LeMahieu is pronounced La-May-Hugh.
LeMahieu was born in Visalia, California, then moved to Las Vegas for one year when he was 7 years old. The family then lived in Madison, Wisconsin for five years, before moving to Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
"I lived in five states before becoming a pro baseball player: Colorado (7 years), Nevada (one year), Wisconsin (5 years), Michigan (5 years) and Louisiana (3 years).
- D.J. credits his Dad with teaching him “how to play baseball the right way."
LeMahieu was born in Visalia, Calif., but his parents—Tom, a computer consultant, and Joan, a facility manager—often moved to pursue their careers. The family lived in California until he was 7, spent a year in Las Vegas, spent five years in Madison, Wis., and five key years in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. His Dad was his coach on youth teams, but when the LeMahieus moved to Michigan and D.J. attended Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills, he began his ninth-grade year at the back of the line.
"Our team went to the state finals the year before, and there were a lot of returning guys—shortstop was set, second base was set," LeMahieu said. "I came in and started at second. I was playing well. Actually, the guy at shortstop was a senior and his brother was our assistant coach. And the assistant coach says, 'Hey, you need to move my brother out of short and put D.J. there.' So the brother moved to second. For me, that was kind of a big moment. I was pretty intimidated at the start of that year, but I learned I could do it."
In 2007, LeMahieu's senior year at Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, he committed to a baseball scholarship to Louisiana State University.
And he did not sign with the Detroit Tigers, who chose him in the 41st round of the draft.
- In his junior year in high school, D.J. was an Aflac All-American. He was also a two-time Gatorade player of the year and Louisville Slugger Player of the Year for the State of Michigan.
In the summer of 2008, D.J. was named the No. 6 prospect in the Cape Cod League by Baseball America magazine. He was the regular season MVP for the Harwich Mariners in the Cape Cod League, batting .290 (31-for-107) with five doubles, one homer, 13 RBI, and 16 runs in 28 games.
LeMahieu went to LSU. He says people think he's from Louisiana because of his French last name. In 2009, he helped the Tigers to the College World Series while hitting .350 for the Tigers.
"It was the best moment of my life," D.J. said.
- In his spare time, D.J. likes to go fishing.
- In the winter before 2010 spring training, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated LeMahieu as the 10th-best prospect in the Cubs' organization. He was at #13 in both the spring of 2011 and again in 2012.
- D.J. has a very good baseball mind. He just knows how to play the game and does everything you have to do to help you win. His mental toughness is very impressive. He is a throwback out of the mold of Mark Lemke and David Eckstein.
- LeMahieu doesn't stand out. Beyond the light purple college name and number, "LSU 17," stitched on his glove, his fashion is standard issue. Good luck finding a snazzy or controversial quote. He rarely posts on the @DJLeMahieu Twitter account. As for LeMahieu, he's just, you know, there.
Well, LeMahieu is there all right—with uncanny regularity. Wherever he is needed, LeMahieu shows up and provides it. Even LeMahieu's highlights have a way of not being visible. LeMahieu isn't into grabbing attention that isn't based on trying to win games. "I probably wouldn't be the first pick for a reality show," LeMahieu said, laughing.
Actually, LeMahieu is the fellow who shows up on a reality show without a shtick and in the end is walking away with the prize briefcase.
LeMahieu provides exactly what he exudes—stability. "I don't think he's grown on me," Colorado manager Walt Weiss said. "I thought when I saw him at the beginning of the season he was a good player. He's been very steady for us. He's been productive on both sides of the ball. He's a solid player, a winning player."
"He wants to beat the other team every minute that he's on the field," said Glenallen Hill, who managed LeMahieu at Colorado Springs. "It's hard to see that sometimes, but lock in on him and watch him for nine innings, and you can see his intent."
"I go into every game wanting to be perfect," LeMahieu said. "That doesn't usually happen, but that's my goal. And I'm playing to win. I'm not the type of player that's going to put up huge numbers, but I've got to be the kind of player that helps a team win, whether it's doing the little things or coming up big in a certain situation."
