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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rafael Montalvo, Near Moonlight - 488

Check out the revisited Rafael Montalvo feature from November 2011: Rafael Montalvo, Brief Chance

The listing the morning of April 18, 1986 was brief. Five days earlier, Rafael Montalvo had been called in to pitch the eighth inning in what would be one-plus innings of work. It was a respectable outing, he faced six batters, giving up one run. But on the 18th, announced to the world in that morning's transactions listing, Montalvo was sent down to AAA.

He wouldn't return.

When I started this blog, one of the movies I referenced was Field of Dreams and the character Moonlight Graham. Graham was based on a real-life player who played in a single game in 1905, put in as a defensive replacement and never getting to bat. We've already seen one player who played on only two major league games, Brian Brady. Montalvo is our first from the 1990 CMC set whose major league resume consists of only a single contest.

A native of Puerto Rico, Montalvo was signed by the Dodgers in 1980 as a free agent. He spent his first four minor league seasons in rookie and single-A ball. He made AAA in 1984, the first of eight seasons where he would see action at the minors' top level.

But in all those years, April 1986 would see his only call-up. He made one final bid in 1995, coming back after a three-year hiatus. Montalvo agreed to be a replacement player for the Dodgers. The strike over, Montalvo pitched 49 games for Albuquerque and his time in major league-affiliated ball was over.

Montalvo went on to a decade coaching in the minors, all in the Rays organization. Five of those years were spent with the Hudson Valley Renegades, from 2002-2004 and 2007 and 2008.

In 2003, a reporter for the Times Herald Record in nearby Middletown, NY, featured a pitcher, Dallas Haught, who chose to spend two years on a Mormon mission at the expense of a pro baseball career. The reporter likened Haught to Moonlight Graham, both finding callings somewhere other than baseball. Haught would play in only five games that summer, the only professional games he recorded.

But Haught wasn't the only person in the article that could fairly be likened to Graham.

Near the end of the article, with no mention of Montalvo's past, the reporter describes Haught taking the bullpen mound for a pitching session watched over by Renegades pitching coach and former major league ballplayer Rafael Montalvo.

To read the entire feature on Dallas Haught, A Second Calling, click here:

1990 CMC Tally
Cards Reviewed: 32/880 - 3.6%
Major Leaguers: 16 - 50%
Never Made the Majors: 16 - 50%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 6
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 10

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