Rick Aguilera

Richard Warren Aguilera (born December 31, 1961) is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher. During a 16-year baseball career, he pitched from 1985 to 2000 for the New York Mets, Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox, and Chicago Cubs.

Rick Aguilera
Rick Aguilera (cropped)
Aguilera in 2016
Pitcher
Born: December 31, 1961 (age 57)
San Gabriel, California
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 12, 1985, for the New York Mets
Last MLB appearance
September 6, 2000, for the Chicago Cubs
MLB statistics
Win–loss record86–81
Earned run average3.57
Strikeouts1,030
Saves318
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Early life

Aguilera attended Edgewood High School in West Covina, California, and played third base for their baseball team. Following graduation, he was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 37th round of the 1980 amateur draft on June 3, but did not sign and instead chose to attend Brigham Young University (BYU). After three years at BYU, in which he had made the transition from third base to pitcher, the Mets drafted him in the third round of the 1983 amateur draft on June 6.[1]

New York Mets

Although he did not sign with the Mets organization until September, he was able to get into 16 games (going 5–6 with a 3.72 ERA in 104 innings) for the Little Falls Mets in the low A-ball New York–Penn League. The following season he was promoted to the Lynchburg Mets in the high-A Carolina League where he was 8–3 with a 2.34 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 88 1/3 innings before being promoted to the Jackson Mets in the AA Texas League. In 1985, Aguilera was promoted to the AAA Tidewater Tides and was 6–4 with a 2.51 ERA in 11 starts before being promoted to the majors.[2]

Rick Aguilera 1986
Aguilera in 1986

Aguilera saw his first MLB action on June 12, pitching two innings of scoreless relief and getting the win against the Philadelphia Phillies in a game started by Ron Darling.[3] In the middle of a fierce divisional race with the Cardinals, Aguilera was particularly effective in July, going 3–0 with a 0.89 ERA, and ended the season 10–7 as the Cardinals edged out the Mets.

Aguilera posted an identical record the next year in 1986 as the number five starter for the division-winning Mets. That season, he was involved in a fight with Houston police outside a disco which resulted in the arrest of not only himself, but also teammates Bob Ojeda, Tim Teufel, and Darling, later referred to as 'Cooters-gate'.[4] Misdemeanor charges against Aguilera were eventually dropped.[5] In the 1986 postseason, Aguilera pitched five scoreless innings in relief against the Houston Astros in the NLCS. Despite a 12.00 ERA in the World Series, he was the pitcher of record in the Mets' dramatic Game 6 comeback victory, getting the win despite giving up the two runs which surrendered the lead to Boston in the top of the 10th inning. Injuries slowed him the next two years, as he was limited to 17 starts in 1987 and 3 starts in 1988 by an elbow injury that required surgery.[6] With injury concerns and seven innings of one-run relief in the 1988 NLCS, the Mets decided to experiment with Aguilera as a reliever. After returning to the team in 1989, he was converted to a long reliever. Although he was unhappy in a low-leverage bullpen role and asked to be traded,[7] Aguilera thrived in the role, going 6–6 with a 2.34 ERA, 80 strikeouts and 7 saves in 36 appearances.

When Dwight Gooden was placed on the disabled list in early July 1989, the Mets began looking for a veteran starting pitcher via trade rather than promote from within into the open rotation slot with young pitchers such as Aguilera, Kevin Tapani, and David West rumored as trade bait.[8] After the Mets lost their seventh game in a row ahead of the trade deadline, Aguilera was included in a last-minute deadline deal,[9] along with West, Tapani, reliever Tim Drummond and a player to be named (which on October 16 became reliever Jack Savage), for Minnesota Twins ace Frank Viola.

