Tuesday, August 28, 2012

#422- Gonzalo Marquez

Here we have another final baseball card of a guy who didn’t play too much, at least not in the majors. It is also Gonzalo’s first solo card since he had a rookie one in ’73. Also, like Danny Fife, Gonzalo is lucky to have a card at all since he didn’t get to Chicago until the end of August in a trade for his ’73 card-mate Pat Bourque. Getting traded away from Oakland sure took the drama out of the rest of the season for him as he didn’t get to repeat his prior year’s playoff achievements. Instead after hitting nearly .400 to kick off the season he went 0-fer in May and returned to the minors where he hit quite well until the trade. Then he sort of settled into a short run of seldom-used mediocrity although he did play more that last month-plus of the ’73 season than at any other point up top. So in what must be a September shot at what I guess is Shea he shows off his Oakland mustache and his stance. And believe it or not, his 58 at bats represent the third most – after Billy Williams and Carmen Fanzone – of any Cub at first base with a card in this set.

Gonzalo Marquez was born in Carupano Venezuela and played local ball immediately after graduating high school. In ’65 he was signed by one of Venezuela’s leading franchises, Leones del Caracas – the Caracas Lions – for whom he would play and coach winter ball the next twenty years. In ’66 he was signed by the A’s and then put together three straight Single A seasons during which he posted pretty good averages as a line drive-hitting first baseman. He posted similar numbers in Double A in ’69 and then in ’70 actually put up some pretty decent RBI totals while hitting .341 in Triple A. After that season he hit a ton – about .440 – in the Carribean World Series. But then he sort of disappeared in ’71; that may have been due to visa problems but I’m not too sure since the site that gave that indication is in Spanish. Anyway, he returned in ’72 to post another nice average at that level before getting called up in mid-August to Oakland where he did a fantastic job as a pinch hitter the rest of the way. He continued his streak in spades in the post-season as he contributed the winning hit in a game against Detroit and then hit .600 in the Series against Cincinnati. After a lame run in Chicago to start the ’74 season he returned to Triple A to hit .286 in his last season in the States. He finished his career with a .235 average with ten RBI’s upstairs and a .306 average in the minors. In the post season he hit .625 with two RBI’s in eight pinch at bats.

From ’75 to ’78 Marquez would play summer ball in Mexico as he continued to play winter ball in Venezuela. He also began coaching back home and continued to do both through ’84 when he was killed in a car accident while driving between games. One of the players on the bus behind him was a young kid on the team who Gonzalo took under his wing, Andres Galarraga.

Gonzalo’s star bullets are all about his clutch post-season numbers. His signature is very loopy.

On August 28, 1974 the group Television – another future house band at CBGB’s – and Patti Smith began a five-night gig at Max’s Kansas City in The Village in NYC. It was Smith’s first extended group of shows as a headliner.

Both these guys really only played a considerable amount in ’73:

1. Marquez and Jose Cardenal ’73 to ’74 Cubs;
2. Cardenal and George Mitterwald ’74 to ’77 Cubs;
3. Mitterwald and Danny Fife ’73 Twins.

1 comment:

  1. I remember this guy from the 1972 series...the announcers used the phase "pinch hitter deluxe" to describe him whereas teammate pinch runner Allan Lewis was called "The Panamanian Express"