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Monday, February 24, 2014

Mario Diaz, Helped Win - 655

Mario Diaz helped his new club beat his old club in this May 1991 game, and he did it with a home run.

Diaz had played 11 seasons in the Mariners organization, getting major league time in three of those. With the Rangers in 1991, though, he got into a career-high 91 games.

"I was upset at not getting a chance with the Mariners," Diaz told The Seattle Times after helping beat the Mariners with that home run. "But that is over now. I did not care that the home run came against them, only that I helped our team win a game."

Diaz went on to play in a total of nine major league seasons with four different clubs. In a career that began as a 17-year-old in 1979, Diaz didn't play his last pro game until 20 years later in independent ball.

Diaz' career began as he signed with the Mariners as a teenager out of Puerto Rico. He started at short-season Bellingham, then made AA Lynn in 1981. His first regular time at AAA didn't come until 1986 at Calgary.

His major league debut then came in 1987 as a September call-up. He got into 11 games, getting seven hits in 23 at bats.

He returned for another 28 games in 1988, knocking in three runs in a July game. He then got 52 games in 1989. His 1989 average fell to just .135.

Diaz moved to the Mets in a June 1990 grade, getting 14 games in Queens. He then signed with the Rangers for 1991, getting into those 91 games and hitting .264.

He stayed with the Rangers through 1994, getting 19 games in 1992 and 71 in 1993. For 1994, he moved to the Marlins, getting the game-winning, tie-breaking hit in a June game.

With the Marlins, Diaz found a home coming off the bench. He hit .325 in that role in 1994, according to The South-Florida Sun-Sentinel. Teammate Steve Decker looked to Diaz for help.

"He came off the bench and swung the bat like an All-Star," Decker told The Sun-Sentinel in April 1995. "People who sit in the stands don't know how hard that is, sitting on the bench for five days, then hitting like that. You take batting practice, but you don't see hard spinners (breaking pitches) or changeups. Yet Diaz gets in there and makes it look easy."

Diaz returned to the minors in 1996, he then finished out his career in Mexico and the independent Atlantic League. He played his last games with Nashua in 1999.
1990 CMC-Pro Cards Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:1,529
Made the Majors: 756 - 49.4%-X
Never Made Majors: 773-50.6%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 329-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 194

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