Former Red in postseason for third time in four years.
He just keeps playing for teams that end up in the postseason. It wasn’t always that way for former Reds folk hero Jonny Gomes.
The year is 2003 and Gomes makes his MLB debut in a September 12 game against the New York Yankees. The then Tampa Bay Devil Rays were managed by fore Reds skipper Lou Piniella. Gomes was the DH for the game and was inserted into the lineup’s #5 slot. In his first MLB at-bat, he knocks a double off another former Red in David Wells.
Nice debut. Even nicer comeback for a guy that on Christmas Eve of the previous year was rushed to the hospital after suffering a heart attack. Gomes brushed off the pain for an entire day before asking his mom to take him.
Over the next handful of years, Gomes sees three seasons where he’s in 100+ games.
Forward ahead to 2008 and the Devil Rays have been renamed simply the Rays. Now under the eye of Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay makes an unlikely run toward the World Series. Gomes suffers his worst offensive season as a pro (.182/.282/.383, 8 HR, 21 RBI in 77 games) and has free agency looming over his head. The Rays lose the Series 4-1 to the Phillies. Gomes wasn’t even on the postseason roster.
In December of 2008, Gomes was granted free agency by the Rays. A little over a month later, Gomes was signed to a deal by the Reds, but he didn’t start the season in Cincinati. He played his first 37 games of 2009 in Louisville. During his time as a member of the Bats, Gomes complied a triple slash of .282/.361/.580 with 9 HR and 27 RBI. In late May, Gomes was called up and began his ride into Cincy folk hero status.
Well, to some he did.
For the remainder of 2009, Gomes displayed the power the Rays knew he had. In the 98 games which he played for those ’09 Reds, Gomes cracked 20 homers and drove in 51 runs. It was 2010 that was his “coming out party”. Not as many homers (18), but he was among the team leaders in RBI (86).
But that may not have been the mark he left on the Queen City. Gomes also displayed a certain hair style, or as referred to around these parts at that time, the Gomeshawk. Remember that? Wasn’t at least one child sent home from school for sporting the do? Couldn’t find anything, but my memory says yes. I know it happened when Gomes was in Tampa in 2008.
Last season, Jonny was a member of the AL West champs out in Oakland. Now this season, after inking a two-year, $10M deal, he’s once again with a division champ up in Boston, newly crowned winners of the AL East.
Hopefully, he’ll get more than one at-bat this time around.