Best Pro Athlete: A good-natured guy with an $8.5 million salary
This four-time Golden Glove winner is currently tied for the most home runs in A's history as a third baseman, and is one of the A's best hopes for a distinguished 2006 season. Eric Chavez homered five times in eight games out the gate this year after beefing up 25 pounds in the off season solely for better slugging. A Southern California kid by birth, Chavez was picked tenth by the A's in the first round of draft picks in '96. Currently making more than $8 million per year, Chavez is responsible for two 30-plus home-run years and one 100-plus RBI year, contributing to the big dingers that draw fans and the small-ball game that has taken the A's farther than they should have been able to go with their budget. Haters accuse Chavez of being distinctly "un-clutch," implying that he chokes when the pressure is on. Let's hope this lefty batter and righty thrower proves them wrong in the playoffs this year.