Adrian Gonzalez life and biography

Adrian Gonzalez picture, image, poster

Adrian Gonzalez biography

Date of birth : 1982-05-08
Date of death : -
Birthplace : San Diego, California
Nationality : American
Category : Sports
Last modified : 2010-10-28
Credited as : Baseball player MLB, first baseman with the San Diego Padres,

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Adrian Gonzalez was born on May 8, 1982, in San Diego, California. His parents, Alba and David, knew baseball. Adrian’s father had been quite a ballplayer in his time, having starred for the Mexican National team in the late 1970s. He passed his talent and love for the game to his three sons, Adrian, David Jr. and Edgar. Adrian was the baby brother. The family motto was: “We know two things—air conditioning and baseball.”

Indeed, the family built a lucrative AC firm on both sides of the border. In 1983, when Adrian was a toddler, the Gonzalezes moved from the Southern California community of San Ysidro south to Tijuana so that David could be closer to the business. This was Adrian’s primary residence for more than 10 years. The family moved back north when Adrian was in the sixth grade.

In Mexico, the Gonzalezes lived in a spacious home that had a room large enough for indoor one-on-one baseball games. After work, David would take his boys to a local baseball field near the Tijuana Airport, where David Jr. would play shortstop, Edgar second, and young Adrian first. The brothers tossed the ball easily to their little brother until he became angry and demanded they throw it as hard as they could.

In the evenings, the boys would hang around their father’s games—shagging fly balls during warm-ups and helping in the dugout. All three played Little League in the spring and early summer, and then switched to Youth League ball in Mexico until school began. They played as many as 120 games a season when all was said and done.

Some of Adrian’s fondest childhood memories were of his backyard Wiffle Ball games against Edgar, who was four years older. To this day, both brothers can remember those contests in exquisite detail. Their games were even until Adrian learned how to throw a pitch that started behind his brother's back and finished in the strike zone, which was an old folding chair. From then on, Edgar says in mock disgust, his little brother won most of the games—“all because of that one pitch!”

The Gonzalez brothers rooted for the hometown Padres, especially Tony Gwynn. Adrian and Gwynn would one day share the same agent, John Boggs. Adrian was too young to remember the 1984 team, but he was thrilled when San Diego won the pennant in 1998. The player Adrian modeled himself after, however, was Rafael Palmeiro of the Texas Rangers.

Adrian and Edgar pushed each other relentlessly. Adrian has said many times that Edgar’s work ethic drove him and inspired him. When Edgar saw Adrian’s quick rise through the minors, it spurred him on to reach the majors, too.

Adrian played high school ball for East Lake High School, in Chula Vista, a town near the Mexican border. His coach there was Dave Gonzalez, just like his brother and father. During Adrian’s high school years, Edgar was making a name for himself at San Diego State.

Adrian grew to 6–2 and became a star at East Lake. He reminded many of a young Mark Grace. He was silky smooth around the bag, hit the ball where it was pitched, and had enough power to yank the occasional home run. Heading into his senior year, Adrian—certain to be drafted in a high round—weighed the benefits of going pro against accepting a scholarship from the University of Miami—one of several top programs that had expressed interest in him. It didn't hurt that the San Diego area had a bumper crop of first-round prospects. With Scott Heard, Matt Wheatland, Adam Johnson, Shaun Boyd and Robert Stiehl all playing with an hour of one another, there was almost always a group of top scouts at Adrian’s game. These players are unknown to fans today, but all were taken in the opening round of the 2000 draft.

A scout for the Florida Marlins said they planned to take him with the first pick in the second round. That was only a couple of weeks into a season that would produce outrageous numbers—a .645 average, 13 homers and 34 RBIs in 76 at-bats. As Adrian heated up, his draft status rose until the Marlins had to think seriously about using their #1 pick on him. Over the course of a couple of months, he worked out for the Marlins' talent evaluators 10 times.

In the spring of 2000, both brothers were drafted. Adrian was the first overall pick, by the Marlins. Edgar went in the 30th round to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. It was quite a day for the Gonzalez family. Adrian was the first high school infielder taken #1 since Alex Rodriguez in 1993.


Adrian signed for a $3 million bonus and picked up as a pro right where he left off as a high-schooler. He played 53 games for the Gulf Coast League Marlins and the final eight for the low Class-A Utica. After starting just 4-for-28, he hit for average and power at both stops and was named the GCL’s fifth-best prospect. Adrian came into his own in his second year as a pro. Playing for the Class-A Kane County Cougars, he hit .312 with 37 doubles, 17 home runs and 103 RBIs. He and teammate Miguel Cabrera were selected to play in the Futures Game that summer.

Adrian led the Midwest League in hits and total bases and was named the circuit’s MVP for 2001. He won games for the Cougars his bat and glove, and led the team to the league title. Not too shabby for a player still in his teens.

The organization’s reigning Player of the Year did not disappoint in 2002, which he spent entirely with the Class-AA Portland SeaDogs. Adrian batted. 266 with 34 doubles, 17 homers and 96 RBIs. He led Portland in virtually every offensive category and was named the 31st-best prospect in the minor leagues by Baseball America. The only knock against Adrian at this early stage was that he tended to get dinged with minor injuries. The Marlins were particularly worried about a bad wrist that they felt might prevent him from becoming a big-league power hitter.

