Thursday, August 21, 2014

#266 Rene Gonzales

About the Front: Rene Gonzales is taking his hacks in the "new" Comiskey Park, as evidenced by the blurry guys in black-and-white uniforms in the home dugout. Of course, now the park is known as U. S. Cellular Field. Boo to corporate naming rights, yay to taking away the name of the old skinflint who helped drive his players to throw the World Series in 1919.

About the Back: Rene "saw action", alright. He entered the first game of the 1991 ALCS in the eighth inning as a pinch runner for John Olerud, took over at first base in the bottom of the inning, and made two putouts. He played one inning at shortstop in the fifth game, receiving no defensive chances. In between, he did a lot of spectating.

Triple Play:

1. Gonzales had one walkoff home run in his career, a tiebreaking solo shot against Seattle's Mike Jackson on April 29, 1990. It came with one out in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Orioles a 5-4 victory.

2. He played every defensive position except for catcher and center field during his big league career. Yes, that includes pitching; he worked a perfect eighth inning for the Angels in an 11-4 loss at Detroit on June 6, 1993. The utility player dispatched Mickey Tettleton on a foul popup to third base, and got a pair of groundouts from Kirk Gibson and Chad Krueter. It took all of 13 pitches, eight of which were balls.

3. Rene was a manager in the low minors for the Brewers' organization from 2007 through 2009.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I always liked that Rene wore number 88, since 8 was my favorite number as a kid and high numbers were so rare among major leaguers.

Bill James Said: "Had a big surprise season in 1992, and was following through in 1993 until a September slump (12 for 67) cut about 20 points off his average." Gonzales was at .267/.364/.342 on September 7, and finished the year at .251/.346/.319. His OPS rounded to .666. Coincidence? Yes.

On This Date in 1993: August 21. Phillies' southpaw Terry Mulholland breaks his right hand punching a water cooler after giving up a second-inning home run to Houston's Scott Servais, but stays in for seven innings. The Astros win 3-2 in extras, with Luis Gonzalez delivering a walkoff single against David West in the bottom of the tenth. Afterward, Mulholland admits that his act of self-injury was stupid, but says that it would've been even dumber if he'd used his pitching hand.

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