Photo Credit: SB Nation
A continuation of players who have drifted through the Boston baseball landscape. Some were quite memorable and others quite forgettable.
Whenever I saw Rich Garces stroll out to the mound I thought of a great line by former Quarterback Sonny Jurgensen when asked about his protruding stomach: “I don’t throw with my stomach I throw with my arm” and that summarizes “El Guapo.”
The Venezuelan native spent seven of his 10 major league seasons in Boston and the rotund righty racked up some impressive numbers in becoming a fan favorite. Garces appeared in 261 games – all in relief – and tossed 307.1 innings finishing with a 3.48 ERA and even five saves. But by 2002 Garces was done as an MLB pitcher, but done only at one level.
In 2005 Garces attempted a Red Sox comeback playing in the Rookie League, but that was quickly done with. Eventually, Garces signed with the Nashua Pride of the Can-Am League and I had the opportunity to see El Guapo play against the nearby from where I live Brockton Rox. Kast address noted for “El Guapo” is back home.
A local kid makes good and then makes bad is righty Manny Delcarmen who spent his entire major league career except for 8.1 innings with the hometown Red Sox. A second-round draft selection was the pride of Hyde Park High School and made his first Boston appearance in 2005.
Delcarmen had some excellent moments and some dreadful ones and fans had a habit of using his initials (MDC) as “Major Disaster Coming” when Delcarmen was called in to pitch. But Delcarmen in 2007 was instrumental in the Red Sox championship with 44 games and a 2.05 ERA.
Delcarmen’s stock dropped after 2008 (73 games, 3.27) and he was traded to the Rockies who he had faced in the 2007 World Series. After the Rockies came the merry-go-round with several organizations before finishing up in independent ball in 2017 and retiring in May of 2018 to pursue media options.
Where have you gone, Jeff Bailey? Bailey was a second round pick for Miami (1997) and scuffled around the minors until he surfaced with the Red Sox in 2007 at 28-years-old. A ten-year trip to enjoy a cup of coffee and hit just .111 in three games, but Bailey was not done.
For the next two seasons Bailey – a right-handed power hitter – was at Pawtucket (AAA), but did ride the I-95 express to get into 53 games in 2008-09. Bailey did rather well in his limited action hitting .236 with five home runs, but that was it for the majors, but not for Bailey.
In 2010 Bailey played for the Reno Aces (AAA) in the Pacific Coast League and hit .289 in that hitter-friendly league with 12 home runs and 78 RBI. In 2011 Bailey relocated again to the International League with Rochester and hit .252 with 15 home runs and 63 RBI and that was it.
On July 2nd, 2011 in Houston I saw one of the hardest hit home runs I have ever witnessed and I go back a long, long way. Darnell McDonald was built like an NFL linebacker and just mauled a shot to left.
The previous season McDonald had made an impressive debut with Boston hitting a home run in his first Red Sox at-bat and later hitting a walk-off hit. McDonald – a former first-round pick – hit .270 with nine home runs and 34 RBI as a part-time outfielder and occasional pitcher when desperation struck as it did against the Oakland that season.
McDonald came in to toss an inning in a blowout loss and the results were not reminiscent of Bob Gibson as McDonald allowed two runs in his one inning, but manager Terry Francona went to McDonald’s trusty right arm the following season against the O’s. McDonald came in to pitch the 17th inning and gave up three earned runs and take a loss.
Prior to Boston McDonald had made stops with several organizations as each hoped that somehow the talent would surface. It never really did. McDonald finished off his MLB career with a brief stay with the Cubs and is now in a non-playing position with the Cubs.
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