Thursday, January 7, 2010

Name: Alphonse Dante Bichette
Nickname: Dante
Position: RF/LF
Number(s): 11, 19

Years as an Angel: 1988-1991
Angels’ Stats: 533 ABs, 18 HRs, 76 RBIs, 8 SBs, .244 Avg.
Career Stats: 6381 ABs, 274 HRs, 1141 RBIs, 152 SBs, .299 Avg.

How He Was Acquired: The Angels drafted Dante in the 17th round (424th overall pick) of the 1984 amateur draft.

Why You Should Know Him: Dante Bichette was an unfortunate victim of a trend that began in the late 1980s and took more form in the early 1990s where the Angels tried to “win one for the Cowboy” at all costs—especially as the Cowboy’s health began to fail. This often resulted in the Angels prematurely abandoning younger players and trading them for “crafty veterans” who were on the down side of their careers to try and catch lightning in a bottle.

In the case of Dante Bichette, he was traded in 1991 to the Milwaukee Brewers for Dave Parker. Dave Parker went on to under-perform for the Angels (he posted a 232/279/358 line with 11 HRs in 119 games), Dante went on to have a great career, especially as an original member of the Colorado Rockies.

Dante’s career performance definitely was enhanced by playing in the high altitude and dry climate of Coors Field. However, in 1995, Dante’s numbers weren’t solely the result of the ballpark. In 1995, he nearly captured the Triple Crown when he posted a 340/364/620 line with 40 HRs, 128 RBIs and 13 SBs.

Anecdotes and Quotes: "When you try to hit the ball for power, your swing gets too long. The best thing to do is stay back, see the ball, and then explode through the ball."

Memorable Moments/Games: On April 7, 1993 Dante Bichette hit the first ever homerun for the Rockies off of Bret Saberhagen in the 7th inning at Shea Stadium.

On April 26, 1995, Dante Bichette hit a 3-run 14th inning home run against the Mets to give the Rockies their first win in the brand new Coors Field. It was a dramatic come-from-behind win 11-9 win. That year, as part of the Blake Street Bombers, Bichette helped power the Rockies to win the National League Wild Card (setting the record for the fastest time for an expansion team to reach the post season) and finished second in the National League MVP vote.

On June 10, 1998, Dante hit for the cycle in a game against the Texas Rangers at Coors Field.

Where Is He Now?: Presently, Dante lives in Florida with his wife and two sons, and is actively involved with coaching his sons in baseball.

Contributed by David Saltzer - Columnist
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