JAN 17, 2014 3:42p ET
Gabe Kapler was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 1995 and made his Major League Baseball debut in 1998. In 1999, he hit 18 home runs in just over 400 at-bats, placing him third among American League rookies. Kapler's 10 home runs in his first 64 games were the fastest by a Detroit rookie since 1954, a mark that stood until 2008.
Playing for the Boston Red Sox in the 2004 World Series, Kapler was one of nine players on the field when the Red Sox won its first World Series title in 86 years. He earned the Play of the Year Award in 2008, as voted upon by more than 12 million fans in MLB's This Year in Baseball Awards, for a head-first, homerun-saving catch into the left-field seats that helped the Brewers retain a one-run lead.
Before his major league days, Kapler was named MVP of the Southern League All-Star Game and of the Southern League. In 1996, Kapler led the South Atlantic League in numerous stats, including hits (157) in 1996, doubles (45; second in the minor leagues) and extra-base hits (71), and was named a South Atlantic League All-Star. In 1998, he set Southern League records for RBIs, extra-base hits, total bases and doubles. He was designated Minor League Player of the Year by USA Today, Baseball Weekly and The Sporting News, and was named the Tigers Minor League Player of the Year and Detroit's No. 1 prospect by Baseball America.