Monday, August 22, 2005

August 22nd, 1969

Hipolito Pichardo Born

I was originally planning on doing Paul Molitor here--he was born today too--and the issue of designated hitters and the Hall of Fame and all that. But really, it seemed unfair to pass on a man with one of my favorite baseball names of all time. Hipolito Antonio Pichardo. How can you not love a name like that?

Pichardo started his career with the Royals; he came up through their system and debuted as a twenty-two year old in 1992. He worked primarily as a moderately effective starter his first two seasons, but was shifted to the bullpen in 1994 and would not start another game until 1998. Pichardo was an average reliever, albeit a consistent one who threw between sixty-four and sixty-eight innings each of his first three years in the pen. The move back to starter in '98 failed to suit him however as he posted only his second career ERA worse than league average and after a lost 1999 due to injury, would sign with Boston for the 2000 season.

With the Red Sox Pichardo would start just one game--taking the loss against the ChiSox in June--but would serve as a member of a highly effective Sox bullpen that also featured then-closer Derek Lowe (2.56, 42 saves), Rich "El Guapo" Garces (8-1, 3.25) and Rod "Shooter" Beck (3-0, 3.10). Pichardo for his part went 6-2 as a reliever with a 3.25 ERA, good for an ERA+ of 144. He wasn't as effective in 2001, throwing just thirty-four innings of below average ball and was even worse in
Houston in 2002, getting shelled in his only appearance for the team.

Pichardo has been out of the Majors since 2002, no surprise given his performance the last two years of his career. I forever hold out hope for a comeback however, so that ballpark announcers around the land can once again clear their throats, double-check their pronunciation and welcome Hipolito Pichardo into a game.

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