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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

New England Sports 366, #73: Phil Plantier

In case it hasn’t been evident from some of the names on this list so far, I’m a sucker for the what-coulda-been story, for the prospect we all got excited about but proved no more than diamond pyrite. Exhibit A of this category of player is probably Phil Plantier.

Plantier was such a productive power hitter in the minors that he skipped AA ball, and was called up to the majors from AAA in 1990 at just 21 years old. It was the next year, 1991, that Plantier tantalized Red Sox fans with his bat. In just 53 games, mostly in August and September, he hit .331 with 11 homers and 35 RBI. Over the following winter, there was chatter that the successor to Evans or Rice had been found in the outfield.

It wasn’t to be. Plantier only managed .246 and 7 home runs in twice as many games in 1992, and we moved on. He did, too - in San Diego the following year he slugged thirty-four HR and an even 100 runs batted in. But that was pretty much it for Phil. He battled injuries in 1994 and was traded to Houston. From there he had stops back in San Diego, Detroit, Oakland, San Diego again, St. Louis, and Toronto. Nowhere did he do much at the plate, and he never played 100 games in a season after 1993. In total he played 610 games between 1990 and 1997, with just 91 total home runs.

Phil looked the part, with that cooler stance and that was of chew. Did I mention he was born in Manchester, NH? In the end, just another guy who mighta coulda shoulda.

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