His good looks and lean, muscular physique made him a popular heartthrob, an impression that was reinforced when he began dating soccer star Mia Hamm in 2001.
(The two were married on 22 November 2003.) He was often compared with two of his contemporaries, New York Yankees infielders Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter.
The next year he established himself as one of baseball’s hottest shortstops, making slick plays in the field while hitting .306 and slugging 30 homers.
Garciaparra won American League batting titles in 1999 (hitting .357) and 2000 (.372).
For the past three years, Mississippi’s best athletes have been celebrated with the likes of Dak Prescott, Tim Tebow and Drew Brees.
The awards show is presented by the Clarion Ledger in partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi, Baptist Health Systems, Entergy and Nissan.
SPECIAL OFFER: One-year digital subscription for .99 Hamm is largely considered the best female soccer player in history and the player who put women's soccer on the map.
She also played for the Washington Freedom of the Women’s United Soccer Association, a league which folded in 2003. Hamm was married to Marine Corps pilot Christian Corey, her college boyfriend, from 1994 until their divorce in 2001…
Hamm graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1994 with a political science degree. North Carolina won four NCAA soccer championships during Hamm’s playing years there: 1989, 1990, 19. After her brother Garrett died in 1997, Hamm created the Mia Hamm Foundation to raise funds for bone marrow research…
Garciaparra is known at the batting mound for his twitchy and repetitive "lucky" movements in which he twiddles with his cuffs and bat before taking a pitch.