Adrian played on three teams in 2003. He began the year with Class-AAA Albuquerque. After a hot start, he struggled and was sent down to the Carolina Mudcats. On July 11, he was informed that he had been dealt to the Texas Rangers. Adrian joined the team's Class-AA outfit in Frisco and batted close to .500 after switching uniforms. He cooled off to finish at .283 with six doubles, three homers and 17 RBIs for the RoughRiders, who made it to the Texas League playoffs. Adrian led the team in hits during the postseason and then was sent to the Peoria Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .260 with three home runs and 16 RBIs in 23 games.

Adrian moved up to the Class-AAA Oklahoma RedHawks to begin 2004 but didn’t stay long. He got his first taste of major league life that spring, when Mark Teixeira went on the DL in April. Unaccustomed to his new surroundings, Adrian nearly killed himself during infield practice. He decided to chase a foul pop near the stands and ran full-speed into one of the many protective screens scattered about the field.

Adrian took an oh-fer his first game, and then collected his first big-league hit the next night against Ramon Ortiz of the Seattle Mariners. He hit in his next three games and enjoyed a three-hit game a couple of days later—including a pair of doubles and his first home run. His four-bagger was the third in a row hit by the Rangers, following blasts by Laynce Nix and Rod Barajas.

When Teixeira returned, Adrian went back to the RedHawks. He played the rest of the minor-league season there, finishing with a .315 average, 12 home runs and 84 RBI in 115 games. Adrian rejoined the Rangers after the RedHawks were eliminated from the PCL playoffs. He finished the year with a .238 average for Texas.

Adrian came to camp in 2005 hoping to prove that he belonged in the big leagues. He scorched the ball at a .392 pace and began the year in Texas as a backup to Teixeira. Adrian proceeded to spand the year yo-yoing between Arlington and Oklahoma, earning three different stints with the big club that covered 43 games, mostly as a DH. He hit a meager .227 with six homers. The highlight of his season was an eight-game hitting streak in early September. All told, between the majors and minors, Adrian batted .303 with 24 homers and 82 RBIs.

On January 4, 2006 Adrian became a Padre. The Rangers, desperate for pitching, traded him along with Chris Young for starter Adam Eaton and reliever Akinori Otsuka. Both had been key members of the San Diego ’s division-winning 2005 club. It would turn out to be one of the most lopsided interleague trades in history, as both Adrian and the 6–10 Young would soon blossom into All-Stars. Adrian came to spring training as the backup to veteran Ryan Klesko, but that changed quickly when Klesko underwent shoulder surgery. Adrian was handed the everyday job.


The great things that had long been predicted for Adrian were finally free to happen. He collected two hits on Opening Day and produced all year. Adrian had a pair of 17-game hitting streaks, one before the All-Star break and one after. It was in the season's second half that he really kicked it into high gear, batting .336 to finish with a .304 average. He was the NL’s top hitter down the stretch and finished with 24 homers, 82 RBIs and a slugging average of .500. Adrian was not a classic power hitter. His homers came in bunches, including seven over a seven-game stretch in July. This would be the rule for Adrian, even as his power-hitting improved over the next few years.

The Padres, meanwhile, won the NL West, marking the first time in franchise history they won back-to-back division titles. The jubilation of the season's final weekend disappeared quickly, as the San Diego bats went to sleep in the Division Series against the Sr. Louis Cardinals. The Padres managed just one victory. Adrian was the only San Diego hitter who solved St. Louis pitching, batting .357 and scoring a third of the team’s runs during the four-game series.

Over the winter, the Padres began hammering out a contract extension for Adrian. He inked a four-year, $9.5 million deal at the end of spring training.

Adrian began 2007 like a house afire, setting a new team mark with 25 RBIs in April and tying the franchise record for homers with seven. He continued to hit consistently throughout the season, particularly on the road.

The Padres were again in the thick of the NL West race. They battled the Arizona Diamondbacks most of the year, but a pair of heartbreaking losses to Milwaukee Brewers on the last two days enabled the D-Backs to clinch the division. Even worse, the surging Colorado Rockies tied the Padres in the standings. San Diego faced off against Colorado in a one-game playoff for the NL Wild Card. The padres took the field in Denver and lost a wild game 9–8 in 13 innings.

The finale against the Rockies saw Adrian sock his 30th homer of the year, which also happened to be his first career grand slam. He finished with an even 100 RBIs and a .282 average. His 46 doubles were fifth in the league and the third highest total all-time for a Padre. He would have traded them all to win that game, especially when the Rockies ended up reaching the World Series.

The Padres entered the 2008 campaign aging and injured at several key positions. Veteran leaders Trevor Hoffman and Brian Giles were slowing down, and Chris Young was hit in the face by a line drive and never really recovered. It was a long season that ended with the Padres coming within one loss of 100.

