Red Sox Game Day Connections: Game 67, Tampa Bay Rays

Rocco Baldelli in the minor leagues. Source: TampaBay.com, Used Without Permission

Rocco Baldelli had a hard luck career. After two seasons of a budding career, injuries began knocking him off the field. His ailments became a mystery and he was limited to 135 games between the 2007-2010 seasons.

He spent the majority of his career with the Tampa Bay Rays, but in 2009 he signed with the Boston Red Sox. He was the first player since Nomar Garciaparra to wear #5, and as a product of Rhode Island, it was a bit of a homecoming. He had 7 home runs in 62 games, but he continued to struggle with his health.

Following the 2009 season he returned to Tampa Bay, and by the middle of the summer he was playing in the minors, building up his skills. That’s where the mustached Baldelli above came from. He played in just 10 games with the Rays last season, and announced his retirement in January of this year.

His perseverance is incredible, when you look at all of the health issues he faced during his career. It’s the kind of comeback story you can’t help but root for.

As the Red Sox look to come back against the Rays, I figured Baldelli was a good choice. He’s also a good choice as the Boston Bruins are in Vancouver, trying to lock up their first Stanley Cup since 1977. The hope here is we’ll see Boston winning on the gree and on the ice.

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