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Friday, September 30, 2022

Larry Gonzales achieved 'unbelievable feeling' of ML call-up; Saw two games, got a hit

Into his sixth pro season, Larry Gonzales got his big league chance in June 1993. A catcher went down on the major league roster, and he got the call from AAA Vancouver, The Pasadena Star-News wrote.

"It's a great feeling, an unbelievable feeling," Gonzales told The Star-News of his call-up. "I can't describe it. It's what I've worked for my entire life."

For Gonzales, however, that feeling would prove brief - but at least he got to feel it. He debuted June 13 and played his final game - his second in the bigs - four days later. He got to the plate three times and picked up a single hit. 

Gonzales' career began in 1988, taken by the Angels in the 22nd round of the draft out of the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Gonzales started with the Angels at single-A Palm Springs. He hit .200 in 35 games. He then moved to single-A Quad City for 1989. He hit .195 in 69 games there.

Gonzales returned to Quad City for 1990 and improved his average all the way to .307 in 99 games, enough to see AA Midland in  1991. 

At Midland, he got into 78 games and hit .319. He also saw two games at AAA Edmonton. At Midland that August, Gonzales hit a three-run home run and knocked in six runs over a double-header, The El Paso Times wrote.

"I was just trying to do the same thing I always do," Gonzales told The Times after that game. "That's to hit something hard. Today, I just did it a little better."

Gonzales made Edmonton for all of 1992 and hit .328 over 80 games. He then started 1993 at AAA Vancouver. That June, me made Anaheim.

The catcher's debut came June 13 as a late defensive replacement. He didn't get to bat - he was on deck when the final out came. He described the experience to The Star-News.

"The first couple of pitches I was a little nervous," Gonzales told The Star-News. "Then I settled down a little bit."

Gonzales then got into the June 17 game in the fifth inning. He promptly singled in a run in the bottom of the fifth, his first time to the plate. He then rounded out the game with a walk and a groundout. That game concluded his big league career.

Gonzales then returned to the minors. He saw one more season, 1994. He saw 25 games between Midland and the rookie Arizona League to end his career.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,038
Made the Majors:1,342-33.2%-X
Never Made Majors:2,696-66.8%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:547
10+ Seasons in the Minors:333

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