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Erstad Is a Big Hit With Fans on Final Day

October 02, 2000|CHRIS FOSTER

Darin Erstad received his third standing ovation from Angel fans as he walked back to the dugout after grounding out in the ninth inning. True to his personality, he never looked up and never tipped his cap.

But in the clubhouse afterward, Erstad became teary-eyed when talking about the season ending.

"I'm going to miss all the little things," Erstad said. "Taking the tape off. Taking my shoes off."

He paused to compose himself.

"I'm going to be a wreck when I retire," Erstad said.

No matter how long Erstad's career last, it will be hard to duplicate this season.

Erstad's first-inning double gave him 240 hits for the season. Only 11 players have had more in a single season. Erstad scored when Scott Spiezio followed with a single, giving him a team-record 121 runs this season.

The Angels set team season records for hits (1,573) and home runs (236). Third baseman Troy Glaus led the American League with 47 home runs.

But it was Erstad who stood out from the crowd this season, something he hates. He hit .355 with 25 home runs and drove in 100 runs. His 240 hits were the most since Wade Boggs had 240 in 1985.

"If I hit .250 and we made the playoffs, I'd be a happy player," Erstad said. "I'd crash through walls to get to the playoffs. Winning is where I find joy in this game.

"Maybe in a couple days I'll be able to sit down think and about this season. In a couple weeks, I'll be ready to suit up and play."

And the standing ovations?

"I really appreciate it," Erstad said. "I just never have acknowledged those things and I don't know if I ever will. I'm always the first to say that I'm playing for the team. But when some one else acknowledges how you play, it's nice."

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