Rich Garcés

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Richard Alan Garcés [gar-CESS] (born May 18, 1971, in Maracay, Venezuela) is a former Major League Baseball right-handed relief pitcher. Also nicknamed "El Guapo" (The handsome one), he played with the Minnesota Twins (1990, 1993), Chicago Cubs (1995), Florida Marlins (1995) and Boston Red Sox (1996-2002).

Garcés was signed by Minnesota as an amateur free agent in 1987. After spells with the Twins, Cubs and Marlins, he pitched for the Red Sox, turning in one of the American League's premier setup men. He attained a cult status with Red Sox fans, as much for his girth as his performance. His weight was listed at 250 lbs, although it was undoubtedly significantly more.

In 1999, Garcés posted a 5-1 record with 33 strikeouts, a 1.55 earned run average, two saves, and earned one victory against the Cleveland Indians in the American League Division Series. This was followed with a mark of 8-1, 69 SO, 3.25 ERA, and one save in 2000.

Although only 31 years old in 2002, Garcés' performance displayed a much-weakened arm strength. After his disappointing ERA of 7.59 in 21 innings he was released by Boston.

In a ten-year career, Garcés compiled a 23-10 record with a 3.74 ERA, seven saves, 53 holds, 296 strikeouts, 164 walks, and 341.1 innings pitched in 287 games, holding opponents to a .227 batting average.

In June 2005, Garcés signed a minor league contract with the Red Sox, and is pitching in the Gulf Coast League.

Quotation

"Affectionately nicknamed 'El Guapo' by Fenway fans, the hefty righty signed with the Boston Red Sox in April 1996 after bouncing around several organizations. He shuttled between Boston and Triple-A Pawtucket for a few years before landing a permanent middle relief job in Beantown in 1999. While posting a 1.55 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 40 innings that year, Garces mysteriously established something of a cult following in the city, and heard his name exuberantly cheered whenever he trudged out to the mound." -- Gabe Leibowitz, excerpt from Baseball Library

See also