Friday, May 9, 2014

Gary Caraballo, Very Strong - 2100

Gary Caraballo had a good game this night in April 1996.

Playing for the AA Hardware City Rock Cats, Caraballo went 4 for 5, knocking two home runs and driving in five, The Hartford Courant wrote.

"I'm just going out and trying to do my job," Caraballo told The Courant afterward. "I just want to go up there relaxed and swinging the bat. If they make the mistake, why not take the hit?"

A few years later, it was impossible for Caraballo to hit anything. That's because it was impossible for him to see, a corneal disorder taking his eyesight, according to MLB.com.

He then got is eyesight back, thanks to treatment provided by the Baseball Assistance Team.

Caraballo's career began in 1989, taken by the Royals in the 12th round of the draft out of Luis Munoz Marin High School in Puerto Rico.

Caraballo started in the rookie Gulf Coast League, hitting .238 in 46 games. He moved to single-A Appleton for 1990. He hit .214 there in 123 games.

He made high-A Baseball City in 1991, then AA Memphis in 1992. At Memphis, Caraballo hit .210 in 58 games. He also hit three home runs, one in a July game.

Caraballo then played an abbreviated 1993 season for high-A Wilmington. He returned to Memphis for a full season in 1994. He hit .247 that year.

He moved to the Twins system for 1995, playing at high-A Fort Myers. He also got time in Mexico at Monterrey. For 1996, Caraballo moved to Hardware City. He hit .240 in 85 games. He hit seven home runs, one in a July game. It was his final season as a pro.

Then, in 2004, Caraballo lost his eyesight. He couldn't see his daughters grow up, he told MLB.com. He then contacted the Baseball Assistance Team, which helps former players. The group got Caraballo to Miami and got him treatment, restoring his sight.

"He's very strong," B.A.T. executive director Joseph Grippo told MLB.com of Caraballo in 2011, "and the hug you get from a guy like that after B.A.T.'s able to help, it just says it all. It just says it all."
1990 CMC-Pro Cards Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:1,624
Made the Majors: 791 - 48.7%
Never Made Majors: 833-51.3%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 345
10+ Seasons in the Minors:201

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