Top 20 Volcanoes players of all time: #12 Nate Schierholtz

Nate Schierholtz hit 21 homers with the Cubs in 2013 (Brad Mills/USA Today).

At #12 on the Keizertimes list of the 20 greatest Volcanoes players of all time is Nate Schierholtz. The right fielder spent eight seasons in the big leagues and finished his career with 52 homers and 228 RBIs.

Schierholtz grew up in California and attended San Ramon Valley High School, serving as the captain of the baseball team. After graduating in 2002, he attended Chabot College — a junior college located in Hayward, Calif.

In his lone season at Chabot, Schierholtz was an All-American. He was drafted in 2003 in the second round of the Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft by the San Francisco Giants. He began his minor league career in the Arizona Rookie League. After batting .400 in 11 games, he was promoted to the Volcanoes.

Schierholtz batted .306 for the Volcanoes with 38 hits, three home runs and 29 RBIs, leading the Volcanoes to a Northwest League Championship Series appearance. He began the 2004 season with the Hagerstown Suns in full-season A-ball and made the South Atlantic League All-Star Game. He batted .296 with 53 RBIs in 58 games and was leading the league in home runs (15) and extra-base hits (37) before getting promoted to the San Jose Giants.

Schierholtz played 62 games in high A-ball for San Jose and batted .295. He spent the full season with San Jose the following year and was fifth in the league in batting average (.319) and hits (160).

Schierholtz also batted .333 in the playoffs and helped San Jose win the California League Championship.

After getting off to a hot start in 2007 in Triple-A with the Fresno Grizzlies, Schierholtz was called up by the Giants on June 11. He got a base hit in his first at-bat against A.J. Burnett of the Toronto Blue Jays.

During his first stint with the Giants, Schierholtz was getting the majority of starts in right field, batting .325 in 40 at-bats. On June 23, 2007, Schierholtz had his first walk-off hit in the Giants 6-5 win over the New York Yankees. However, he was sent back down to Triple-A to make room on the roster for Rich Aurilia, who was returning from the disabled list.

Schierholtz returned to the Giants in September of 2007 and hit .304 with 34 hits and five doubles in 39 games. He attended spring training with the Giants in 2008, but was sent back to Fresno to begin the season.

Schierholtz was batting .314 with 15 homers and 65 RBIs for the Grizzlies before getting selected to the U.S Olympic Baseball Team — which ended up winning a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics. In September, he was recalled by San Francisco and made an impact for the Giants immediately.

On Sept. 3, 2008, Schierholtz recorded his first four-hit game in a 9-2 win over the Colorado Rockies. Three days later, he hit his Major League home run in a 7-6 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Schierholtz had his first full season with the Giants in 2009. He started the year as a reserve, but ended up earning more playing time two months into the season. His main highlight of the year came on June 28, 2009 when he hit an inside-the-park home run against the Milwaukee Brewers, which was only the fourth in AT&T Park history.

But after going on the disabled list for two weeks with a bruised hip, Schierholtz’s playing time dwindled when he returned to the team. However, he still ended the year with a .276 batting average in 116 games.

Schierholtz appeared in a career-high of 137 games with the Giants in 2010, batting .242 with 55 hits. He started for the first part of the season before being relegated to a substitution role as a defensive replacement and pinch-hitter.

Schierholtz appeared in 11 of the Giants 15 postseason games in 2010, most of them coming as a defensive replacement. He recorded his first playoff RBI in game one of the World Series in San Francisco’s 11-7 win over the Texas Rangers. In game four of the World Series, Schierholtz got the start in right field — the Giants won the game 4-0 and went on to win the series in five games.

In 2011, Schierholtz spent the majority of the year as a starter and had his most productive season as a member of the Giants, batting .278 with nine homers and 41 RBIs. On July 6, 2011, Schierholtz had his first multi-homer game in a 6-5 win against the San Diego Padres — his second home run was a walk-off in the bottom of the 14th.

Schierholtz started the season as a bench player in 2012, but was moved to the starting lineup later in the season. In 77 games, Schierholtz batted .251 with 44 hits, five homers and 16 RBIs. On July 31, 2012, Schierholtz was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, along with two minor leaguers, for Hunter Pence.

In his first game with Philadelphia, Schierholtz hit a home run in the Phillies 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals. After spending a couple weeks on the disabled list with a foot injury, Schierholtz delivered a game-winning RBI-single to give the Phillies a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Sept. 7, 2012. In his 33 games with the Phillies, Schierholtz batted .273.

On Dec. 5, 2012, Schierholtz signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs worth $2.25 million for the 2013 season, which ended up being his best in the big leagues.

Schierholtz had a career-high 10-game hit-streak in June of 2013. He also had two triples in a game for the first time in his career in a 6-5 win over the Cincinnati Reds. On Aug. 19, 2013, Schierholtz had a career-high six RBIs, and a pair of homers, in the Cubs 11-1 win over the Nationals.

On the season, Schierholtz had 116 hits, 32 doubles, 21 homers, 56 runs scored and 68 RBIs — all of which were career-bests.

Schierholtz re-signed with the Cubs in 2014 on a one-year, $5 million deal, but couldn’t achieve the same level of production that he did the previous season. After hitting .192 in 99 games, he was released by the Cubs.

The Nationals picked up Schierholtz on waivers on August 18, 2014. He hit just .225 with one homer in 23 games with the Nationals.

Schierholtz made the Washington playoff roster after the Nationals won the National League East. In the National League Division Series against his old team, the Giants, Schierholtz reached base in all four of his plate appearances in the series — San Francisco won the series in four games.

Schierholtz’s last season of professional baseball was played in Japan with the Hiroshima Carp. He hit .250 with 10 homers and 30 RBIs in 65 games.