Saturday, April 13, 2013

Unknown Heroes Pt. 27: Rich Garces

Rich Garces was a bit on the heavy side.  The Venezuelan right-hander was six feet tall but tipped the scales at around 250 lbs. during his playing days.  But that was all part of the appeal.  Garces was a regular guy who happened to be a professional pitcher.  And he was reasonably successful at it.  He was particularly successful during his seasons with the Red Sox.

Garces originally came up through the Twins system.  He pitched a few games in 1990 and then in 1993 before moving on.  He bounced around the Cubs and Marlins systems before finding a long-term home in Boston in 1996.  Garces frequently moved between Boston and Pawtucket during his tenure there, but he quickly became a fan favorite.  He was nicknamed "El Guapo" a name which means "The Handsome".  He was a heavyset, yet very amiable player and always looked like he was having a good time.

Garces was most successful between 1999 and 2001 when he went collectively 19-3 over 182.1 innings in 156 games.  He struck out 153 and walked 66 and accumulated four saves with a 3.11 ERA.  Very nice numbers for a middle reliever, in particular during that time period, which was the height of the home run explosion.

He faltered significantly in 2002 however, with a 7.59 ERA over 21.1 innings.  He was released in August and signed with the Rockies.  He bounced around some more over the next few years but never made the Major Leagues again.

There were never a lot of Garces cards.  He was successful at a time when team sets were fairly small and very few middle relievers got cards made.  He did have a number of cards in Pacific sets, and these were often cards I sought out in particular.


  1. UD 40-Man features a lot of those "unknown heroes" like Garces. It's the main reason I've come to love the brand so much.

  2. I agree. I wish Topps would bring back Topps Total for this reason as well.