White Hat Sports Headlines

Monday, April 14, 2008

Welcome Back Kapler

He was 1/3 of the outfield when the final out was recorded. He was the 19 of the 19-18 outfield trivia question when the 86 year curse was broken under a lunar eclipse in St. Louis October 27, 2004. Gabe Kapler was the adored 4th outfielder on the 2004 Red Sox World Series Championship team. He will never have to pay for a drink in Boston again for the pure fact that he was one of “The 25”. He was the guy that was always talked about in dream scenarios like, “I don’t think I’d want to start a fight with Kapler” or “I’d take Kapler over anyone in Major League Baseball in a fight.” Kapler’s career has been anything but typical, so why now that he is one of the hottest hitters in the first couple weeks of the 2008 season should we be surprised?
Gabe’s career before he got to Boston was beginning to be a story of a can’t miss prospect that missed. He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 57th round of the 1995 Amateur Draft. He rocketed through the minor leagues on his way to Tiger Stadium (that’s what Comerica Park was before there was a Comerica Park and every stadium wasn’t sponsored by some corporation). On the way there he was dealt to the Texas Rangers in a “huge” deal for two times MVP Juan Gonzalez. His time in Texas was forgettable and ended up getting his contract bought out by the Boston Red Sox in June of 2003. Between then and now he has signed with the Red Sox three different times, battled through injuries and hardships, won rings and extinguished curses. Then after the 2006 season he did a strange thing, he retired; at age 31 he walked away from the game to become a Manager.
Kapler managed one season inside the Red Sox organization, he managed the Class-A, Greenville Drive. After the season Kapler decided he still had the bug, which he wanted to see if he could come back to the Major leagues. The obvious destination would be the sign with the Red Sox for the 4th (or is it the 5th) time. Instead he signed a one year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. So far, so good. In 16 games this season, he is hitting .423 with 4 home runs, 11 rbi and 8 runs scored. Good to see him hitting well and batting 2nd in a good line up. But the weekend of May 16th-18th, he will get a huge ovation his first at-bat of each game, after that if he continues his torrid pace, the drinks could stop flowing.
Till he retires, again that is.

~Sterling Pingree

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