Saturday, October 23, 2010

Unknown Heroes Pt. 1: Carlos Quintana

This is the first part in a short series focused on some of my lesser-known favorite Red Sox players.

Carlos Quintana was never a star, he was simply a decent regular. However, early on in my Red Sox fandom, he was one of my favorite players. Maybe it was the name. I don't really know. Quintana was perhaps the first player I really liked who was not a household name. He was not the last though.

Quintana came up through the Red Sox system as an outfielder and got into five games at the end of the 1988 season. He was regarded somewhat highly as a potential good player. In 1989, he played 34 games and then became the team's regular first baseman in 1990. Quintana played first base in the fourth game of the season and held the position for most of the rest of the season.

In 1990, Quintana had a decent offensive season. He did not have a lot of power, with 28 doubles and seven home runs, but he was a decent contact hitter who got on base. He also proved to be a very good defensive first-baseman, leading the league in assists and being fifth in putouts as a first-baseman. He committed a lot of errors, but he was learning a new position and he had great range.

1991 was even better. Quintana was starting to look like a very good up and coming player. His power increased a little as he hit eleven home runs that year. He also increased his batting average from .287 to .295 and his on-base percentage from .354 to .375 by increasing his walks. Quintana again had a great defensive year, once again leading the league in assists and cutting down significantly on the errors. He also achieved his career highlight, driving in six runs with a double and a grand slam home run in the third inning of a game against the Texas Rangers on July 30, 1991, tying a league record.

In 1992, Quintana was injured for the entire season. He broke his left arm and right big toe in a car accident in his native Venezuela while trying to rush his two brothers, who had been shot at a party, to the hospital.

He came back in 1993, but Mo Vaughn had taken over his position and Quintana split his playing time between first base and right field. He was not nearly the same hitter and still was effected by the accident, so he announced his retirement at the end of the season. He was only 27 years old when he retired.

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