MLB Opening Day Countdown: #76

Well, things are back to normal in our countdown to MLB Opening Day.

Yesterday we had 27 MLB players to choose from in highlighting the best to ever wear the number 77. Today we return to our lower outputs. There have been eight total players to don the number 76, and they are split down the middle, with half of the players coming in with a negative career bWAR.

The worst of the WAR ratings belongs to left-hander Daniel Garibay who was a member of the Chicago Cubs back in 2000, even though his headshot on Baseball Reference has him in a Devil Rays hat. He made his debut at the age of 27 and made 21 appearances out of the bullpen with the club until he was converted to a starter at the beginning of August. All told, he held a combined 6.03 ERA (5.08) and disappeared from baseball for a few years before popping up in the Mexican League in 2005 where he made one appearance, and allowed one run without recording an out.

In his first big league season with the Boston Red Sox, Jose Iglesias, now with the Tigers, wore both 76 and 68. He accumulated 18 1/3 innings in the field and six at-bats in that rookie 2011 season. In 2015 he made the all-star team with Detroit after coming over in the three-team deal that netted the Sox Jake Peavy. Iglesias is also the best player to ever wear the number 76 with a career bWAR of 5.61.

The final player we’ll take a look at in this installment is Jose Torres, who made his big league debut with the San Diego Padres in 2016 while wearing the number 76. He pitched in four games for a total of three late September innings, but while his ERA sat at a perfect 0.00 in limited work, his FIP came in at 3.15. He walked two and gave up three hits in his three innings. The Padres acquired Torres from the A’s in the deal that brought Drew Pomeranz to San Diego, sending Yonder Alonso and Marc Rzepczynski to Oakland. He threw his fastball 94.8 percent of the time in his short stint, and averaged 94.6 miles per hour on the heater.

The 1976 World Series, like the previous two installments of our little series here (or the next two years in baseball history), also involved the New York Yankees. This time their opponent was the Cincinnati Reds, who were making their fourth and final appearance in the Fall Classic of the ’70s. After losing in both 1970 and ’72, the Reds took down the Red Sox in ’75 before facing off with the Yankees, and ultimately sweeping the Bombers. At least Boston pushed it to seven games…

Johnny Bench was named the World Series MVP in 1976 after going 8-for-15 (.533) with two home runs and six RBI. Those six runs batted in were just two fewer than the entire Yankee lineup managed to push across in the series. Oddly enough, the all-time hit king Pete Rose only went 3-for-16 (.188). It was probably just Rose being the nice guy that he is, allowing Bench to take the honor after winning it himself the previous year.

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