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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

New England Sports 366, #89: José Offerman

How do you spell Offerman?

With two F’s and 42 E’s.

The Dominican-born Offerman was a talented offensive player, but his skills were not counterbalanced by a competent glove, at least not early in his career. Breaking into the majors with the Dodgers (Offerman was the first player to bat against the new Florida Marlins in 1994), he struggled to make routine plays in the field. In his six LA seasons at shortstop, he made 139 errors in 571 games.

The Royals wisely tried to limit the damage by moving him around the field, mainly settling on second base, but even there Offerman managed 19 errors in 1998. He signed with Boston before the 1999 season, joining Red Sox just as the rivalry with the Yankees and the quest to end the Curse of the Bambino was reaching its zenith. He played four seasons in Boston, mainly at 2B with some first and DH thrown in, making 43 errors in 465 games. His bat was decent enough, especially in his first year in 1999 when he hit .294 and made the All-Star game. He was excellent in that postseason run, hitting .389 against the Indians in the ALDS and an even loftier .458 against the Yankees in the ALCS.

In the end, his hitting wasn’t nearly good enough to offset his defensive liabilities. You didn’t stash a ten-homer guy at first or DH in the American League at the turn of the century. The Sox shipped him to Seattle in 2002 for future considerations, and Offerman bounced around the majors until 2005. In a comeback bid in the minors in 2007 he was hit by a pitch and promptly assaulted two opposing players with his bat, ending the catchers career with a concussion. It was a sad ending to a career that began with such promise twenty years before in the Pioneer League.

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