Minnesota Twins

Although he got his wish and completed the season with the Twins as a starter,[7] going 3–5 with a 3.72 ERA and 3 complete games in 75 2/3 innings, he was shifted to the closer's role in 1990 and responded by saving 32 games for a team that went 74–88. The next year, his relief pitching was instrumental in the Twins' surprising division title, as he saved 42 games with a 2.35 ERA, a team record that would stand until Eddie Guardado broke it in 2002 with 45 saves. He went on to save three of four victories in the ALCS and the first two games of the World Series against the Atlanta Braves. In Game 3, he became the first pitcher to pinch hit in a World Series game since Don Drysdale in 1965, flying out in the top of the 12th with the bases loaded and two outs before giving up the game-winning hit in the bottom of the inning. He would also win Game 6 of the series. Aguilera became one of baseball's premier closers with the Twins from 1990–1995 and was named to three consecutive All-Star teams from 1991–1993.

Boston Red Sox

With the Twins well on their way to finishing 44 games behind the AL Central division winning Cleveland Indians in 1995, Aguilera was traded to the Red Sox on July 6 in exchange for minor league outfielder J. J. Johnson and pitcher Frank Rodriguez. The move was made official while the Red Sox were in Minneapolis playing the Twins and after walking 20 ft down to the visitors dressing room, Aguilera was called on to convert a save opportunity in his very first appearance – striking out former teammate Kirby Puckett to help nail down a 5–4 win.[10] Although Aguilera would later state that the trade that brought him to Boston was the lowest point of his career,[11] he would perform well for the AL East champion, going 2–2 with 20 saves and a 2.67 ERA in 30 relief appearances. Like a number of his teammates, Aguilera struggled in the playoffs, giving up one run on three hits with one strike out in two-thirds of an inning.

Return to Minnesota

A free agent following the 1995 season, Aguilera opted to return to the Twins. Minnesota skipper Tom Kelly installed Aguilera as a starting pitcher—a position he hadn't been in since starting 11 games for the team in 1989—rather than his familiar closer role. Despite early season shoulder and wrist injuries (with the latter reportedly caused by lifting his wife's suitcase the last week of spring training) forcing Aguilera to miss six weeks early in the season,[12][13] the veteran battled his way to an 8–6 record with a 5.42 ERA in 19 starts, including a pair of complete games.

The following season, the experiment of Aguilera as a starting pitcher had ended midway through spring training and the veteran returned to the bullpen. At age 35, he went 5–4 with 26 saves and a 3.82 ERA in 61 outings. In 1998, he recorded 38 saves (the most since saving 41 games in 1992) in 68 games for the Twins. In 1999, Aguilera had gone 3–1 with 6 saves and a 1.27 ERA in 17 games before the Twins traded the 37-year-old and pitcher Scott Downs to the Chicago Cubs for Kyle Lohse and Jason Ryan.

Chicago Cubs

Aguilera pitched well for the Cubs in 1999, posting a 6–3 record with 8 saves and a 3.69 ERA in 44 games as a middle reliever, set-up man, and occasionally a closer. At age 38, he entered the 2000 season, his 16th season in the big leagues, as the team's closer. Aguilera went 1–2 with 29 saves in 54 appearances, but blew eight of his save opportunities and finished with a 4.91 ERA for the last-place Cubs.

Life after baseball

After spending the off-season weighing the possibility of coming back for a 17th season, Aguilera officially retired on February 17, 2001.[14] At the time of his retirement, his 318 saves trailed only Lee Smith, John Franco, Dennis Eckersley, Jeff Reardon, Randy Myers, Rollie Fingers, and John Wetteland in career saves. As of October 2017, he stands 20th on the career saves list.[15] Aguilera was on top of the Twins / Senators franchise list for career saves with 254 until Joe Nathan surpassed him on August 10, 2011.[11][16] In addition, Aguilera's save totals in 1991 (42 saves), 1992 (41), and 1998 (38) are 5th, 7th, and 10th on the franchise's top 10 season saves list (as of the end of the 2015 season).[16]

Aguilera is married to wife Sherry (m. 1988) and the couple have two children, daughter Rachel (born 1991) and son Austin (born 1996).[11] A devout Christian, Aguilera now lives in the San Diego suburb of Rancho Santa Fe, California and dedicates his time to his family and real estate investments. He has also served as the pitching coach for the Santa Fe Christian High School baseball team from 2001 to 2005 and as the head coach from 2005 to 2007.[17]

On June 21, 2008, Rick Aguilera was inducted into the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame.

