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Sunday, March 27, 2022

Jackie Gutierrez took his defense to time in six ML seasons; First Columbian regular in bigs

With two men on and the game on the line in this September 1984 contest, Red Sox shortstop Jackie Gutierrez stretched out at the line and made the catch in the webbing of his glove, The Hartford Courant wrote.

The Courant dubbed the play "spectacular."

"I thought Wade (Boggs) was going to get it, but then I just went after it," Gutierrez told The Courant afterward. "It was the best catch I ever made."

Gutierrez mad that catch in his second season with big league time, his first where he'd played the season entirely in the bigs. He went on to see time in four more campaigns, then later at independent high-A Miami.

Gutierrez' career began in 1978, signed by the Red Sox as a free agent out of his native Columbia.

Gutierrez started at short-season Elmira. He played two seasons there and hit .251 in his second season there. He made single-A Winter Haven in 1980 and AA Bristol in 1982. 

He played 1983 between AA New Britain, AAA Pawtucket and Boston. He debuted with the Red Sox in September and saw five games. He went 3 for 10.

He returned to Boston for 1984 and he became a regular. He also became the first Columbian to play regularly in the bigs - the third to make it overall.

Gutierrez saw 151 games that year and hit .263. He also stole 12 bases. He then returned for another 103 games in 1985. He saw 103 games and hit .218.

The Red Sox then traded him to the Orioles, but offseason struggles with depression threatened to upend the deal. He ultimately remained and expresses happiness to be there.

"I am very happy," Gutierrez told The Miami Herald early that April. "The fans are wonderful. I thank them. God bless you."

Gutierrez got into 61 games with the Orioles that year and hit .186. He then saw three games there in 1987.

He moved to the Phillies for 1988 and saw 33 games there. He hit .247. He wasn't sure he'd play that year, but the Phillies offered him a spot at AAA, The Philadelphia Daily News wrote.

"You gotta do it. Nobody's gonna do it for you," Gutierrez told The Daily News. "I want to give an example to my country."

That season proved his last in the bigs. He played 1989 at AAA Pawtucket, then 1990 with independent high-A Miami. He's last credited as playing in 1993, in Taiwan with China Times.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,876
Made the Majors:1,295-33.4%-X
Never Made Majors:2,581-66.6%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:528
10+ Seasons in the Minors:324

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