL Silver Slugger award in 2010, and still holds the Marlin’s record for most home runs by a single player during his tenure with Florida.
After contract negotiations Uggla packed his bags and headed to Atlanta to play with the Braves this year where he’s already made notable contributions to that franchise.
What’s to come for Uggla is hard to say, but it would seem that the guy is just getting started.
Image courtesy of Louisville Slugger