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Sunday, April 2, 2023

Ino Guerrero drew easy comparisons to movie character, later threw in ML home run derby

Just after the release of the movie "Bull Durham" in 1988, UPI descended on the real Durham Bulls identified one player as a possible real-life Crash Davis: Ino Guerrero.

By that point, Guerrero was in his 10th pro season. He'd seen AAA, but hadn't made the majors. He'd also just been sent down from AA to give the squad some extra experience, UPI wrote.

"I'm happy to be here. I'm happy to be anyplace where I can play baseball," Guerrero told UPI then. "I still feel, maybe, I can get to big leagues. In baseball, you never know what's going to happen."

Guerrero did make it to the big leagues, just not as a player. He went on to a career as a coach. He then eventually made the bigs as a batting practice pitcher for the Red Sox.

He even got to pitch in a home run derby to David Ortiz.

Guerrero's long career in baseball began in 1979, signed by the Braves as a free agent out of his native Dominican Republic.

Guerrero started with the Braves in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He made single-A Anderson for 1981, then AA Savannah in 1983. He played at AA Greenville in 1984 and played there largely over the next five seasons.

He made the AA All-Star game in 1985, his third such selection overall, The Greenville News wrote.

"I got off to a good start, a lot better than last year," Guerrero told The News then. "I've been working hard on not swinging at bad pitches and going to the opposite field. I'm going to the opposite field more and it's making me a better hitter."

In 1985, he got a six-game look at AAA Richmond, then another 79 games there in 1987. He didn't make Atlanta. He played his final season in 1988 between Greenville and single-A Durham.

Guerrero then started his coaching career. He served as a coach at Durham in 1989 and 1990. 

By 1998, he was with the Red Sox, as a coach at short-season Lowell. He moved to high-A Sarasota for 1999 and then to single-A Augusta for 2001.

By 2003, he was a team assistant in Boston, working with Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. In 2004, he served as a batting practice pitcher and Ortiz brought him along to the home run derby to pitch to him. Ortiz, however, only homered three times and tried someone else in 2005.

"Yes, I was a little nervous," Guerrero told The San Francisco Chronicle. "It was the first time I did that. It was a nice experience, but it's like the first time you're in the major leagues. You feel a little nervous."

Guerrero remained with the team through at least 2013. In spring 2011, he gained notice working to get balls back to the infield that spring and ended up hitting Josh Beckett, causing him a mild concussion.

1990 Durham Bulls team card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,152
Made the Majors:1,372-33.0%-X
Never Made Majors:2,780-67.0%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:557
10+ Seasons in the Minors:338

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