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Uggla's Knoxville stop helped launch Major League career

10:15 PM, Oct 4, 2012   |    comments
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In 2005, Tennessee native Dan Uggla was bouncing around the minor leagues out west with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

He was elated when the team sent him to the AA Tennessee Smokies, because he would be able to see his family 200 miles away in Columbia, Tennessee.

Little did he know it would be a quick launch to his childhood dream of playing Major League Baseball, too.

Uggla was told he might not see much playing time when he arrived in Kodak, but injuries on that 2005 Smokies team gave him plenty of opportunities at four different positions.

While filling in at 1st, 2nd, 3rd and shortstop, he also led the team in hitting and never came back out of the lineup.

When the season was over, Arizona did not place him on their 40 man roster.  The Miami Marlins selected him in the Rule 5c draft and he was about to realize his dreams.

Uggla won the National League Rookie of the Year Award and was named to the 2006 All-Star team.  Later in his career, he signed with the Atlanta Braves, the team he had cheered for growing up in Middle Tennessee.

Uggla and the Braves host St. Louis on Friday in Major League Baseball's first one-game Wild Card winner-take-all matchup.

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