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Friday, January 14, 2022

Clemente Alvarez finally made the majors after 14 seasons

Clemente Alvarez 1990 Sarasota White Sox card

Clemente Alvarez found it hard to believe, he told The Wilmington News Journal in September 2000.

He'd played professionally since 1987 - over 14 seasons - and he'd finally made the major leagues.

"The only thing I know is I'm here," Alvarez told The News Journal. "I'm going to enjoy every day I'm here. ... It's like a movie."

Alvarez ultimately got into games on two of those days. He got to the plate five times and, after 14 seasons, picked up one major league hit.

Alvarez' career began in 1987, signed by the White Sox out of his native Venezuela.

Alvarez started with the White Sox in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He moved to single-A South Bend and short-season Utica for 1988. The catcher hit .197 over 68 games.

He returned to South Bend for 1989, then split 1990 between high-A Sarasota and South Bend. He hit .199 over 85 games that year. 

But his manager at South Bend, Rick Patterson, called Clemente possibly the best catcher in the league, The South Bend Tribune wrote.

"One player is the reason we've made such great improvement in the second half, Clemente Alvarez," Patterson told The Tribune. "The reason I say that is he has helped the young pitchers. He's been that valuable to our ballclub."

Alvarez made AA Birmingham in 1992 and first briefly made AAA Nashville in 1993. He played all of 1994 at Nashville, then moved to the Expos and AAA Ottawa for 1995.

He isn't recorded as playing in 1996, then returned to the White Sox and Birmingham for 1997. Another year off, he arrived with the Phillies and AA Reading and AAA Scranton for 1999.

"He's always been a good catch-and-throw type guy," Scranton manager Marc Bombard told The Scranton Times-Tribune in April 1999 of Alvarez. "He puts pretty good fingers down and he's energetic - you don't want a dead body back there. He's got an idea what he's doing. The Phillies did a nice job getting him."

Alvarez hit .188 over 57 games that year. He then returned for another 26 in the minors in 2000 - and those two in the bigs

Alvarez debuted with the Phillies Sept. 19 and played his second and final game Oct. 1.  He went 0 for 2 Sept. 19, then, in his Oct. 1 appearance, came to the plate in the top of the sixth. He singled and scored. It was his final at bat.

Clemente Alvarez 1990 Sarasota White Sox card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,826
Made the Majors:1,288-33.7%-X
Never Made Majors:2,538-66.3%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:526
10+ Seasons in the Minors:322-X

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