References

  1. ^ "Rick Aguilera Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  2. ^ "Rick Aguilera Minor League Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. December 31, 1961. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  3. ^ "June 12, 1985 New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies Box Score and Play by Play". Baseball-Reference.com. June 12, 1985. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  4. ^ "Four Mets Arrested In Houston Bar Fight". Articles.philly.com. August 30, 1986. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  5. ^ Durso, Joseph (January 27, 1987). "Darling, Teufel Get Probation". The New York Times. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  6. ^ "Mets' Rick Aguilera Will Undergo Surgery and Be Out 6-8 Weeks". Deseret News. July 12, 1988. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  7. ^ a b Martinez, Michael (August 2, 1989). "Aguilera Feels Relief; He Will Start as a Twin". New York Times. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  8. ^ Durso, Joseph (July 27, 1989). "Mets Talking to Twins About Viola". New York Times. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  9. ^ "Mets Trade for Viola After 7th Loss in a Row; Aguilera, West Sent to Twins". New York Times. August 1, 1989. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  10. ^ "July 7, 1995 Boston Red Sox at Minnesota Twins Box Score and Play by Play". Baseball-Reference.com. July 7, 1995. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  11. ^ a b c "Where has Rick Aguilera gone? | twinsbaseball.com: News". Minnesota Twins. MLB. June 19, 2012. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  12. ^ "Baseball Daily Report: Aguilera Is Back on Disabled List". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. April 24, 1996. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  13. ^ "Around The Major Leagues". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. June 20, 1986. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  14. ^ "Baseball: Roundup; Aguilera Is Retiring". New York Times. February 17, 2001. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  15. ^ "Career Leaders &Records for Saves - Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com.
  16. ^ a b "Minnesota Twins Top 10 Pitching Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  17. ^ "Santa Fe Christian High School (Solana Beach, CA) Baseball Teams". Maxpreps.com. Retrieved December 26, 2012.

External links

1990 Minnesota Twins season

The 1990 Minnesota Twins, three years after their World Series title in 1987, fell to the bottom of the AL West once again. However, the season was not completely bad, as there were some bright spots that included pitchers Rick Aguilera and Scott Erickson. Aguilera converted from starter to closer and recorded 32 saves, while Erickson was promoted to the Twins in June from AA and went 8-4 with a 3.27 ERA. During Fan Appreciation Day on October 3, Outfielder Dan Gladden made a prediction on saying that even though we finished in last place this season, we're going to improve next season and if we did, they could potentially bring another World Series championship to Minnesota. That prediction proved accurate the next year.

1991 American League Championship Series

The 1991 American League Championship Series was played between the Minnesota Twins and the Toronto Blue Jays from October 8 to 13. The Twins defeated the favored Blue Jays, winning the Series four games to one. Minnesota would go on to face (and ultimately defeat) the Atlanta Braves in seven games in 1991 World Series, ranked by ESPN as the greatest ever played.

This was the first postseason series played entirely indoors, as both teams played in domed stadiums.

Minnesota outfielder Kirby Puckett was named the Series MVP, based on his .429 batting average, two home runs, and five RBI.

1991 Atlanta Braves season

The 1991 Atlanta Braves season was the 26th in Atlanta and the 121st overall. They became the first team in the National League to go from last place one year to first place the next. This feat was also accomplished by the 1991 Minnesota Twins. The last Major League Baseball team to accomplish this was the 1890 Louisville Colonels of the American Association.

The Braves had a last place finish in 1990 but managed to overtake the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the National League West clinching the division on the next to the last day of the regular season.

