Mookie Betts - Biography

Mookie Betts is an American professional baseball right fielder who currently plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball (MLB). Previously, he was a member of the Boston Red Sox. He became the only player in MLB history to win the Most Valuable Player, Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, batting championship, and World Series in the same season while with the Red Sox in 2018.

Betts was selected by the Red Sox in 2011 and debuted in the major leagues in 2014, spending time between second base and outfield. In 2014, he joined the Red Sox as a centre fielder before shifting to right field in 2016. Betts has been likened to former Red Sox colleague Dustin Pedroia because he is a natural second baseman with a high contact rate and a high level of output while pulling the ball. Betts also bowls for the Professional Bowlers Association as a professional tenpin bowler (PBA). In the World Series of Bowling, he bowled a perfect game.

Senior year of high school

Betts batted.548 with 24 steals during his junior year at John Overton High School in Nashville in 2010. Betts signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Tennessee on a baseball scholarship in November of that year, after being recruited by Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Betts was a successful basketball player at Overton, earning MVP of the District 12-AAA league his senior year while averaging 14.1 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals per game, as well as being awarded Class AAA All-City Player of the Year for the Nashville, Tennessee metropolitan area. Betts was awarded MVP of the District 12-AAA tournament in his junior year. Betts was also a standout bowler, winning the Tennessee boys Bowler of the Year award in 2010 with a 290. He learned to bowl at the Donelson Strike and Spare in Donelson, Tennessee, where he grew up.

Minor leagues and draughts

Betts was drafted as a second baseman in the fifth round of the 2011 Major League Baseball draught by the Boston Red Sox with the 172nd overall pick. Betts then revoked his commitment to the University of Tennessee, accepting a $750,000 contract with the Red Sox organisation after lengthy talks. Betts appeared in one game with the rookie Gulf Coast League Red Sox in 2011, earning two singles in four at-bats.

In 71 games with the short-season Lowell Spinners of the New York–Penn League in 2012, he batted.267 and swiped 20 bases. He was a regular at shortstop, but he seemed more at ease at second base. Betts began the 2013 season with the Low A South Atlantic League's Greenville Drive.

Betts began the 2014 season with the Portland Sea Dogs of the Double-A Eastern League, where he led the Eastern League with a.355 hitting average until June 2. Betts was promoted to the Pawtucket Red Sox of the Triple-A International League on June 3, where he batted.322 and reached base in all 23 games. Betts reached base in 66 consecutive regular-season games and five playoff games in 2013 and 2014, for a total of 71 games.

Betts' streak has been listed at 66 games because official baseball streak records do not include playoff games; Kevin Millar and Kevin Youkilis hold the official minor league record for consecutive games reaching base, which is 71 games, due to Minor League Baseball's lack of data on the statistic prior to 1997. Betts has been playing outfield in addition to second base since mid-May 2014. Dustin Pedroia, the Red Sox's four-time All-Star second baseman, inked an eight-year, $110 million contract deal in 2013, sparking suspicion that the Red Sox were grooming Betts for a different position.

Boston Red Sox

On June 28, 2014, Betts was promoted to the Red Sox. He had been chosen for the All-Star Futures Game before being replaced after his promotion to the Major Leagues. Betts made his major league debut on June 29, hitting his first major league hit in the fourth inning against Yankees starter Chase Whitley. On July 2, he hit his first home run against Carlos Villanueva of the Cubs. When Shane Victorino was reinstated off the injured list on July 19, he was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket before being recalled to Boston on August 1.

Betts was recalled on August 18 after being optioned back to Pawtucket in August. In a Red Sox win at Tropicana Field on August 29, Betts blasted his first career grand slam against Rays pitcher Chris Archer. Betts became the first Sox player in 49 years to smash a grand slam at the age of 21.

Betts played much of the 2014 season in the outfield, but after injuries to regular second basemen Dustin Pedroia and Brock Holt, manager John Farrell said on September 11 that Betts will play second base 'pretty often.' Betts played 52 big league games in 2014, dividing his time between AA, AAA, and MLB. He hit.291 with five home runs with the Red Sox, and he played over half of his innings in centre field.

He blasted a home run in his second at bat on Opening Day for the Boston Red Sox against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 6, 2015, becoming the Red Sox's third youngest player to smash a home run on Opening Day. Betts produced probably his most thrilling performance of his career on April 13, 2015, in the home opener at Fenway Park against the Washington Nationals. In the first three innings, he robbed Bryce Harper of a home run, stole two bases on one play, then blasted a home drive into the Monster seats.