There were some bright spots for Adrian. In early May, the Padres called up Edgar, who was now with his sixth club. The family was thirlled—it had looked as if his career might get stalled at Triple A. The Gonzalez brothers appeared in the lineup together for the first time on May 12. Edgar was in the lineup at third base, which made them the first set of brothers to play the infield together in team history. Energized by Edgar's call-up, Adrian clubbed 10 homers and drove in 29 runs for the month.

Adrian was selected to play in the All-Star Game. At that point, he had 22 homers, second-most in team history at the break to Greg Vaughn. Adrian entered the game in the sixth inning and wound up batting four times because the game went 15 innings. He collected a hit, a sac fly and an RBI in a 4–3 loss to the American League.

Adrian sagged in the second half, with his power output and average drooping a bit. Although the Padres were long out of the running, he finished strong, hitting in 14 of his last 16 games to boost his average to .279. His final numbers eclipsed anything he had accomplished in the past. He established new career bests with 36 homers, 103 runs, 113 RBIs, and a .510 slugging average. At season’s end Adrian was honored with a Gold Glove. It was the first ever won by a San Diego first baseman.

The Padres’ prospects didn’t look much better in 2009, but Adrian began the year in another world. He was smashing homers at a record pace, including long balls in five games in a row during mid-May. Earlier in the season, he swiped his first base, after 558 games in the majors. He had attempted a couple earlier as part of manager Bud Black’s new plan to be aggressive on the basepaths, but the batter had fouled those pitches off.

The Padres have a perfect rebuilding block in Adrian. Just entering the prime of his career, he is the anchor in the infield and in the heart of the lineup. If the Padres are to regain their competitive edge, they will do so by upgrading their pitching and defense. A-Gon’s got the offense covered—singlehandedly!


For all of his natural ability, Adrian has always been a student of the game. He watches tons of video on opposing pitchers and keeps close track of his previous at-bats against each hurler. Adrian goes to the plate with an idea of what he wants to accomplish and isn’t afraid to alter his strategy from pitch to pitch. More often than not, he is able to outthink the pitcher and get a pitch he is ready and able to hit.

Adrian has been an outstanding defensive first baseman as long as anyone can remember. He learned the position from his father and had two pro-level older brothers throwing to him as a boy. Today his glovework and footwork make him the finest fielder in the NL West—and in the entire National League in 2008. Adrian’s favorite play is to go after the runner at second on the front end of a DP. Most first sackers will take the easy out at first instead of risking a bad throw.

Adrian is a throwback player—modest, quiet, hardworking and involved in the community. This, along with his on-field performance, has earned the respect and admiration of his teammates. He is now one of the team’s most valuable clubhouse leaders.


* One summer, Adrian batted .750 for a youth league team.
* Adrian was the second first baseman taken #1 overall in the draft. The first was Ron Blomberg, who was tabbed by the New York Yankees in 1967.
* At $3 million, Adrian was the first #1 pick in eight years to sign for less than the previous year’s top pick (Josh Hamilton, $3.9 million).
* SportsTicker named Adrian its Minor League Teenager of the Year in 2001.
* In 2005, Adrian and Edgar were teammates on the winning Mazatlan team in the Caribbean World Series.
* Adrian grounded into a league-high 24 double plays in 2006.
* In 2006, Adrian became the first Padre since Tony Gwynn to record two hitting streaks of 15-plus games in the same season.
* In May of 2008, Adrian hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds.
* Adrian and Edgar Gonzalez both homered on September 11, 2008. It was the first time in team history brothers had homered in the same game.
* In 2008, Adrian became the first Padre position player to make the All-Star Game since Mark Loretta in 2004.
* Adrian’s 22 homers on the road tied for first in the majors in 2008.
* In 2008, Adrian became the first Padre since Ken Caminiti to finish among the NL’s Top 5 in RBIs.
* Adrian played Winter Ball for the Mazatlan Deer in 2008–09. In the Caribbean World Series, he had a three-homer game against the Dominican club, Tigres del Licey.
* Adrian’s five homers in five games in 2009 fell one short of the club record set by Graig Nettles in 1984.
* Adrian was nominated for a 2008 Hank Aaron award.
* Adrian is the first player in history to have more than one multi-homer game in Petco Park.
* Adrian played for Mexico in both the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classics. In the 2009 WBC, Adrian and Edgar each hit exactly .273 for Mexico.
* Adrian and his wife Betsy oversee a foundation to help underprivileged kids.
* Adrian’s brother David was offered a contract to play for a top Mexican League team but declined. He was making more as an executive in the family business.
* Adrian and Edgar had shared the field before appearing together as Padres in 2008. They often were on the same Winter Ball teams.
* Had Adrian not become a major leaguer, he believes he would have made a fine mechanical engineer.
* Adrian launched his own web site in 2008,
* Adrian remains deeply involved with his old high school. He has donated time and money to improve the school's baseball program and facilities.
* Although Adrian is shy by nature, he is deeply religious and happy to speak to groups about his faith.
* In college, Eli lived in the same apartment that his older brother, Cooper, used to live in.
* Eli speaks with Peyton once a week.
* After Hurricane Katrina, Eli and Peyton helped deliver bottled water, diapers and baby formula to the people of New Orleans.

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