Obscure Spotlight: Pokey Reese and the Red Sox Revival

  • preeseIt’s been a long time since Obscure Athletes has added to its critically unnoticed  acclaimed Obscure Spotlight series: today we come out firing with Pokey Reese. The long-time speedster and 2-time gold glove-winning middle infielder played parts of eight seasons  the Reds, Pittsburgh, and Boston, where he won a ring with the 2004 Red Sox.
  • Reese’s best day for the Sox came on May 8, 2004, when he hit two home runs, one of which was an inside-the-parker, off Kansas City’s Jimmy Gobble–More on Jimmy Gobble, coming soon to OA. Reese hit only one additional homer for the Red Sox, later that year.
  • Reese was better known as a defender, where he won back-to-back gold gloves in 1999 and 2000 for the Reds. Those were also Pokey’s best offensive seasons–in 1999-2000, he averaged 11 homers, 49 RBI, and posted a .271/.324/.727. Reese was also an above-average base stealer throughout his career, and he swiped 25 bases four times.
  • By the time he played for the Red Sox, Reese was used primarily as a late-game replacement, as a defender or pinch-runner. He appeared in 10 postseason games for the ’04 Sox, but batted just twice–he struck out and grounded out. Nonetheless, Reese was a key leader on the team which overcame 86 years of Championship drought, and suffers from the same forgetability problem shared by all those non-power hitters of the Steroid Era (Looking at you, Desi Relaford). This is why he remains one of my favorite Obscure Athletes of the past 20 years, and I hope we’ve jogged your memory of this defensive genius.

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