For the week ending June 21, 2015, Betts was awarded the American League Player of the Week. Betts hit.581 (18 for 31) in that week, with two home runs, two triples, three doubles, seven RBI, and eight runs. That week, he topped the American League in batting average, hits, on-base percentage (.594), total bases (31) and slugging percentage (1.000). He spent considerable time in right field at the end of the season, leading to rumours that he might transfer there permanently to allow Jackie Bradley, Jr. to take over in centre field. Betts had a.291 batting average, 92 runs batted in, 77 RBIs, 18 home runs, and 21 stolen bases in 2015.

Betts was named for the first time in his career to the 2016 MLB All-Star Game. He went 1-for-2 with a single and an RBI in his first at-bat in right field. Betts was awarded the American League Player of the Month for July after hitting.368 (35 for 95) in 23 games with five home runs, 15 RBIs, five stolen bases, and a 1.068 OPS. Betts became the first player in the 2016 MLB season to achieve 200 hits on September 20. Betts had a.318 batting average, 214 hits, 122 runs scored, 42 doubles, 31 home runs, 113 RBI, and an MLB-leading 359 total bases in 158 games played. He also led MLB with 67 multi-hit games.

He was also second in the league in terms of power-speed numbers (28.3). The Red Sox won the AL East Division with a record of 93–69, but were defeated in the 2016 ALDS by the Cleveland Indians in a three-game sweep. Betts was selected Defensive Player of the Year at right field and overall among all major league fielders by Wilson Sporting Goods. Betts, along with Mike Trout and José Altuve, was named a finalist for the American League MVP Award after the season. He came in second place behind Trout.

Betts had right knee surgery in November.

Betts has a stretch of 129 consecutive plate appearances without striking out from September 12, 2016 until April 19, 2017. When Francisco Liriano of the Toronto Blue Jays struck him out, his run came to an end. On July 2, 2017, he tied an MLB record with 8 RBIs from the leadoff spot in a 15–1 thrashing of the Blue Jays in a regular season game at Toronto. On the same day, he was named to his second American League All-Star Game. Betts was originally selected as a reserve, but it was revealed on July 3 that he would start in lieu of Mike Trout, who was out due to thumb surgery.

Betts had a.264 batting average, 101 runs batted in, 26 stolen bases, 24 home runs, and 102 RBIs at the end of the season. Betts topped the Red Sox in every category except batting average, as he hit just.236 from the All-Star break until September 4. Betts was chastised for his failure to convert balls in play into hits, despite his strong season stats. His hitting average on balls in play dropped 54 points to.268 from 2016. He was also third in the league in terms of power-speed numbers (25.0). This season, he won his second Golden Glove Award in a row.

Betts after scoring a run
AL MVP in 2018

On April 17, 2018, The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo wrote an essay headlined 'Mookie Betts or Mike Trout: Who Gets the Nod?' in which he compared Betts to Mike Trout, a two-time MVP who was widely regarded as baseball's greatest player at the time. Seven of Cafardo's ten expert assessors selected Trout, while three chose Betts. 'It's an honour to be in the same conversation as such a tremendous player,' Betts said. Betts blasted three home runs to lead the Red Sox to a 10–1 victory over Trout's Los Angeles Angels on the same night.

It was his third three-homer game of his career, tying him for the most in Red Sox history with Ted Williams. On May 2, Betts broke the tie with Williams by hitting three home runs in a 5–4 win over the Kansas City Royals to break the team record. He became the first player in Major League Baseball history to hit four three-run home runs before the age of 26. Betts blasted his 100th home run of his MLB career on July 6, his 22nd of the season. He joined Tony Conigliaro, Jim Rice, and Ted Williams as the fourth Red Sox player to reach 100 home runs before turning 26.

Betts was chosen to the 2018 MLB All-Star Game as an American League starting outfielder on July 8, after hitting.343 with 22 home runs and 44 RBIs. With a.996 fielding percentage, he led all big league right fielders. The Red Sox ended the season with a 108–54 record and went on to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series. Betts was 13-for-62 (.210) with one home run and four RBIs in the postseason.

Betts earned his third consecutive Gold Glove, the Heart & Hustle Award, and the American League MVP on November 15, collecting 28 of 30 first-place votes, making him the only player in American League history to win the World Series, a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger, and the AL MVP in the same season.

