Aaron Miles

Aaron Miles

Antioch High School 1995

Had he never played another game after the 1995 North Coast Section championship, Aaron Miles would still be considered one of the greatest baseball players ever at Antioch High. As a senior, the hard-nosed, switch-hitting second baseman was the East Bay Player of the Year when he batted .538 and drove in 35 runs to lead the Panthers to their second straight North Coast Section championship. Three times he was selected to the All-East Bay first team and three times was first-team All-Bay Valley Athletic League.

Aaron’s high school career was marked by repeatedly coming through with clutch hits and clutch plays. As a sophomore, he was named the MVP of the High Sierra tournament in Reno after the Panthers beat the nation’s top-ranked team, Simi Valley, in the title game. Miles batted .417 that year and was named the Panthers’ MVP. As a junior, when he batted .475, he was the MVP after the Panthers won the prestigious Willie Stargell Classic in Alameda. Miles was part of a core of seven players who stayed together from their Little League days through a dominating senior year at Antioch. The Panthers were BVAL and NCS champions, were ranked first in the final Cal-Hi Sports state rankings and were No. 5 in the final USA Today national rankings. Cal-Hi Sports also honored Aaron individually, naming him to its All-State team.

His last achievement as an amateur was to be named MVP of the North-South All-Star Game.

Aaron also played football at Antioch. He was a two-way starter at receiver and cornerback, earning all-league honors on defense. He was also the Panthers’ placekicker, with a career-best 45-yard field goal against Monte Vista.

Championships seem to be part of Miles’ makeup. Miles, who started playing baseball with the Fireballs in Little League, helped the Antioch West Little League Major All-Stars win the 1989 Northern California State title and reached the Western Regional championships; he was part of two NCS titles; and in 2006 he won a World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals.

At Antioch, Miles and shortstop Brian Oliver were the nation’s most sought-after double play combination. The two teamed up on 27 double-plays in three varsity seasons. Both committed to UC Berkeley but only Oliver took that road.

Miles was drafted by the Houston Astros, and began a 17-year career in professional baseball. In 2002, while playing for the Double-A Birmingham Barons, he was named MVP of the Southern League. That earned him a promotion to Triple-A Charlotte, where, in his eighth season in the minor leagues, he was named the International League’s Rookie of the Year. The Chicago White Sox brought him up to the majors at the end of the season, and he made his major league debut Sept. 11, 2003.

The following year Aaron was acquired by the Colorado Rockies, where he fit right in. He batted.293, and was named to the 2004 All-Rookie Team at second base and placed fourth in the National League Rookie of the year vote.

He went on to play with the Chicago Cubs and had two stints with St. Louis, helping the Cards win the 2006 World Series in five games over the Detroit Tigers. Aaron was part of two double plays in Game 2, a 3-1 loss to Detroit. In Game 4, he singled and scored the Cardinals’ first run, then later scored the eventual winning run in the eighth inning of a 5-4 victory.

Ever since his Little League days, Miles earned a reputation as being a tough, fearless player. An off-field incident in spring training in 2000 showed his toughness, when Miles fought off an armed intruder in his room and was still wrestling for control when police shot the suspect.

He retired from the majors in 2011 after one season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, ending his career with a .281 career average. He was a clutch performer throughout his career: In 2011, he batted .357 with runners on base, which led the National League.