Heart of the Order: Kevin Youkilis

Heart of the Order: Kevin Youkilis

Youuuuuuukkkkkkkkkkkkkk. That sound is literally heard on all stops the Red Sox take during the course of the season. Yes, the Nation travels in droves, and its members are never shy about expressing their affection for Youkilis. Why is Youkilis such a fan favorite? Probably because blue-collar players have always been appreciated by Boston fans, and Youkilis never puts anything less than everything into his job.

Growing up in Cincinnati, Youkilis idolized Pete Rose, which explains in part his own Charlie Hustle-like mentality on the baseball field. Sometimes the critics of Youkilis wonder if he tries too hard over the course of a 162-game season and wears down because of it. None of those critics were complaining when Youkilis was one of Boston's hottest hitters through the first two round of the postseason.

Heart of the Order
With the World Series approaching, MLB.com explores the people behind the numbers on the AL champion Red Sox.

C: J. Varitek
1B: K. Youkilis
2B: D. Pedroia
SS: J. Lugo
3B: M. Lowell
LF: M. Ramirez
CF: J. Ellsbury
RF: J. Drew
DH: D. Ortiz
SP: J. Beckett
SP: C. Schilling
CL: J. Papelbon

Youkilis first became known to baseball fans during his days as a Minor Leaguer, when he was dubbed the "Greek God of Walks" in the bestselling book by Michael Lewis, called "Moneyball." The book focused on the philosophy of the Oakland A's of saving money, and general manager Billy Beane marveled at the on-base percentage numbers Youkilis put up in the Minor Leagues.

In fact, when the Red Sox nearly hired Beane as their general manager following the 2002 season, there was a compensatory deal in place in which Youkilis was going to get traded to Oakland as part of the exchange. Theo Epstein wound up taking the job instead of Beane and has always been fond of the way Youkilis plays the game.

Few players are as glued to the clubhouse television set on football weekends as Youkilis. He follows the NFL and college football closely. Youkilis played baseball at the University of Cincinnati, where he was a two-time All-American.

When it comes to community endeavors, Youkilis has a tendency to be involved. In fact, Youkilis recently started his own charity called "Hits for Kids." The organization's initiative is to "raise support and awareness for the health, advocacy, safety, and medical healing of children across New England and beyond."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.