Geronimo Berroa – 1988 Donruss

January 26, 2011

LL Cool..G?

Anytime I see jheri curls, I think of the 80’s. And yes, I know LL Cool J was not jheri-curled, it’s what I thought of first thing.

Much like when I see open collared shirts and tight jeans I think of this…

Everybody karaoke!

Was it just me, but did the players from the Dominican adapt the jheri curls later than the US culture? Because to me, the jheri curl was mid-80’s. Of course, I could be wrong – there wasn’t a lot of urbanity in central Indiana.

Berroa was almost a candidate for “Too Many Cards In The Junk Wax Era”, since he never played for the Jays. This shot could have been taken at a late-spring game in a major league park or during an emergency call-up where he never saw action.

Geronimo could hit. But it took forever to get a chance. He hit 36 bombs as a 22-year old in AA, but struggled a bit in AAA the next year. Atlanta took a chance on him in the Rule 5 draft and he hit .265 in limited duty in 1989. But it was back to the bushes in 1989, and then he hopped over to Seattle, who sold him to Cleveland during spring training. A year in Colorado Springs re-established him, but teams weren’t sold on the guy. So he went to the Cincinnati organization and hit .328 with 22 homers at Nashville.

Expansion in 1993 brought another chance, but after playing well in Edmonton he barely saw time in Florida. Oakland took a gamble, and he made the club.

I don’t know if it was the weather, the relative peace and quiet in Oakland, or the lingering effects of Al Davis in the Coliseum, but something worked for Berroa. Tony LaRussa (and later Art Howe) penciled him the lineup and he hit. From 1994-1997 he had an OPS+ 0f 120 as the regular DH (including a trade to Baltimore in late 1997).

He signed a contract with Cleveland in 1998 but lost his stroke suddenly. He was out of the game by 2000.

Maybe he ran out of activator.

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