Indian country proud of Red Soxs Ellsbury
By Oree Foster
Sports fans from throughout Indian country will be glued to their television sets tonight when Game 1 of the World Series begins at Fenway Park in Boston.
Jacoby Ellsbury, 24, became the first Navajo to play Major League Baseball this year. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Ellsbury is a probable starter at centerfield for Boston, when the Red Sox host the Colorado Rockies for baseball's ultimate prize, the world championship.
When Ellsbury was summoned to the Red Sox, he was relatively unknown to Indian country. He quickly made headlines with his solid performance, gaining national attention.
When Fenway Park's public address announcer blares out, 'next batter No. 46 centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury', goose bumps will zip up and down the spines of Native Americans when he steps to the plate.
Ellsbury is the most celebrated Native American since Notah Begay III won two championships on the PGA Tour and played in the President's Cup in 2000.
A rookie, Ellsbury, who has roots in Kinlichee on the Navajo Nation and Parker with the Colorado River Indian Tribes, was inserted into the starting line-up during the crucial Game 7 of the American League Championship Series against the Cleveland Indians.
Ellsbury, who replaced struggling Coco Crisp in the starting line-up, had one hit, scored a run and drove in one run as Boston eliminated Cleveland, 12-2, in the ALCS. Quite an accomplishment for Ellsbury, who began the season at Class AA Portland and he was promoted the Class AAA Pawtucket.
Ellsbury has the fans at Fenway Park buzzing with his spectacular plays in the outfield, batting and speed on the base paths.
A keen outfielder, speedy on the base paths and skilled batter, Ellsbury batted .353, three home runs, 18 RBI in 116 at bats, nine stolen bases in 33 games for Boston, after being summoned from the minor league.
While subbing for Crisp and Manny Ramirez, who suffered a hamstring injury late in the season, Ellsbury was twice honored by ESPN as 'Play of the Day', for his acrobatic, diving catches.
Ellsbury was praised by ESPNs baseball analysis Peter Gammons. He has been featured in the Boston Globe, The New York Times and national publications.
After leading Oregon State to the 2005 College World Series championship and earning First Team All-America and Pac-10 Player of the Year honor, Ellsbury is living up to expectation as the Red Sox's No. 1 draft pick and 23rd selection overall.
The son of Jim Ellsbury and Margie McCabe-Ellsbury, he grew up on the Warm Springs reservation in Madras, Ore. His mother, Margie, a Navajo, originally from Kinlichee (near Ganado, Ariz.), where her father, late Franklin and Alice Curley McCabe live before moving the family to Parker, Ariz.
Margie later married Jim Ellsbury, of English and German descent, later moving to Madras, Ore., and raising their family.
While attending Madras High School, Ellsbury was a standout in football, basketball, baseball and track. Every sport Ellsbury tried, he excelled. Baseball was the sport for him. Baseball opened the doors for the talented athlete.
With millions watching television and listening to radios nationally and internationally, Ellsbury has made all Native Americans proud.
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