1991 Minnesota Twins season

The 1991 Minnesota Twins of Major League Baseball (MLB) won the World Series, the second time the Twins had won the World Series since moving to Minnesota in 1961. During the 1991 regular season the Twins had an MLB-leading 15-game win streak, which remains a club record. On June 18, 1991, the streak came to an end at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles but not before the Twins moved from fifth place to first, a lead they would not relinquish until winning baseball's championship. The Twins' winning streak of 1991 falls just seven games short of the all-time American League (AL) record of 22 consecutive regular season wins set by the Cleveland Indians in 2017.

The Twins finished 95-67, first in the AL West, which represented a turnaround from 1990, when the team finished last in the division with a 74-88 record. They were the first team to go from a last-place finish to a World Series championship. They and the Atlanta Braves were the first teams to go from last place to a pennant. The Twins defeated the Braves in seven games in a Series which has been considered one of the best to have ever been played.There was a considerable reshaping of the team in January and February, beginning when third baseman Gary Gaetti left as a free agent on January 25 and signed with the California Angels. Less than 12 hours after Gaetti's departure, the Twins signed free agent Mike Pagliarulo from the New York Yankees as a new third baseman. Two more key free agent signings followed with designated hitter Chili Davis on January 30 and St. Paul native Jack Morris on February 5. The July 1989 blockbuster trade that sent 1988 AL Cy Young Award winner Frank Viola to the New York Mets in exchange for relief pitchers Rick Aguilera and David West and starter Kevin Tapani proved to be pivotal to the 1991 season. There were only seven players still on the roster from the 1987 World Championship team, none of them pitchers: Randy Bush, Greg Gagne, Dan Gladden, Kent Hrbek, Gene Larkin, Al Newman, and future Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett. Into this framework, young stars were blended successfully, including Scott Leius to platoon with Pagliarulo at third, Shane Mack in right field, Scott Erickson, a 20-game winner with a 12-game winning streak, and A.L. Rookie of the Year second baseman Chuck Knoblauch.

2,293,842 fans attended Twins games, the eighth highest total in the American League.

1991 World Series

The 1991 World Series pitted the American League (AL) champion Minnesota Twins (95–67) against the National League (NL) champion Atlanta Braves (94–68). The Twins defeated the Braves four games to three to win the championship. ESPN selected it as the "Greatest of All Time" in their "World Series 100th Anniversary" countdown, with five of its games being decided by a single run, four games decided in the final at-bat and three games going into extra innings.In addition to the suspense of the outcome of many of its games, the Series had other highlights. For example, the series-deciding seventh game was a scoreless tie (0–0) through the regular nine innings, and went into extra innings; Minnesota won the seventh game by a score of 1–0 in the 10th inning, with their starting pitcher, Jack Morris, pitching all ten innings. (Morris was named Most Valuable Player for the Series.)

With 69 innings in total, the 1991 World Series shares the record for longest seven-game World Series ever, in terms of innings, with 1924 (some early series were best-of-nine contests or contained tie games; 1912 logged the most innings ever, at 75).

1992 Minnesota Twins season

Coming off a World Series victory, the 1992 Minnesota Twins continued the team's winning spree. The team finished in second place to the Oakland Athletics and did not make it to the postseason. This would be the team's last winning season until 2001.

1993 Minnesota Twins season

The 1993 Minnesota Twins underperformed in their last year in the old American League West Division, finishing with a 71-91 record, leaving the team tied for fifth place with the California Angels. There were bright spots for Manager Tom Kelly. This included Kirby Puckett winning the All-Star MVP award on July 13. Another bright spot was St. Paul native Dave Winfield getting his 3,000th hit in his first year back with his hometown team.

1994 Minnesota Twins season

The 1994 Minnesota Twins played in an abbreviated, strike-shortened season. The strike overshadowed the season's accomplishments. These included Scott Erickson's no-hitter on April 27, Chuck Knoblauch's 85-game errorless streak and league-leading 45 doubles, Kirby Puckett's 2,000th hit, and Kent Hrbek's retirement. In 113 games, Manager Tom Kelly's team finished with a record of 53-60, for fourth place in the newly created American League Central Division.

