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Native Athletes Looking to Ignite Careers

Native Athletes Looking to Ignite Careers
August 04
10:41 2015

A couple of Native athletes are hoping for big things in what future they have left in their respective sports.

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George Tahdooahnippah

At 36, George “Comanche Boy” Tahdooahnippah knows the clock is ticking down to midnight on his career. Most professional boxers are retired at his age. But Tahdooahnippah’s body hasn’t suffered the wear and tear of most fighters his age. He didn’t turn to boxing until he was 25, after winning a Toughman Contest in Oklahoma.

Tahdooahnippah (34-2-2) is coming off a loss – but one that raised his stock in the fight game.

On two weeks notice the middleweight went to Denmark to face WBA International Super Middleweight champion Patrick Nielsen. He put up a valiant effort against the bigger man before his corner threw in the towel in the 8th round.

On Saturday, August 8, Tahdooahnippah will lace up the mitts to meet tough veteran Delray Raines (19-11-1). Tahdooahnippah will be fighting before a friendly crowd at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Firelake Arena.

Bobby Dobbs, of HD Boxing, expects a great bout.

“This going to be an interesting main event,” Dobbs predicted.

Neither Tahdooahnippah or Raines has ever lost in Oklahoma. As they say, somebody’s 0 has got to go.

A father of five, Tahdooahnippah is a project superintendent for Comanche Nation Construction, and an active tribal leader.

Tahdooahnippah has brawn in his body – and a brain in his head. He holds a B.A. degree in Business Administration and hopes to run his own construction company when his time in the squared circle is done.

Father Time is also creeping up on New York Yankees all-star Jacoby Ellsbury (Navajo).

Already a star player – and a World Series champion – the speedy centerfielder is eager to make a successful comeback from yet another injury.

The oft-injured Ellsbury, 30, is brittle and he’s been spending more time on the disabled list than the batting leaders list. His inability to play a full season was a question mark when the Yankees signed him as a free agent, and played into the reasons why the Boston Red Sox let him walk.

Only twice in his nine-year career has Elssbury played in 150 or more games. As a rookie in 2007 he helped spark the Red Sox to their second championship in three years – following an 86-year drought. The next year he established himself as a star with a league-leading 50 stolen bases. In 2009 Ellsbury led the American league with 70 steals and 10 triples. Injuries limited Ellsbury to less than two dozen games in 2010.

In 2011 Ellsbury put up a fluke year, whacking 32 homeruns and driving in 105 – from the top of the order. He also played in a career-high 158 games. He made the All-Star team that year, earned a Silver Slugger Award and was the Comeback Player of the Year.

He led the league in stolen bases again in 2013, leading the Red Sox to another World Series triumph. But injuries limited him to 134 games.

Moving to the Yankees in 2014, Ellsbury drove in 70 runs, the second-highest total of his career and added 39 steals – only be caught five times.

He has struggled some this year, appearing in 58 games so far. Still, his on-base percentage is a respectable .356.

For his career, Ellsbury has 294 stolen bases and bats .292 with a .347 OBP. He has stepped up his game in the postseason, with a career .301 average, .361 OBP and 11 steals in 13 tries.

A knee injury put him on the shelf in May, but since he returned to the line-up in early July Ellsbury has lit a fuse under the Bronx Bombers.

Only recently he had a hitting streak that exceeded 20 games.

With Ellsbury atop their batting line-up the Yankees are making a surprise run toward another World Series.

“I am happy to be playing center and leading off every day,” Ellsbury recently told The Navajo Times.

Ellbury’s career trajectory points to a solid career, with similar batters including Benny Kauff, Bake McBride and Pete Reiser. Both Kauff and Reiser started out like potential Hall of Famers before myriad injuries sapped their abilities.

Another player who is similar to Ellsbury at this stage of his career is Ken Griffey.

Unfortunately, it is Griffey, Senior.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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