Childhood & Early Life
He was born on September 11, 1983, in Madras, Oregon, US, to Jim and Margie Ellsbury. He was the eldest of their four children. His father was of English and German descent and worked as a forester for the ‘Bureau of Indian Affairs.’ His mother, a full-blooded Navajo, was a descendent of the 19th-century tribal leader Granado Mucho.
His family relocated from the ‘Warm Springs Indian Reservation’ to Madras, Oregon, when he was in kindergarten. He and his siblings grew up as members of ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon).’ However, the brothers, including Jacoby, ceased to attend services when the latter was in his teens.
Young Jacoby, like his other brothers, was into sports. He played baseball, basketball, and football. He was the fastest runner and best jumper among the siblings.
He got enrolled at the ‘Madras High School’ in 1998, where he eventually lettered in five sports. He played ‘Little League’ baseball, with teammates who were much older to him. He hit .537 with 65 stolen bases during his senior year in baseball and ended his football career with nine interceptions and six kickoff returns for touchdowns. He had an average of 23.6 points and 4.4 blocks per game in basketball.
He did not sign with the ‘Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ who included him in the 23rd round of the 2002 ‘MLB’ draft and instead, went on to ‘Oregon State University,’ where he played college baseball for three years.
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The 2005 ‘MLB’ draft saw him being included by the ‘Boston Red Sox’ in the 1st round as 23rd overall. He turned professional on July 14 that year, playing with the ‘Lowell Spinners,’ a ‘Boston Red Sox’- affiliated ‘Class A-Short-Season’ minor league baseball team, during the ‘New York–Penn League.’ He garnered three stolen bases in a game on September 7, 2005, and with that, tied an earlier record of the ‘Lowell Spinners.’
Moving on, he played in other minor league baseball teams affiliated to the ‘Boston Red Sox,’ such as the ‘Wilmington Blue Rocks’ of the ‘Class A-Advanced Carolina League,’ the ‘Portland Sea Dogs’ of the ‘Class AA Eastern League,’ and the ‘Pawtucket Red Sox’ of the ‘Class AAA International League.’
During his stint with the ‘Portland Sea Dogs,’ after he garnered a batting average of .400 with one home run as also safely hit in seven consecutive games, he was named the ‘Eastern League Player of the Week’ for the week August 6 to13, 2006.
He was chosen by the ‘Boston Red Sox’ as their ‘Minor League Defensive Player of the Year’ and the ‘Baserunner of the Year’ in both seasons 2006 and 2007.
He made his ‘MLB’ debut in center field on June 30, 2007, for the ‘Boston Red Sox,’ thereby becoming the first Native American of Navajo descent to have played in the major leagues. Following six games on July 5 that year, he was optioned back to the ‘Pawtucket Red Sox.’
He was called back by the ‘Boston Red Sox’ on August 17, 2007, and again optioned back to ‘Pawtucket’ after a game, only to be called back again when the MLB roster expanded to 40 players on September 1 that year.
An article of ‘The New York Times,’ published in September 2007, mentioned him as a "cult hero" with "speed, improved defense, and unbridled enthusiasm.” That month, he was named the ‘American League Rookie of the Month.’ He went on to qualify as a rookie for the 2008 season, with less than 130 major league at-bats.
The 103rd edition of ‘MLB’s championship series, the 2007 ‘World Series,’ which started on October 24 and ended on October 28 that year, saw the ‘Boston Red Sox’ winning the ‘World Series’ in a four-game sweep over the ‘Colorado Rockies.’
During the third game of the 2007 ‘World Series’ on October 27, Jacoby’s four hits made him the first rookie to hit two doubles in the same inning of a ‘World Series’ game. This feat marked him as the third rookie in the history of the series to garner four hits in a game, after Freddie Lindstrom of the ‘New York Giants’ in the fifth game of the 1924 ‘World Series’ and Joe Garagiola of the ‘Cardinals’ in the fourth game of the 1946 ‘World Series.’
On June 15, 2008, he scored his 32nd stolen base of that season and with this, he broke a 100-year-old ‘Boston Red Sox’ rookie record set by American baseball second baseman Amby McConnell.
In 2009, he set many new records, breaking the franchise’s old records. He set a record for the most errorless total chances by a center fielder, with 433 on April 15. He also set a single-season record for stolen bases, with 55 steals, earning the 55th one on August 25. ‘This Year in Baseball Awards’ (presently called the ‘Esurance MLB Awards’) saw him winning the ‘Defensive Player of the Year’ award in 2009.
In September 2011, he joined the 30–30 club, thereby becoming the first ‘Boston Red Sox’ member to achieve this feat. That year, he also won his first ‘Gold Glove Award’ and a ‘Silver Slugger Award.’ He also got elected as the ‘American League Comeback Player of the Year.’ He, however, missed that year’s ‘American League Most Valuable Player Award’ by a whisker, losing to Justin Verlander.
On May 30, 2013, he garnered 5 stolen bases, thereby setting a new record for the most stolen bases in a game within the franchise. He became a free agent after his contract with the ‘Boston Red Sox’ expired on October 31, 2013. In December 2013, he signed a seven-year US$153-million contract with the ‘New York Yankees.’
The highest home run of the 2016 ‘MLB’ season was hit by him on June 8 that year. It went up a record 151 feet in the air. He set another single-season ‘MLB’ record on July 20 that year, by reaching base via catcher's interference for the ninth time in the season, surpassing Roberto Kelly’s 1992 record of reaching base eight times on catcher's interference.
His first career grand-slam hit, which also marked his career’s 100th home run, came on April 28, 2017, playing against the ‘Baltimore Orioles.’ On September 11 that year, which happened to be his 34th birthday, he set a new record, reaching via catcher's interference for the 30th time in his career, thus breaking the previous record of 29 by Pete Rose.