(Born October 20, 1969) -- You’ve spent a lot of time watching the Buffalo Bisons if you can remember Juan Gonzalez’s stay here. It wasn’t a long one.
The outfielder came out of Puerto Rico to sign with the Rangers’ organization at the age of 16. He quickly worked his way up the ladder and saw some time in the majors at 19. But Gonzalez fully arrived in 1991, when he hit 27 homers and drove in 102 runs in his first season as a regular.
Gonzalez pounded baseballs for the Rangers for nine seasons. He was the MVP of the American League twice, and had more than 40 homers in a season five times. We’re talking Hall of Fame potential here.
The outfielder bounced to Cleveland and Detroit before returning to Texas. But his production dropped off quickly after he turned 32. What happened? Jose Canseco said he personally injected Rodriguez with steroids, a charge the outfielder denied. He did have injury problems in his 30's, though.
In 2005, Gonzalez played five games as a member of the Buffalo Bisons. He went 6 for 21. That was the last time he played in organized baseball.
--- Budd Bailey