Betts running for a run
Season 2019

Manager Alex Cora announced prior to the 2019 season that Andrew Benintendi will be the team's leadoff hitter, with Betts batting second, a switch from the team's customary 2018 batting order. Since Benintendi went 3 for 37 in the leadoff slot, Cora declared in early June that Betts will be the team's leadoff hitter once again. Betts had a.261 batting average with 13 home runs and 37 RBIs at the end of June. He was named to the 2019 All-Star Game as a reserve outfielder. Betts blasted a home run in each of his first three at-bats against Yankees pitcher James Paxton on July 26, giving him his sixth career three-homer game.

Betts batted.295 with a.915 OPS in 597 at-bats during the season, leading the big leagues with 135 runs, 29 home runs, 80 RBIs, 40 doubles, and 16 stolen bases. In 2019, he earned the greatest Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) rating among right fielders in the American League, with a 15 DRS rating and the best fielding % of all major right fielders (.997). Betts won his fourth consecutive Gold Glove and his third Silver Slugger at the end of the season. In the 2019 AL MVP vote, he came in ninth place.

Betts after match 2018
Season 2020

On February 10, 2020, the Red Sox sent Alex Verdugo, Connor Wong, and Jeter Downs to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Betts, David Price, and financial considerations. Betts inked a 12-year contract deal with the Dodgers on July 22, which runs through the 2032 season. The contract was for $365 million and included a $65 million signing bonus, making it the wealthiest in Dodgers history and the third-richest in North American sports history. Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the 2020 season has been postponed and reduced from 162 to 60 games.

Betts was the starting right fielder on Opening Day against the San Francisco Giants on July 23, and he got his first hit, a single, as a Dodger against pitcher Tyler Rogers. Betts hit.292/.366/.562 in 2020, with 47 runs (4th in the National League), 16 home runs (3rd), 39 RBIs, a.928 OPS, and 10 stolen bases.

Betts produced three consecutive series-saving defensive gems in elimination games for the Dodgers in the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves on his route to his second World Series in three seasons. Betts scored two runs and blasted a home run in Game 7 of the World Series. His eight doubles in the postseason matched for the most in a single postseason in the big leagues. Betts won his fifth consecutive Gold Glove (first in the National League) and his fourth Silver Slugger at the end of the season. He came in second in the NL MVP vote, behind Atlanta Braves' Freddie Freeman.

Betts playing for Los Angeles Dodgers in season 2020
Season 2021

Betts made his first appearance with the Dodgers on the National League All-Star Team. He was unable to participate in the game due to injury, as he has been dealing with back and left shoulder issues all season.

Betts 2021 season for Dodgers
Bowling

Mookie's mother is an enthusiastic bowler who taught him how to bowl when he was a child. Betts was awarded Tennessee Boys Bowler of the Year in 2010 after setting state high school records with a 290 game and an 827 three-game series that season. Betts bowled in the 2015 and 2017 Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) World Series of Bowling in Reno, Nevada. On January 27, 2013, February 2, 2016, and November 12, 2017, he bowled three perfect games. On November 12, 2017, he bowled a 300 game in PBA competition at the World Series of Bowling.

He won the 2019 CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational in February 2019, competing against professional bowler Tommy Jones.

Private life

Betts is a nephew of Terry Shumpert, who played for multiple MLB clubs for portions of 14 seasons, although they are technically first cousins once removed, since Shumpert is a first cousin to Betts' mother, Diana. Shumpert completed his final professional baseball season with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds in 2004, where he worked closely with Betts. Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, is a distant relative of his. Betts' mother, Diana, was his first Little League Baseball coach. Betts' parents selected his name in part because it contains the letters MLB, which are the same as those of Major League Baseball.

Betts' nickname Mookie comes from his parents' experience watching former NBA player Mookie Blaylock play basketball shortly after he was born. According to Betts, he has never met Blaylock. Brianna Hammonds, Betts' longterm girlfriend, and he started dating in high school. In November 2018, the couple had their first child, a girl. In January 2021, Betts and Hammonds confirmed their engagement. Their residence is in Franklin, Tennessee. When Betts became a Dodger, he also bought a $7.6 million house in Encino, Los Angeles.

Betts' necklaces were well-known during his time with the Red Sox. One was a present from a 13-year-old fan, presented to Betts during spring training in 2018, just before he won the AL Batting Championship, MVP Award, and World Series. After being dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Betts continued to wear the necklace throughout the season, which ended with his second World Championship.

Betts with his family