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Countdown To Pitchers And Catchers: #88 Rene Gonzales

| On 24, Nov 2011

Today begins our countdown to the start of Indians pitchers and catchers reporting to Goodyear, Arizona on February 20. We’ll start counting down the days, profiling a former Indian who wore the corresponding number. Some players will be memorable, others just our favorites and some, the only one we could find who wore that number. Leading off the countdown is obscure, utility infielder, Rene Gonzales.

#88 Rene Gonzales

Most players who wear #88 aren’t usually around long enough to create a memory. Despite a quality Major League career, his contribution to the Cleveland Indians might be less than memorable.

Gonzales played sparingly for the Indians in 1994, but was a major leaguer from 1984-1997, playing primarily with the Baltimore Orioles and California Angels. He broke in with the Montreal Expos in 1984 and actually wore #19, but when he became a member of the Orioles in 1987 he elected to wear #88. Gonzales may have become the double snowman since he could not be #8, that belonged to future Hall of Famer, Cal Ripken Jr.

The Indians signed Gonzales on April 6, 1994 after he did not make the Orioles roster out of spring training. Gonzales served the Tribe as a utility man, playing all four infield positions in his lone season with the club. In sparing opportunities Gonzales excelled though, hitting .348, with one home run and five runs batted in. Gonzales only had 30 plate appearances, but was a part of the inaugural team to play in Jacobs’ Field. The 1994 Indians were the first team to contend in nearly 35 seasons and the catalyst to an era of dominance by the team.

His best season was in 1992, with the Angels, when he hit .277, with seven home runs and 38 RBIs in 104 games. All his offensive totals from that season were his career highs. He appeared in two games with the Colorado Rockies in 1997 before ending his career. He was a career .239 hitter and also played a season with the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers.