Born: February 2, 1975
Town: Passaic, New Jersey
Mark Thomas DeRosa was born February 26, 1975 in Passaic. Mark attended Bergen Catholic High School in Oradell, where he was the top hitter on the baseball team and the quarterback of the football team. Among his gridiron teammates were running back Mark Finn, who would also play with him in the Penn backfield.
Mark earned all-state recognition as a senior in both sports for the Crusaders. In 1993, Mark was accepted at the University of Pennsylvania and studied at Penn’s Wharton School. He was the Quakers’ starting quarterback for three years—leading the school to a pair of Ivy League titles—and also played baseball for three seasons.
The Atlanta Braves drafted Mark at the end of his junior year and he decided to enter pro baseball. He would graduate from Penn in 1997. He played shortstop in the Braves’ minor league system and was called up to the majors for the first time in 1998. Mark finally stuck with the team in 2001. His live bat and ability to play multiple positions made him a valuable utilityman for a team that went to the postseason every year.
In 2005, Mark signed a free agent deal with the Texas Rangers. In 2006, he became an everyday player for the first time at age 31, playing the outfield and second base. He responded with career highs in doubles, homers and RBIs, and batted .296. That performance earned him a generous free agent contract from the Chicago Cubs, where he manned second base for two seasons and hit 20 homers for the first time.
The Cubs traded Mark to the Cleveland Indians prior to the 2009 seasons, and during that season the Indians traded him to the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Chris Perez. Near the end of the year, he tore the tendon sheath on his wrist. Mark could not stay healthy after signing with the San Francisco Giants in 2010, and was unable to make much of a contribution to their pennant run. He caught on with the Washington Nationals in 2012, but spent more time on the DL and the bench than on the field. For the young Nats, however, he provided sterling clubhouse leadership and was one of the reasons they finished with the best record in baseball.
Through 2012, Mark had played in 1,153 big-league games, manning every position except pitcher, catcher and center field. He has a .270 lifetime average in the regular season and .358 in postseason play. He played the 2013 season with the Toronto Blue Jays and retired shortly after slugging his 100th career home run. In 2014, he joined the MLB Network team as a studio analyst.