Estes with the Padres
|Born: February 18, 1973|
San Bernardino, California
|September 16, 1995, for the San Francisco Giants|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 24, 2008, for the San Diego Padres|
|Earned run average||4.71|
|Career highlights and awards|
Estes attended Douglas High School in Minden, Nevada. As a senior in 1991, he was named Gatorade's Nevada State Baseball Player of the Year and finished with a 0.79 earned run average and 141 strikeouts in 61.2 innings pitched. At the plate, he hit .488 with eight home runs. He would go on to be enshrined in the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Hall of Fame in 2016.
Estes began his professional career with the Bellingham Mariners in "A" ball in 1991. He then played with the Appleton Foxes, Arizona League Mariners and Wisconsin Timber Rattlers from 1992-1995. The Mariners traded Estes to the San Francisco Giants on May 21, 1995 for Salomón Torres.
Estes made his Major League debut with the Giants on September 16, 1995, working 5.1 innings as a starter against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He allowed five earned runs and collected the loss. He was 0-3 in three starts for the Giants that September.
Estes returned to the minors to start the 1996 season with the Phoenix Firebirds, but was recalled to the Majors to start a game against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers on July 13. Estes worked seven shutout innings to record his first career victory.
Estes had his best season as a professional in 1997, when he went 19-5 with a 3.18 ERA for the Giants. He was selected to the NL All-Star team during this season. He also had four career home runs and 28 RBIs, including a grand slam in 2000.
The Giants traded Estes to the New York Mets on December 16, 2001 for Desi Relaford and Tsuyoshi Shinjo. The Mets signed him to a $6.2 million contract, avoiding arbitration. On June 15, 2002, Estes found himself at the center of a controversy when he started against the New York Yankees against Roger Clemens. In 2000, Clemens had beaned Mets catcher Mike Piazza, followed by the incident in Game 2 of the 2000 World Series in which Clemens threw a broken bat at Piazza. With the fans standing in anticipation of the showdown, Estes' first pitch was a fastball that was about a foot behind Clemens. Estes would hit a two-run homer off Clemens in the fifth inning of the eventual 8-0 Mets win, setting off a loud roar from the sellout crowd of 54,347 and derisive chants of "Ro-ger! Ro-ger!"
Estes would ultimately start 23 games for the Mets, with a record of 4-9 and a 4.55 ERA, before he was traded again on August 15 to the Cincinnati Reds for Brady Clark, Raul González, Elvin Andújar and Pedro Feliciano.
He pitched in six games for the Reds, finishing 1-3 with a 7.71 ERA.
Estes signed a 1-year deal with the Cubs in 2003. He was moved to the bullpen towards September due to his struggles on the mound. However, on September 24th with the Cubs holding a one-game lead over the Houston Astros, Estes pitched a complete-game shutout en route to an 8-0 Cubs win at Cincinnati. Three days later, the Cubs wrapped up the division. He ultimately finished the season with a record of 8-11, 5.73 ERA in 28 starts.
Estes signed a minor league deal with the Colorado Rockies in 2004. He was named the Opening Day starter. He beat Randy Johnson on Opening Day 6-2, pitching 7 innings while allowing just 2 runs on 2 hits.
He would enjoy his first winning season since the year 2000, finishing the season with a record of (15-8, 5.84 in 34 starts).
Estes again signed a 1-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2005, following his stint the previous season with the Rockies. He was placed on the DL in July with a stress fracture in his left ankle. His season was cut short and he finished the season with a record of (7-8, 4.80 in 21 starts).
Estes began his 2007 comeback with minor league appearances in Single-A, though he was soon promoted to Triple-A Portland. After his first start in Portland, Estes reaggravated his injured pitching elbow. He was placed on the disabled list retroactive to August 6.
On May 8, 2008, Estes finally returned to the Majors after missing most of the previous two seasons with injuries. He started eight games for the Padres in 2008, finishing 2-3 with a 4.74 ERA. The Padres chose not to re-sign him after the season.
On January 9, 2009, Estes signed a one-year minor league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers with an invitation to spring training. He was expected to compete for the fifth starter position but pitched poorly in spring training games and was released on March 22. However, after thinking about his options, he decided to stay with the Dodgers and report to minor league camp to attempt to transition into a situational reliever The Dodgers assigned Estes to the AAA Albuquerque Isotopes to open the season, where he was 3-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 13 starts before announcing his retirement because he didn't want to pitch in AAA.
On February 6, 2010, Estes signed a minor league contract with the Washington Nationals. On March 11, 2010, the Nationals released him. After his release from the Nationals, he retired from baseball.
On July 31, 2010, Estes was honored with a plaque on the Giants Wall of Fame along with former teammate Rich Aurilia. Estes now co-hosts the Giants post game show on NBC Sports Bay Area after every Giants game. In May 2019, Estes paired-up with Duane Kuiper to do several Giants road-game TV broadcasts. Since 2011, Estes has also worked as a television color commentator for the Reno Aces of the Pacific Coast League.