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Boston Red Sox select Ellsbury

LOWELL, Mass. - For more than a week, Jacoby Ellsbury has been itching to
play ball.

With the signing of a $1.4 million contract July 12, Jacoby, Navajo - a
first-round pick in the Boston Red Sox, baseball team's 2005 First Year
Player Draft - can begin to play the game he loves.

Although Jacoby flew to Boston July 1, he hadn't been able to sign his
contract or play baseball with the Lowell Spinners, a Level A team, while
waiting for the results of a physical and drug test. He passed the tests
with flying colors.

"It's been hard waiting out the last five games. I'm used to playing every
day, but really we still have around 60 games left so I'll be playing a lot
of baseball," Jacoby said.

His mother, Margie Ellsbury, sent Indian Country Today an e-mail announcing
the good news. "Jacoby officially signed with the Boston Red Sox today,"
she wrote.

Jacoby learned he was a Red Sox draftee June 7 while watching the live
draft on the Internet at Oregon State University, where he is a junior
majoring in business and communication.

"My brother [Matt, a freshman at OSU] and quite a few of my buddies were
there and we were celebrating, and some of my other buddies' names were
called later on in the draft. It was awesome," Jacoby said.

Margie, a Navajo of the Colorado River Tribe, said she didn't at first
believe her son when he called with the good news. "But, then, I just
wanted to bawl my head off. I was really excited for him. It's a dream come
true for him," she said.

Jim Ellsbury, a forester for the BIA at the Confederated Tribes of the Warm
Springs Reservation, said his son has been working toward this goal since
childhood.

"When he was in second grade, a teacher went around asking students what
they wanted to be and he said, 'a major league baseball player.' That got a
pretty good laugh, but he's accomplished part of the way there and he hopes
to have a future in the major leagues for a long time. Hopefully, the best
is yet to come," he said.

The $1.4 million signing bonus Jacoby received "is more money than I'll
make in my lifetime, but he knows where his roots are," Jim said.

Jacoby's roots, and those of his three brothers - Matt, 19; Tyler, 16; and
Spencer, 12 - are on the reservation, Margie said.

Margie is a special education teacher in early childhood at the Warm
Springs reservation, where all four sons were born and raised. The family
later moved to Parker, Margie's hometown, where Jacoby participated in
sports.

"That's how he got to know his own tribal people," Margie said.

By all accounts, Jacoby is an extraordinary scholar-athlete with a long
resume of achievements. Most recently, he was the 2005 Pacific-10
Conference's Co-Player of the Year. He was named to the 2005 Louisville
Slugger Freshman All-America second team and the College Baseball
Foundation's National Honors team. He received the Pacific-10 All Academic
honorable mention. He has hit .368 (229-for-623) with 56 stolen bases, 162
runs scored, 36 doubles, 16 honors and 99 RBI in three seasons at OSU. He
was ranked as the fastest base runner and third-best defensive outfielder
among draft-eligible college players in Baseball America's Best Tools
Survey.

Jacoby is also a hero to the local community, said Leona A. Ike, a member
of the Warm Springs tribes.

"At our local 150th celebration of sovereignty, the Treaty of 1855, we had
a pow wow event called Pi-Ume-Sha. He showed up there with his family and
the pow wow gave him an Honor Dance. Our elders shared with him that he is
not only a role model for his tribe, but for all tribal children and people
and we are all so proud of his accomplishments. He made the community feel
so special. That is the kind of man this young man is - so respectful," Ike
said.

Jacoby is equally proud of his heritage. "Being Native American, I think it
definitely helps especially where I'm at right now. I'm playing with people
from a lot of different ethnic backgrounds, even different countries, so I
think my experience with different cultures will help me. I've developed
better relationships with people and sharpened my communication skills," he
said.

An excellent student, Jacoby advises youngsters who would like to follow in
his footsteps to focus first on education.

"A lot of my buddies were good athletes, but they weren't able to compete
because they didn't get good enough grades. Education is so important for
success in any career, and then just hard work and determination. I think
you can be good at anything you do, if you have the determination," Jacoby
said.