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Monday, June 26, 2023

Jim Gutierrez started pro career in home state; Played decade, made AAA

Jim Gutierrez 1990 Peninsula Pilots card, Gutierrez seen with glove

Jim Gutierrez not only got to start his professional career with his home state team in 1989, but he got to start it in his home state of Washington, with the short-season Bellingham Mariners

Debuting as a reliever that June, his parents got to see him, as did others, The Bellingham Herald wrote.

"I was pretty pumped all day about it," Gutierrez told The Herald after he pitched 2.2 innings of scoreless relief in is debut. "I tried to block it out and focus on the game, but it's kind of nice to have the support from the fans."

Gutierrez went on to play professionally for a decade, but he never saw the majors. He topped out over two seasons in AAA.

Gutierrez' career started that year in 1989, taken by the Mariners in the fifth round of the draft out of Burlington-Edison High School in Washington.

Gutierrez' season at Bellingham saw him got 1-5 over 13 outings, 11 starts, with a 3.90 ERA. He picked up his win in an August 5-3 victory

"My arm was pretty tight the whole game," Gutierrez told The Herald after his win. "I had to use my curveball and changeup a lot more because I couldn't get my fastball down."

Gutierrez moved to high-A Peninsula in 1990, then high-A San Bernardino in 1991. He went 11-13 at Peninsula, with a 3.44 ERA in 28 starts, then 4-4 at San Bernardino over 17 outings, 14 starts.

Gutierrez made AA Jacksonville for 1992, then returned there from 1994 to 1996, first with the Mariners and then with the Tigers.

He first saw AAA in 1997, with the Astros at New Orleans. He saw seven relief outings, giving up four earned in 11 innings. He spent the rest of the year at AA Jackson. 

That July, he helped get out of a jam at Jackson, getting two ground balls, The Jackson Clarion-Ledger wrote.

"When he (Gutierrez) got the first ground ball, I felt a lot better," Gutierrez' starter teammate Tim Kester told The Clarion-Ledger afterward.

Gutierrez returned to New Orleans for 27 more outings, three starts in 1998. He went 1-4, with a 6.44 ERA there in his last season as a pro.

Gutierrez soon returned home to Washington State and got a job with the City of Sedro-Woolley Public Works Department. He continued there in 2023, he and his baseball connection featured on the city website.

Jim Gutierrez 1990 Peninsula Pilots card, Gutierrez seen with glove

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,182
Made the Majors:1,377-32.9%
Never Made Majors:2,805-67.1%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:559
10+ Seasons in the Minors:344-X

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