Sunday, May 19, 2013

One-Year Wonder Pt. 19: Rocco Baldelli

Every once in awhile, the Red Sox pick up a veteran player for a year, or just the stretch run that was a star at one point that I become fascinated with. It's a player that is basically only a role player at that point in their career, but may show flashes of their old brilliance. It's so unusual to see them as a member of the Red Sox, that I try to find as many of their cards as possible. This series will be about some of those players.
It seems like there were a lot of these One-Year Wonders in 2009.  Rocco Baldelli joined Takashi Saito, John Smoltz, and Billy Wagner.  Baldelli though got a lot more cards made, and some pretty nice ones too.

Baldelli had been suffering from a rare mitochondrial disease for years to this point.  It sapped his energy and prevented him from reaching his full potential as a player.  He had not played in a full season since 2004.  It was a very unfortunate situation.  He was brought in to Boston in 2009 to act as a reserve outfielder, a job he performed capably. 

Baldelli made it into 62 games in 2009 and finished with a batting line of .253/.311/.433 with seven home runs and 23 RBIs.  It was his versatility as an outfielder that was his best quality.  He played all three outfield positions, designated hitter, and even a little third base.

Unfortunately, Baldelli continued to deal with his disease.  He returned to Tampa Bay the next season but then retired.

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