January 27 – Happy Birthday Phil Plantier

I do remember when Phil Plantier was in the Red Sox farm system and the team’s front office was making noises about his big league slugging potential. That was back in the late eighties and early nineties. He got his first taste of big league pitching when he was called up to Boston  for a 14-game look/see  at the end of the 1990 season. The following year he was brought up two separate times from Pawtucket and raised some eyebrows by hitting 11 home runs and averaging a robust .331 in 174 plate appearances. That effort helped him grab a Red Sox roster spot the following season but he failed to take advantage of it. His average fell below .250, he hit just 7 home runs in 103 games and his strike out rate went through the roof.

Boston gave up on Plantier after that season, trading him to the Padres for a pitcher named Jose Melendez. One year later, the Red Sox front office had egg on its face when the Manchester, NH-born Plantier hit 30 home runs and drove in 100 runs during his first season in San Diego, while Melendez was proving to be pretty much a bust in Beantown. But Plantier’s performance fell of a cliff after that career season and he ended up becoming a journeyman outfielder during the final half of his eight year big league career. That career ended in 1998 with 91 home runs and a .243 lifetime batting average.

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