Gilbreath spent seven seasons playing in the Atlanta Braves infield. He came up in 1972 and by 1976 he was the team’s starting second baseman. He held the spot for two years, then shifted between second and third base in 1978, which would be his last year in the big leagues. He spent two seasons playing at AAA before retiring in 1980. In 500 games, Gilbreath hit .248 with 14 home runs.
Following his playing career, Gilbreath worked in various roles for the Braves organization, including scout, minor league manager and player development executive.
Benny Distefano played in 240 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros between 1984-1992. In 360 at bats, he hit .228 with seven home runs. In between his stints in the majors, Distefano played in Venezuela and Japan. He is the last left-handed throwing catcher to appear in an MLB game, catching three times for the Pirates in 1989.
Twice a world champion, Mark Eichhorn pitched for 11 years in the majors. In 563 games, he posted a 48-43 record with a 3.00 ERA and 32 saves. Eichhorn pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays, Atlanta Braves, California Angels and Baltimore Orioles. He was a member of the Toronto teams that won the World Series in 1992 and 1993. He pitched in one game of each series. He led the American League in games pitched (89) in 1987. He won 14 games as a rookie in 1986, pitching exclusively out of the bullpen for Toronto. He finished third in the Rookie of the Year and sixth in the Cy Young vote that season.
A three-time all star, Terry Steinbach caught for 14 years in the major leagues. Steinbach played for the Oakland A’s from 1986-1996, then finished his career with the Minnesota Twins from 1997-1999. Steinbach hit .271 with 162 home runs in 1,546 career games. His best season came in 1996 when he hit .272 with 35 home runs, 100 RBIs and 79 runs scored. He was an all star in 1988, 1989 and 1993. Steinbach played in the 1988, 1989 and 1990 World Series with Oakland. The A’s beat the San Francisco Giants to win the 1989 championship. He hit .250 with a home run and seven RBIs in the series.
Putting 13 letters in the mail today, going to: Rick Williams, Jim Wright, Rick Peters, Willie Norwood, Nelson Norman, Larry Wolfe, Carlos Lezcano, Anthony Johnson, Leo Hernandez, Steve Hammond, Lorenzo Gray, Bob Babcock and Craig Chamberlain.
Guetterman pitched for 11 seasons in the majors. He came up with the Seattle Mariners in 1984, then joined the New York Yankees, New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals, before concluding his career in 1996, back with the Mariners. He started a career-high 17 games in 1987 for Seattle and won 11 of them. He won 11 games again in 1990, this time pitching for the Yankees exclusively out of the bullpen. His best year, however, was arguably 1989 when he saved 13 games and won five more to go along with a 2.45 ERA for the Yankees.
Guetterman’s first game came on September 12, 1984, at the Kingdome against the Texas Rangers. He entered in the eighth inning, in relief of Bob Stoddard, who took over for the Mariners’ starter, Matt Young. Guetterman pitched 1.2 innings and gave up four hits and a run. Seattle lost the game 8-1.
Trombley pitched for 11 years in the majors, breaking in with the Minnesota Twins in 1992 and finishing with the Twins in 2002. In between his two stints in Minnesota, he pitched for the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers. In 509 games, Trombley posted a 37-47 record with 44 saves and a 4.48 ERA. He enjoyed his best season in 1999 when he saved 24 games for Minnesota.
Trombley gave up Hall of Famer Eddie Murray’s 3,000th career hit on June 30, 1995. The Twins were hosting Murray and the Cleveland Indians and Trombley got the start that day. Murray singled to right field in the top of the sixth inning for the milestone hit. Trombley took the loss in a 4-1 Cleveland win.
Combe pitched in 18 games for the Cincinnati Reds in 1980 and 1981. In 24.1 innings he posted one win, 19 strikeouts and an 8.51 ERA. Combe made no big league starts, but did finish six games for the Reds in 1981. He pitched professionally from 1975-1982.
Combe fanned Dodgers legends Baker, Garvey and Cey in the seventh inning of a game at Riverfront Stadium on September 12, 1980. He pitched two innings that night and struck out five hitters.
Combe saved 27 games for the Nashville Sounds in 1979, earning him a place on the Southern League All-Star team.
Eleven letters in the mail today, going to: Kip Young, Randy Scarbery, John Pacella, Jeff Montgomery, Rich Murray, Ed Miller, Derek Lilliquist, Rusty Kuntz, Roy Lee Jackson, Tom Dixon and John Costello.
Bob Gibson pitched in 98 games for the Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets from 1983-1987. In 269.2 innings he went 12-18 with a 4.24 ERA and 13 saves. He had his best season while pitching for the Brewers in 1985. Gipson appeared in 41 games that year, and picked up six wins and 11 saves, to go along with a 3.90 ERA.
Jack Howell hit 108 home runs during 11 years in the majors. He played for the California Angels, San Diego Padres, and Houston Astros from 1985-1999. In 941 games he hit .239. He was the Angels starting third baseman from 1988-1990. However, he had his best year in 1987, when he served as a utility man for California. Howell hit .245 that season while setting career highs with 23 home runs, 64 RBIs and 64 runs scored.
Bourque spent parts of four seasons playing in the majors for the Chicago Cubs, Oakland A’s and Minnesota Twins. In 201 games he hit .215 with 12 home runs. He broke in with the Cubs in 1971 and had his most productive season two years later when he hit .204 with nine home runs, 29 RBIs and 19 runs scored while playing for both Chicago and Oakland. Bourque saw action in 73 games in 1974 for the A’s before being traded to the Twins in August. Minnesota traded him back to Oakland after the season, but Bourque did not ever play in the majors again. Instead, he joined the Mexico City Reds in the Mexican League where he stayed for the next four years before ending his baseball career in 1978.
Bourque got into two games of the 1973 World Series. He pinch hit for Ray Fosse in Game 3, to lead off the seventh inning. He hit a fly ball to right field off Tom Seaver, but then singled off Ray Sadecki in the top of the ninth. Oakland won the game 3-2. He took over at first base in the bottom of the eighth inning of Game 5 after Blue Moon Odom pinch ran for starter Gene Tenace. The A’s lost that game 2-0, but prevailed in the series in seven games.
Bourque was the American Association’s MVP in 1972. He hit .279 with 20 home runs, 87 RBIs and 73 runs scored for the Evansville Triplets, the Cubs’ AAA team.
It’s been a while since we’ve done a big mailing, so today we’re putting 13 letters in the mail, going to: Lee Tunnell, LaRue Washington, Israel Sanchez, Frank Riccelli, Eddy Putman, Rafael Palmeiro, Phil Mankowski, Tim Leary, Curt Ford, Mark Eichorn, Benny Distefano, Mike Diaz and Del Alston.