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Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Cliff Gonzalez concentrated harder with runners on; Saw eight pro seasons, made high-A

Cliff Gonzalez knocked in so many runners for high-A Reno by July 1991 that The Reno Gazette-Journal dubbed him "Mr. RBI."

On this particular night, he picked up three more to push his total to 63, The Gazette-Journal wrote.

"I probably tend to concentrate a little harder when I come up and men are on base," Gonzalez told The Gazette-Journal afterward, "because you've got to knock the runs in to win the ballgame."

Gonzalez ended up knocking in runs over eight professional seasons. But he couldn't knock in enough to get higher than high-A.

Gonzalez' career began in 1985, taken by the Mets in the eighth round of the draft out of St. Raymond High School in the Bronx.

Gonzalez started with the Mets at short-season Little Falls. He hit .201 in 52 games. 

He returned to Little Falls and also saw single-A Columbia in 1986, then played at Columbia full-time in 1987. He hit .246 over 125 games in 1987. He knocked in 36 and stole 24 bases.

Gonzalez arrived with the White Sox for 1988, playing at single-A Tampa and South Bend. He knocked in a go-ahead run on a single in an April game for South Bend, his second game-winner on the year. 

"I've just been going up and trying to be aggressive," Gonzalez told The South Bend Tribune then. "He just hung a curve and I capitalized. I got a pitch I could hit."

He hit .291 that year between Tampa and South Bend. He then played 1989 and 1990 at single-A Sarasota. He hit .283 his first year there, then .239 his second.

Gonzalez arrived at independent Reno for 1991. He ended the year with a .285 average and 86 total RBI over 130 games. He then played 1992 at independent Salinas. He hit .244 over 118 games to end his career.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,807
Made the Majors:1,284-33.7%
Never Made Majors:2,523-66.3%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:526
10+ Seasons in the Minors:320

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