For more great baseball stories like this one, 'like' us on Facebook -

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Nikco Riesgo played seven pro seasons and in spring 1995; Later wrote book on experiences

As spring 1995 neared, Nikco Riesgo arrived at Expos camp to take part in the replacement spring.

He had spent one, brief stint in the majors with the Expos four years earlier. But would he "consider himself a replacement player?" The Montreal Gazette asked.

"I plan to take things one day at a time," Riesgo told The Gazette. "We'll see what happens. I'm in shape and ready to play baseball."

Riesgo soon did garner the title of replacement player. He also eventually wrote about his experiences in his own book published 15 years later: "Strike Three!" - A Player's Journey through the Infamous Baseball Strike of 1994.

Overall, Riesgo's professional career spanned seven seasons and one trip to the majors - four games played with the Expos over a single week in April 1991.

Riesgo's career began in 1988, taken by the Padres in the eighth round of the draft out of San Diego State University.

Riesgo started with the Padres at short-season Spokane. He hit .251 in 65 games. He moved to single-A Charleston for 1989 and hit .239 over 119 games.

The Padres then traded him to the Mets for 1990 and he spent the season at high-A St. Lucie. He hit .298 in 131 games there. That June, after his slow start with the Padres and some good early hitting with the Mets, Riesgo expressed optimism to The Palm Beach Post.

"I'm turning into the player I always knew I could be," Riesgo told The Post.

Traded again, this time to the Phillies at season's end, Riesgo made another move in the offseason. The Expos took him in the Rule 5 draft. They then kept him into April and he made the jump to the majors.

He debuted April 20 and played his last game April 26. He got to the plate 10 times. He walked three times and picked up a single major league hit.

Riesgo played the rest of the year back with the Phillies at AA Reading. He played 1993 in the minors with the Brewers, seeing 27 games at AAA New Orleans. He then returned for spring 1995. 

His 2010 book, written by author Russ Cohen and featuring Riesgo, deals with the cancellation of the 1994 World Series and the replacement players who followed, the book's blurb reads.

"Both of these events were historic," the blurb continues, "and Riesgo was one of the first players to cross the proverbial picket line and put his career on the line for the good of the 'Game.'"

The strike over, Riesgo then played his final season in independent ball, with Alexandria, Laredo and Lubbock.

Riesgo later went on to work in youth baseball, promoting the game around the world.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,793
Made the Majors:1,281-33.8%-X
Never Made Majors:2,512-66.2%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:526
10+ Seasons in the Minors:316

No comments:

Post a Comment