Underrated: Rich Garces

This will be a short post.

In 1999 and 2000, Rich Garces ("El Guapo") was a fan favorite and a surprisingly effective weapon out of the bullpen. In 1999 he compiled a 1.6 WAR despite only pitching 40 innings, with a sub-2.00 ERA. He was less effective in 2000, but still put up 2.0 WAR out of the bullpen when given twice as many appearances. Alas, like many, his star burned brightly only for a short time.

One of the reasons, undoubtedly, that Garces became a fan favorite was his portly demeanor. At 6'0 and 250 pounds, he filled his jersey well. He pitched with the Sox until 2002 and then passed his jersey onto a slightly smaller but still large player, both physically and metaphorically.

Perhaps Garces' true calling was to keep the number 34 warm for David Ortiz to fill. Certainly in the annals of the Red Sox there are countless players who had longer, more illustrious careers. In 1999 and 2000, though, Rich Garces brought a lot of joy to the heart of this Sox fan with every appearance, and I sincerely hope that he is not forgotten.