Shortstop- Chris Gomez
Chris Gomez was a steady defender with the glove and his defense had a calming effect on the Padres in 1998. Most people would hesitate when asked who the short stop was for the 1998 Padres. He just didn’t do much, other than his job.
The man was very serviceable at the position and in fact played in the major leagues all the way until 2008 when he retired at the age of 37. That’s a 16 year major league career for a player who was essentially a ghost on the field. By ghost I mean, you never heard anything from him.
Gomez was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 3rd round of the 1992 amateur draft. It took 13 months for Gomez to make his debut with the Tigers in July 1993 at the age of 22. Gomez played in 46 games and hit .250 for the Tigers. He would never play in the minors again as he played in the next four seasons for the Tigers. As a Tiger in 301 games, Gomez hit .239 but showed an excellent glove worthy of starting everyday.
On June 18, 1996 John Flaherty and Chris Gomez were traded to the San Diego Padres for Brad Ausmus, Andujar Cedeno and Russ Spear. Gomez was immediately plugged into the shortstop position and in 89 games hit .262 for the Padres.
Gomez would go onto start 150 games in 1997 and 145 games in 1998 for the Padres. In 1998 Gomez hit .267 with 5 homers and 54 runs batted in. He also provided a 1.7 WAR for the Padres. In the month of August, 1998, Gomez led the Padres with a .308 batting average.
He was not flashy by any means but Chris Gomez was solid at a position where you needed to make the easy play. His range was nothing special but if the ball was hit to Chris Gomez, more likely than not he was going to be flawless in handling it. That is something that is very under rated in the game these days. Chris Gomez has also been seen at many reunion functions for the 1998 Padres. He is a real nice guy, and I recommend getting an autograph from him, he is very gracious.