Wednesday, July 16, 2014
#252 Xavier Hernandez
About the Back: Xavier is the only player in the 1993 Topps set whose name begins with an "X".
1. Hernandez made seven starts among his 463 career pitching appearances. He went 0-6 with an ERA of 6.00 before Houston got the hint and slotted him in the bullpen for good.
2. Xavier had an unusual debut on June 4, 1989 with Toronto. Fellow rookie Alex Sanchez got the start for the Jays at Fenway Park, but allowed seven of eight Boston batters to reach base before getting the hook from skipper Cito Gaston. Entering with one out, one on, and his club in a 5-0 hole, Hernandez allowed five more runs, but only two of those were earned, and he soaked up 6.2 innings. That became important, as Toronto dug its way out of a 10-0 hole to take an 11-10 lead on Ernie Whitt's grand slam in the top of the ninth. Blue Jay closer Tom Henke gave the tying run right back to Boston, and it took three more innings for Toronto to eke out the win.
3. He has been coaching since his retirement as a player, spending nearly a decade in the Rays organization before moving on to Houston Baptist University.
11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I remember the Orioles agreeing to terms with Hernandez in 1998, only to scotch the deal when a physical revealed a partially torn rotator cuff. Thus began the legacy of my favorite team cancelling free agent deals over medical concerns. Did you know that the owner is a lawyer?
Bill James Said: "Takes a long stride and whips the ball in a long loop, which seems to mesmerize batters."
On This Date in 1993: July 16. Free Willy premieres in theatres across the United States.