June 20, 2015: LeMahieu is letting his father sleep a little more these days. He's not rousing dad from bed at some dawn hour, wanting to get in several hours of baseball before it gets too hot outside.
But Tom LeMahieu still brings a smile to the face of his son. As MLB.com celebrates Father's Day, the LeMahieus celebrate a relationship that began as playmate-to-playmate and stayed that way even though dad was teaching and raising him. As a toddler and through elementary school, D.J. depended on his dad to teach him how to compete, usually through made-up games, and father doubled as his coach until high school. But now, D.J.'s father plays a way more important role.
"He didn't play in the Major Leagues, didn't claim to play in the Major Leagues," LeMahieu said. "But for me, he's the guy who's always positive. At this point in my career, you need all the positive you can get. It's real easy to be hard on yourself in the big leagues. I talk to him almost every day. I'll go 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, and he'll somehow find the positive out of it."
All the expensive lessons and expert coaches combined can't do for a player what Tom LeMahieu did for his son. The LeMahieus were living in Visalia, Calif., when D.J. was about 4 and taken by the game of baseball. Days in the Central Valley quickly grew hot, so any daytime activity needs to happen early. D.J. made sure to that.
"My dad would hit me ground balls and throw batting practice, and we made it a game," a smiling LeMahieu said in a story he often tells. "He'd hit me 10 ground balls. If I misplayed one, it was a run for him. Then he'd throw me BP and we'd play a normal inning. We'd play nine innings, almost every day. For me at a young age, fielding ground balls was always competitive. If I missed a ball, it could cost me a run."
There was another penalty for missing. "I had to run it down if I missed it."
His father had the philosophy from the old "Fat Albert" cartoon: Fun, and if you're not careful you may learn something before it's done.
"I didn't want it to become something where he was getting tired of it," said Tom LeMahieu. "Every now and then, I'd ask, 'Do you still want to play?' And he'd say, 'Oh, yeah.' Not only did he want to do it, but he was competitive about it. Even to this day, if you come up with something to do and make a game out of it, he's into it."
"He became more of a mentor than a coach," LeMahieu said. "A lot of dads, they want their hands on everything. For him to step back and say, 'Your coaches are your coaches, so do what they say and listen to them,' that was perfect. He's not a know-it-all, doesn't claim to be." (T Harding - MLB.com - June 19, 2015)
In 2015, LeMahieu was selected to the All-Star Game.
For D.J., it was a night of recognition, finding himself in the starting lineup at second base when Dee Gordon was scratched with an injury. He kept his focus on his approach to hitting, lining out to center field in the third and lining out to right field in the fifth.
Sept 30, 2016: With the NL batting title in hand, LeMahieu exited the Rockies' 4-1 win over the Brewers after the third inning. It will likely be the last time LeMahieu plays all season, as he effectively clinches the National League batting title. LeMahieu started the game 0-for-2 with a fielder's choice and fly out but still leads Nationals infielder Daniel Murphy .3478 to .3472. Murphy is battling a left gluteal strain and hasn't played since Sept. 20 or started since Sept. 17.
Rockies manager Walt Weiss previously said that he would be willing to manipulate LeMahieu's playing time to help him secure the batting title since it is won over 162 games and not any one game.
"It's a unique situation because Murphy is injured and not playing," Weiss said before the game. "If he's playing, they can fight it out, but I don't want DJ to lose a batting title that way. So, yeah, I'm going to pay attention to the math. My philosophy, whether you like it or not is I'm going to take care of the guys that take care of our team." (T Harding - MLB.com - Oct 1, 2016)
D.J. and his wife Jordan, have a Pomeranian-Husky mix named Coors.
"According to my dad, the nickname DJ (rather than David John) started when I began playing baseball at age five," LeMahieu said.
"David John was too long and did not sound like a basebal player's name, he said."
- June 2009: LeMahieu signed with the Cubs, via scout Steve Riha, after the team chose him in the second round, out of LSU. D.J. received a bonus of $508,000.
- December 8, 2011: The Rockies sent Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers to the Cubs, acquiring LeMahieu and OF Tyler Colvin.
- Jan 12, 2018: D.J. and the Rockies avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal at $8.5 million.