On the fast track
Red Sox third baseman
Only a few months earlier the image would have been impossible to dream up, but there was the 24-year-old Ellsbury dripping of champagne and beer after Game 4 of the World Series, just four months removed from his first major-league game, six months from Double-A ball and three years from his senior year at Oregon State. In April he was roaming the outfield for the Portland Sea Dogs. His goal for the 2007 season? "Just to make it to Triple-A," he says.
Ellsbury, who began the postseason with 116 career major league at-bats, got his first start of the postseason in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Indians, when he replaced the slumping
"He was the man," Boston designated hitter
No Boston rookies, however, shined brighter than Ellsbury and second baseman
No one did -- not even Ellsbury, who sliced up pitchers at Portland and Pawtucket before getting his ticket to The Show on June 30. He almost instantly became a Fenway favorite after he scored from second base on a wild pitch in his third game in the majors, but over the next two months he shuttled between Boston and Pawtucket before sticking in the majors in September, a month in which he hit .361. Ellsbury stepped to the plate just once in Boston's first eight postseason games a pinch-hit appearance in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Angels.
"To be honest, we didn't know much about him until we saw him in the Series," says Rockies third baseman
It's no wonder Ellsbury -- whose home-to-first speed has been clocked at 3.8 seconds -- is one of the fastest baserunners in the game. Ellsbury, who is of Native American descent, has family roots with a clan of the Navajo called the Tachiinii, which translates to "red running into water," and, according to family lore, his great great grandfather was so admired for his speed that Navajos called him "Antelope Feet." A native of Madras, Ore., Ellsbury -- whose father
During the Red Sox's last World Series run, in 2004, while he was a student at Oregon State, Ellsbury -- wearing a Boston jersey and a wig -- dressed up as then Boston center-fielder