Lyle Stefan Overbay (born January 28, 1977 in Centralia, Washington) is a Major League Baseball first baseman who currently plays for the Toronto Blue Jays. He previously played baseball for the University of Nevada, Reno.
Overbay was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 1999 MLB draft. While playing in the farm system, he was named Diamondbacks minor league player of the year. He was briefly called up in , but played mostly in AA and AAA until .
Overbay first played with the Diamondbacks as the full-time first baseman in 2003. He struggled, batting .276 with 28 RBI and 4 home runs. He was sent down to AAA Tucson in June, but was called up in September to be part of the 40-man roster expansion. He was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers during the off-season.
Overbay was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 18th round of the 1999 amateur draft and was acquired by the Brewers in the trade on December 1, 2003 that sent Richie Sexson and Shane Nance to Arizona for Overbay, Craig Counsell, Junior Spivey, Chris Capuano, Chad Moeller, and Jorge de la Rosa.
Overbay was one of the more popular Brewers during his short stint with the team. Fans would give a prolonged "Oooooooooooooo!" cheer during his at-bats. Toronto fans do not necessarily use the O chant. Instead, they have been known to create large and brightly-coloured "O"'s – also seen during his time in Milwaukee – and hold them up during his at-bats. Overbay was also recognized for his time with the Brewers via a bobblehead doll in his likeness, given away during the season.
In 2005, he also played well with the Brewers. He had a career high 19 home runs, surpassing his total of 16. On July 23, he had a career high 6 RBI versus Cincinnati, hitting two home runs, including a grand slam. This feat was also the most in a season by a Brewer. He played very well against the Reds, batting .431 with 6 home runs and 18 RBI. He was traded to the Blue Jays in the off-season.
On December 7, 2005, Overbay was traded from the Milwaukee Brewers along with pitching prospect Ty Taubenheim to Toronto in exchange for outfielder Gabe Gross and pitchers Dave Bush and Zach Jackson. Although, the trade was celebrated as a needed acquisition for the Blue Jays, Overbay has not had the statistical impact hoped for and the emergence of Dave Bush has made this trade at best a wash statistically.
On July 5, , Overbay was named American League Player of the Week after hitting .423 and hitting 4 HR during the week of June 26 to July 2, 2006. During the 2006 he put up career highs in most major categories, such as batting average, home runs, and runs batted in.
In 2006, he had a career season. He batted .312 with 92 RBI and 181 hits, which were all career highs. He had 46 doubles, which was tenth among the major leagues. On June 4, 2007, Lyle Overbay, was hit by a pitch in the 6th inning in a game against the Chicago White Sox. The pitch was a high and inside fastball that ran in and hit Lyle in the hand, breaking 3 bones in his hand. He was on the Disabled List until July 13th, 2007, after which he rejoined the Blue Jays after the All-Star break. Since his return, he has struggled at the plate, especially with hitting for power.
On January 15, , the Toronto Blue Jays signed Overbay to a 4-year contract, buying out his final two arbitration-eligible years, and his first two years of free agency, with a $24,000,000 contract. Overbay set a new team record on May 25, 2008 by reaching base in his 12th consecutive plate appearance by walking on a full count in the second inning. The previous record holder was Tony Fernandez who reached base 11 straight times. Recently he has been criticized by fans for his penchant to ground into double plays. As of July 14, 2008 he led the league in the category. He hit two home runs in a game on September 6 against the Rays James Shields.