How is this little nugget to warm everyone's spirits as we await Game 7 of the NLCS tonight?
The Sporting News had its correspondents single out the "Biggest Surprise" on each major league team this season. The nod for San Francisco, according to Rich Draper, who also writes for MLB.com, is catcher Eliezer Alfonzo, who finally reached the majors in his 11th season. That includes 2003 at St. Paul, MN when the Saints of the American Association still were in the Northern League.
The Venezuelan homered off the Mets' Orlando (El Duque) Hernandez in his debut June 3, then filled in more than adequately for injured regular Mike Matheny.
"He picked up hitters' tendencies and worked on catching techniques throughout the season, and he's all but assured of a job in 2007," Draper wrote.
The 27-year-old hit .266 in 87 games while collecting 17 doubles, 12 homers and 39 RBI, and was catching virtually every day down the stretch.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
GIANTS' BIGGEST SURPRISE OF '06? INDY CATCHER ALFONZO
Former chief spokesman for Major League Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth. Six years as publicity director for the Kansas City Royals, and a background in newspaper, radio and television. Started Wirz & Associates, a sports PR and consulting firm, in 1985. Has written extensively on Independent Baseball since 2003.