Short Time 2006 NL Eastern Champion Met: Geremi Gonzalez & His Tragic Death

Geremi Gonzalez was born January 8th, 1975 in Maracaibo, Venezuela. The six foot two right hander was signed out of high school by the Chicago Cubs.

He arrived at Wrigley Field  in 1997 exploding on the scene leading the Cubs staff out of nowhere with 11 wins (11-9) & posting a 4.25 ERA. He came in ninth in the Rookie of the Year voting. 

The next year during the Sammy Sosa / Mark McGwire HR chase, he fell to 7-7 in 20 starts posting an ERA over five. Then his career was shattered with injuries & surgeries where he was not in the major leagues for five more seasons.

He resurfaced with the Tampa Rays in 2003 & although he received the lowest run support on any AL East starter went 6-11 with 97 strike outs posting a 3.97 ERA & was the Rays most consistent pitcher. The next year he pitched with the Boston Red Sox going 2-1 & seeing post season action. He took a 14-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox in Game #1 of the ALDS serving a HR up to Scott Podsednick.

That off season he was granted free agency & signed on with the New York Mets in January 2006.

He was brought up to the Mets staff in mid May, getting his first Mets start on May 13th in Milwaukee. He gave up three runs in five innings of a 9-8 Mets win.

He was thrown into action in the sub way series at Shea Stadium, although the Mets won the game led by HRs from Carlos Beltran & Xavier Nady, Gonzalez allowed six earned run in just three innings. He had one more start on May 25th surrendering three runs to the Phillies in a Mets loss. That week he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Mike Adams who never pitched for the Mets.

He stayed with the Brewers that year going 4-2 as a reliever. He would get released, signed with the Toronto Blue Jays but got released again in May 2007 ending his MLB career. In six seasons he pitched in 131 games going 30-35 (83 starts) with a 4.93 ERA.

In 2007 he went on to become just the fifth Venezuelan to pitch in Japan.

Passing: In 2008 while in his native Venezuela he was struck by lightning & killed in Punta Palma, he was just 33 years old.


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