1995 Minnesota Twins season

Although the 1995 Minnesota Twins were separated from a world championship by only four years, it seemed like eons. Because of the 1994–95 Major League Baseball strike, the season got off to a late start. However, it did not end soon enough, as the team finished with a 56-88 record and in last place in its division. The team found it impossible to compete against the runaway Cleveland Indians who won 100 games despite the short season and finished 44 games ahead of the Twins. By July, the team was trading away its veterans in a fire sale. Manager Tom Kelly might have preferred that the strike had continued.

1997 Minnesota Twins season

The 1997 Minnesota Twins will not be remembered as the strongest team the Twins ever fielded. Manager Tom Kelly's team consisted of a few solid players, but mainly past-their-prime veterans and never-to-be-established prospects. One of the few bright spots was pitcher Brad Radke's breakout season, in which he won 20 games, at one point had 12 consecutive victories, tying a record Scott Erickson set in 1991. The team finished with a 68-94 record, good enough for fourth place in what proved to be the league's weakest division that season. The Cleveland Indians, who won the division that year, made it all the way to the World Series, but lost in seven games to the Florida Marlins.

1998 Minnesota Twins season

Like many Twins teams of its half-decade, the 1998 Minnesota Twins neither impressed nor contended. The team finished with a 70-92 record, with subpar batting and pitching. The season was not without its bright spots, as individual players had solid seasons and Hall of Fame designated hitter Paul Molitor announced his retirement at the end of the season. Tom Kelly's team had plenty of lowlights, most notably David Wells' perfect game against the team on May 17 at Yankee Stadium.

1999 Minnesota Twins season

The 1999 Minnesota Twins began their season on a positive note, with Brad Radke getting the win in a 6-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. They finished the season in last place, with a poor record of 63-97.

David West (baseball)

David Lee West (born September 1, 1964), is a retired professional baseball player who pitched in the Major Leagues from 1988–1998. He also played one season in Japan for the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks in 1997.

After graduating from Memphis' Craigmont High School in 1983, West was drafted by the New York Mets in the fourth round of the 1983 amateur draft and signed with the team on June 8, 1983. On July 31, 1989, West was traded by the New York Mets with a player to be named later, Rick Aguilera, Tim Drummond, and Kevin Tapani to the Minnesota Twins for Frank Viola. The Mets sent Jack Savage (October 16, 1989) to the Twins to complete the trade.

For the postseason of 1991, he had a time of ups and downs. In the 1991 American League Championship Series, he appeared in two games against the Toronto Blue Jays, pitching 5.2 innings while allowing just one hit and no runs. In the World Series that year, he appeared in two games, but he recorded no outs, allowing two hits, four runs, four walks in six total batters, having a ERA of infinity.

He also pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1993 World Series.

List of Minnesota Twins team records

This is a listing of statistical records and milestone achievements of the Minnesota Twins franchise.

Roy Partee

Roy Robert Partee (September 7, 1917 – December 27, 2000) was a Major League Baseball catcher. Listed at 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m), 180 lb (82 kg), Partee was nicknamed the "Little Round Man." He is likely best remembered as the man behind the plate for Enos Slaughter's "mad dash" in game seven of the 1946 World Series and as the New York Mets scout responsible for signing Bud Harrelson, Tug McGraw, Rick Aguilera and Greg Jeffries, among others.

Terry Ryan (baseball)

Terry W. Ryan (born October 26, 1953 in Janesville, Wisconsin) is an American professional baseball executive and former general manager for the Minnesota Twins of Major League Baseball. Ryan was known for using a low payroll and building up the minor league system to put up contending teams. He resigned as general manager of the Twins on October 1, 2007 but returned to his former post on November 7, 2011 until being relieved of his duties on July 18, 2016. Ryan was hired as a special assignment scout by the Philadelphia Phillies on November 30, 2016.

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