Monday, February 1, 2010

Cecilio Guante - The Man Who Helped Bring Doug Drabek To Pittsburgh

Today is Cecilio Guante's 50th birthday; he was born on February 1st, 1960, in Villa Mella in the Dominican Republic. Happy birthday, dude!

The righty was signed as an amateur free agent by Pirate scouts Howie Haak and Pablo Cruz in 1979, back in the day when the Bucs actually worked Latin America. Guante was a big kid, 6'-3" and 205 pounds, and could bring the smoke then, although he would evolve into a junkballer.

He made it to the big leagues as a 22 year-old in 1982, yo-yoing back and forth between the big club and the bushes for his first three seasons. Guante finally stuck in 1985, when he posted a 4-6 record in 63 appearances and saved five games. He tossed 109 innings with 92 strikeouts, a 2.72 ERA and a 1.138 WHIP.

Guante had a nice follow-up season in 1986, too. He went 5-2 with a 3.35 ERA and four saves, with 63 K's in 78 innings and a 1.205 WHIP as Don Robinson's caddy.

In 1987, Guante was traded to the New York Yankees, a team looking for pitching help, along with Pat Clements and Rick Rhoden. The Bucs got back Brian Fisher, Logan Easley, and some guy named Doug Drabek.

Drabek won 92 games in five years at Pittsburgh, led the team to three straight playoff appearances, and went on to win the National League Cy Young Award in 1990.

Guante? He had a 5.73 ERA in 1987; so much for solving the Bronx Bombers' pitching woes (although it should be noted that Rhoden, the deal's main target, won 16 games for the Pinstripes that year). Guante bounced back in 1988 with five wins and career-high eleven saves with a 2.82 ERA, but was traded to the Texas Rangers for Dale Mohorcic at the end of August after being on the DL twice.

Guante played two more seasons before leaving MLB for good. He had a decent 1989 with the Rangers and a terrible 1990 as a free agent for the Indians, who cut him August.

He ended his MLB service in 1991, when he was the Boston Red Sox's final cut in spring camp, and then went on to play ball in the Latino leagues afterward.

Cecilio Guante finished his career with a 29-34 record and a 3.48 ERA. He worked out of the pen, except for one start in 1990, and notched 35 saves in his nine-year MLB tour. During his Buc stay, he was 13-17 with a 3.06 ERA and 20 saves from 1982-86.

But he'll be forever remembered in Pittsburgh for two things - the huge "G" he sported on the web of his glove, and being part of the Doug Drabek deal. Oh, and five years of pretty good set-up pitching, too.

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