Bobby Estalella (estalbo02)

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Robert M. Estalella

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Biographical Information[edit]

Catcher Bobby Estalella was the grandson of Bobby Estalella.

He was not a big prospect, having been drafted in the 23rd round of the 1992 amateur draft. He first reached the major leagues as a September call-up by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1996. He hit .353 in 7 games, with a pair of homers. In 1997, he played a couple of games in May, then returned to the Phillies in September. In his first game back, on September 4th, he hit three homers in a 6-4 win over the Montreal Expos. It was the quickest anyone had ever had a three-homer game, as it was just his 10th major league game. He went on to hit .345 in 13 games. His record for the quickest three-homer game was eventually matched by Aristides Aquino of the 2019 Cincinnati Reds.

After those first two great cups of coffee, Estalella was unable to establish himself as a major league hitter. He hit just .188 in 47 games in 1998, although he did hit 8 homers, and .167 in 9 games in 1999. On December 12, 1999, he was traded to the San Francisco Giants for P Chris Brock. He was given the starting catching job and had a decent season in 2000 when he played 106 games and hit .234 with 22 doubles and 14 homers, good for an OPS+ of 113. However, he lost his starting job when the Giants acquired veteran C Benito Santiago in 2001, and on July 4th, he was traded to the New York Yankees in return for P Brian Boehringer. He had hit .204 in 29 games as Santiago's back-up, but played only 3 games with the Yankees the rest of the way. In retrospect, what is most remembered about his stay in San Francisco is that he later admitted to a federal grand jury that he had received steroids from Barry Bonds' personal trainer, Greg Anderson. His testimony was an important part of the prosecution's case in the trial of Barry Bonds in 2009. He was also named in the Mitchell Report in 2007.

In 2002 and 2003, he was a back-up with the Colorado Rockies, playing 38 and 46 games, and hitting .205 and .200. He still had plenty of power, as he hit 15 homers over that two-year stretch, in just 252 at-bats. Journeyman Gary Bennett was the main catcher that first year, and Charles Johnson the second. He played one final season in 2004, split between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Toronto Blue Jays, but hit just .185 in a combined 12 games. He never played after that season, as a couple of comeback attempts were stopped by injuries before he could take the field. For his career, he hit .216 in 310 games, with 48 homers. That last total is the most for a player with fewer than 200 hits (he had 195).

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