David Eckstein (born January 20, 1975 in Sanford, Florida) is a baseball shortstop and current lead-off hitter for the St. Louis Cardinals, beginning in the 2005 season. After a college career as a walk-on at the University of Florida, he was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 19th round of the 1997 amateur draft, and selected off waivers by the Anaheim Angels on August 16, 2000. He was a member of the 2002 World Series champion Anaheim Angels.
At the end of the 2004 season, Eckstein was part of a "shortstop merry-go-round," where three elite free-agent shortstops all changed teams: Orlando Cabrera from the Red Sox to the Angels, Edgar Renteria from the Cardinals to the Red Sox, and Eckstein from the Angels to the Cardinals.
From 2001-04, Eckstein has compiled a .278 batting average with 17 home runs and 170 RBI in 567 games. He was voted to the National League All-Star team in 2005, along with teammates Chris Carpenter, Albert Pujols, Jason Isringhausen and Jim Edmonds.
Many consider him to be a "pesky" hitter (he chokes up on the bat about 1-2 inches), although his teammates and fans know him as a clutch hitter who hardly ever strikes out and nearly always puts the ball in play. His size is also notable, as he is a diminutive 5' 7".
Eckstein's name is prononuced (ECK-styne). Despite some media reports to the contrary, he is not Jewish.