The Nice List, Angels style. Who made the cut?

By David Rice
ANAHEIM, CA - 1985: Infielder Bobby Grich #4 of the California Angels fields a grounder during a 1985 season game at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - 1985: Infielder Bobby Grich #4 of the California Angels fields a grounder during a 1985 season game at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images) /
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ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 25: Shortstop David Eckstein #22 of the Anaheim Angels signs autographs before the MLB game against the Oakland A’s on July 25, 2002 at Edison Field in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the A’s 5-4. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 25: Shortstop David Eckstein #22 of the Anaheim Angels signs autographs before the MLB game against the Oakland A’s on July 25, 2002 at Edison Field in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the A’s 5-4. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) /

#7- David Eckstein “The X-Factor”

David Eckstein is still one of the most popular Angels who ever donned the Angels uniform.  He played for the team from 2001-2004 and was a key player in the 2002 World Championship team as well.  I had a special connection to Eckstein as I watched him play in college at the University of Florida (I went to Florida State their biggest rival). Eckstein always killed the Noles during his time playing for the Gators.  However, I respected the heck out of him for how hard he played.

Flash-forward to 2002.  Early in the season Eckstein also took part in autograph Sunday and I happened to be wearing a Florida State Animals t-shirt (The Animals is a spirit group who supports the FSU baseball team).  When I went to get a picture and autograph with him he noticed my Animals shirt. He immediately asked me if I was a part of the group and I said I had been.  He said “I love these guys even when they were ragging on me. It made the game even more fun to be a part of.” We talked for a few minutes that day.

However, any time that season that I would bring anyone down to meet him, as soon as he saw me he would nod and then come over and see us and talked to whoever was with me. He would take pictures, sign any autograph they wanted to get.  This went on for the next three seasons.  Eckstein believed very strongly about being a role model for kids.

The final thing I will tell you about Eckstein is his passion for helping others.  He and his wife Ashley run The Transplant House in Florida near where Eckstein grew up and they raise money for organ donations especially kidneys.  Eckstein even went a step further as he donated one of his kidneys to a family member after he retired from baseball after the 2010 season.  Four members of Eckstein’s family donated their kidneys to help their family members.

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