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ASU's 50 Best Professional Athletes: No. 17 Baseball's Paul Lo Duca

Lo Duca won the Sporting News Player of the Year award in 1993 and is one of the best catchers to play baseball at ASU.

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Going from a junior college walk-on to an All-Star, everyday catcher isn't exactly the easiest way to go about playing in The Show, but that's the route Paul Lo Duca took, and it lands him in our top-20 best professional athletes to attend ASU.

Lo Duca was a star in Tempe, setting records with a .446 batting average and 129 hits en route to Sporting News Player of the Year honors in his lone season as a Sun Devil in 1993. However, he once again had to wait for nearly a decade before finally breaking through on the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2001.

Following in the footsteps of Mike Scioscia and Mike Piazza, Lo Duca became a steady, everyday catcher for the Dodgers. In 2003, Lo Duca posted a 25-game hitting streak - second-longest in Dodgers history - and threw out the most baserunners in the National League.

The next season, he led all catchers in RBIs but also allowed more stolen bases than anyone in the league.

He was traded to the Florida Marlins in the middle of the next season and then was sent to the New York Mets. Although he bounced from team to team, Lo Duca earned four consecutive all-star bids from 2003-2006.

He finally got a taste of playoff baseball in 2006 with the Mets, a season in which he posted career best .355 on-base percentage. Lo Duca knocked his 1,000th career hit in the beginning of the 2007 season, but that year was also the last time he played over 100 games in a season.

An injury ended his season early, and in December of that year, Lo Duca was named in the Mitchell Report regarding his connection with human growth hormone.

Lo Duca is now working as a analyst with the TVG Network and HRTV during horse races.