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.