Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Unknown Heroes Pt. 4: Rich Garces

El Guapo, as Rich Garces was known, was a middle reliever with what could charitably be called a weight problem. Despite this, or perhaps because of this, Garces was hugely popular with Red Sox fans, a bit of a cult hero to be honest. He was a bit of a jolly heavyset man.

Garces was picked up off the scrap heap prior to the 1996 season to serve as another option in the bullpen. He eventually pitched in 37 games, with a bad ERA, but a great strikeout ratio. He then pitched in only 12 games the next year but he bounced back to have a good year in 1998. After being re-signed as a free agent after the 1998 season, Garces had a huge year in 1999. He went 5-1 with a 1.55 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 40.2 innings. It was in 1999 that Garces's popularity grew.

In 2000, Garces had his best record, 8-1, but his ERA increased. However, he did strike out 69 in 74.2 innings. He was once again good in 2001, though his numbers continued to slide a bit. 2002 was a bad year and Garces was released in August. His popularity remained, but he never again pitched in the Major Leagues.

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