I first heard of Mr. Uggla when the Diamondbacks took over the affiliation for the hometown Tennessee Smokies, a Southern League Double-A team. In 2005, Dan's only year in Kodak, TN, Uggla played with the likes of Stephen Drew, Miguel Montero and one of my personal favorites Jamie D'Antona.
That year, Dan batted at a .297 clip with 21 diggers and 87 RBI.
In 2006, the Marlins selected Dan in the Rule 5 Draft. Turns out it was a great move for Uggla as he finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting behind Ryan Zimmerman and then-teammate Hanley Ramirez.
Dan would also go on to be selected to two All Star Games and win a Silver Slugger award in his five seasons in Miami.
One of those ASG appearances could go down as one of the worst player-showing in the history of the midsummer classic. The 2008 game in New Yankee Stadium was a disaster for Uggla. Check this line:
0-4, 3 SO, 1 GIDP, 3 E
After the 2010 season, Dan was traded to the Braves for Omar Infante and Mike Dunne. Dream come true for yours truly. Not since '05 was I able to watch Uggla regularly. Now, every time I turn on the Braves game, there he is.
Call me weird. Call me a dork. But we all have those players we watched "grow up before our eyes" and like to see do well in the majors. Dan was one of the few for me. So again, happy birthday, Mr. Uggla!!! Wherever you are...