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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Rich Sauveur returned from college injury to see long pro career

Rich Sauveur 1990 Miami Miracle card

A pitch to his head in October 1982 cost Manatee Junior College player Rich Sauveur 10 days in the hospital and, he wondered, his baseball career before it even began, he told The Bradenton Herald in February 1983. 

But his condition improved and he got himself back on the field, The Herald wrote.

"Finally, about 10 days before Christmas, the headaches stopped and I started to feel pretty good," Sauveur told The Herald. "But, there were several times that I thought that I wouldn't ever play baseball again."

Sauveur not only continued playing that spring, he didn't stop playing for another 17 years. His career took him to 18 professional seasons and time in six big league campaigns.

Sauveur's career began that year in 1983, taken by the Pirates in the fifth round of the draft out of Manatee Junior College.

Sauveur started with the Pirates at short-season Watertown. He went 7-5, with a 2.31 ERA. He made AA Nashua in 1984 and AAA Hawaii in 1986.

He also saw his first major league time in 1986, three starts. He went 12 innings and had a 6.00 ERA. Sauveur returned to the majors in 1988, with Montreal. He saw four relief appearances then.

He continued with the Expos organization into 1990. He then signed with the independent Miami Miracle. (His Miracle card shows another player.)

Sauveur signed with the Mets for 1991 and returned to the majors. He saw six relief appearances. He got out of a bases loaded jam in a June game with a strikeout, getting help from an encouraging teammate Kevin Elster before he went out, Newsday wrote.

"I can't repeat it and you can't print it but it made me chuckle," Sauveur told Newsday. "I still have butterflies and that really helped. It was great."

Sauveur saw the majors again in 1992, eight appearances with the Royals. He saw the bigs in 1996 with the White Sox and then again in 2000, 10 final relief appearances with the Athletics.

By the time he was done, he'd seen time in six major league seasons over 15 years. He saw 34 appearances and three starts, with a 6.07 ERA.

Sauveur then turned minor league coach, including six seasons spent as pitching coach at AAA Pawtucket with the Red Sox. In 2023, he was serving as a coach with IMG Academy in Florida.

He spoke with in 2019 about his long career.

"It's cliché, but [I kept playing] for the love of the game," Sauveur told "I loved everything about baseball and loved playing it. If you're fortunate enough to make money playing a game, you do it."

Rich Sauveur 1990 Miami Miracle card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,269
Made the Majors:1,388-32.5%-X
Never Made Majors:2,881-67.5%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:564-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:347

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