Friday, May 9, 2008

Your SKO Random Third Baseman of the Day (Yes, I Still Do This): Leo Gomez

Name: Leonardo Velez Gomez
Ht:6'0'' Wt: 208
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Years as a Cub: 1996

This picture is as low quality as Gomez himself.

Leonardo Gomez is an enigma. On the one hand, you'd look at his numbers and think he was a terrible baseball player. On the other hand, those that watched Gomez play remember him.....as a terrible baseball player. What's an enigma again?

After the Todd Zeile trade failed miserably during the 1995 season, the Cubs went searching for an answer at the position for 1996. Gomez, once considered the Orioles third baseman of the future, had underperformed greatly for most of his 6 season tenure, and lost his starting job in '95 to Jeff Mantos after a combination of injuries and ineffectiveness limited him to just 53 games. I don't know who Jeff Mantos is, and neither do you, but its a safe bet that if he ever takes your job, you should just give up. Gomez did the closest thing to giving up, and signed with the Cubs.

The 1996 Cubs were coming off a season in which they had surprised the world by finishing a whopping 2 games over .500. While expectations were high, they f*&king Soared when the news broke that Leo Gomez was in the fold. At the time I was but a mere 8 years old, but even I could see the writing on the wall that with Leo Gomez on the roster a pennant was Nigh.

But alas, it was not to be. The 1996 Cubs, were, much like the 1995 Cubs, utterly mediocre. Well, actually slightly less than. The team scored 772 runs and allowed 771. Their Pythagorean W-L was 81-81, the definition of mediocrity. They finished just below that at 76-86. In this entirely unremarkable season Leo Gomez was, entirely unremarkable. A respectable first half (.261/13 hr/36 RBIs/.363 OBP/.491 Slug.) gave way to a miserable second half (.199/4/20/.315/.331) for an overall .236/17/56/.344/.431 line in 136 games. In the field Gomez played above-average defense on the balls he could get to (.972 fielding %, just 7 errors) but had well below average range at his position, as he apparently agreed that just letting the ball roll through the outfield grass to the powerful arm of Luis Gonzalez was a better idea than trying to, you know, Field it.

After the 1996 season the Cubs released Gomez, leading to the debut of rookie Kevin Orie. Thanks for that one, Gomer. Gomez went on to play baseball in Japan and according to his Wikipedia page he's a churchgoer. How nice.