Touring The Bases With…Gabe Kapler
Gabe Kapler was a 57th round draft pick by the Detroit Tigers in the 1995 amateur draft, then began a very successful minor league career that resulted in a late-season call-up in September 1998. The righthanded slugger dominated the low minors at the ages of 20 and 21, hitting .300 with 45 doubles, 26 homers, 99 runs batted in and 14 steals in 1996, then .295 with 40 doubles, 19 homers and 87 RBIs in 1997. But his best season came in 1998 when he set the Double A Southern League on its ear when he batted .322 with 113 runs, 47 doubles, 28 homers and 146 RBIs, earning him The Sporting News’ Minor League Player of the Year Award.
His major league career wasn’t nearly as impressive—he played for six teams in 12 years and never had more than 500 at-bats in a season—but he had some good seasons, became a solid role player and was a member of the 2004 Red Sox who won the first championship for the franchise since 1918. He enjoyed an excellent season in 2008 when he batted .301/.340/.498 in 245 plate appearances for the Milwaukee Brewers, but hung up his spikes in 2011 when he was released by the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 11. He finished his career with a .268 average, 82 homers and 77 steals.
Here’s a video interview we conducted with Kapler.