Blast From the Past – Pedro Swann

I have no idea who Pedro Swann is.  To this point he is the most obscure former Blue Jay that I have written about.  He barely made it to the major leagues in the first place, and his stats render him virtually worthless.   So why even bother featuring him in Blast From the Past?

Because of two words: dedication and cruelty.

Dedication – Pedro Swann played professional baseball for 17 seasons.  He played for 16 different teams in nine different leagues from 1991 to 2007, including the Idaho Falls Braves in the Pioneer League, the Toledo Mud Hens of the International League, the Camden Riversharks of the independent Atlantic League, and the Tabasco Olmecas of the Mexican League.

Cruelty – see Dedication above.

Baseball can be a cruel game, but so many players remain so dedicated to the game that they simply brush off its cruel nature.  Succeeding in the game of baseball is difficult.  For every Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Albert Pujols there are hundreds of Pedro Swann’s.  And taking it a step further, for every Pedro Swann there are hundreds of lesser players who never even made the major leagues.

So let’s take a few minutes to salute Pedro Swann, a classsic, woeful, and forgettable, yet joyous Blue Jay from the 2002 season.

Pedro Swann spent nine seasons in the minor leagues before making his major league debut with Atlanta in 2000.  He didn’t do much.  Swann only appeared in four games – two as a defensive replacement, one as a pinch hitter, and one as a pinch runner.  His final stat line: 2 AB, 2 strikeouts.  He didn’t even have a single ball hit his way in the outfield.  All those years toiling in the minors for that?  He never played for Atlanta again.

Fast forward to 2002, which was a very interesting season for Toronto.  Buck Martinez started the year as manager, was fired on June 2 with a 20-33 record and replaced by Carlos Tosca.  Under Buck the Jays experienced a 4-game losing streak, a 5-game losing streak, a 6-game losing streak, and a 9-game losing streak.  Tosca actually finished with a winning record.  The Jays closed the season on a 7-game winning streak, including a near no-hitter by a rookie named Roy Halladay on the seasons final day.  Eric Hinske won the AL Rookie of the Year award, then promptly ate the trophy and got fatter.

So with all of that going on a fan can be forgiven for not remember the enigma that was Pedro Swann.  Looking at his statistical performance from his time with Toronto (July & August) those who were paying close attention might not remember him either.  One thing is obvious – the Blue Jays clearly didn’t trust him. 

Swann actually received a start in his first game with the team as DH on Canada Day.  After going 0-3 with 2 K’s, Swann never started again.  He found his way into 12 more games with the Jays – 9 as a pinch hitter and 3 as a pinch runner – but only once did Toronto trust him enough to let him stay in the game and enter the field.  In those two innings, just like with Atlanta, not a single ball was directed his way. 

For those counting, that made 12 professional seasons for Pedro Swann, and not a single fielding chance in the major leagues.  Cruelty and Dedication.  (He actually did get a chance to field with Baltimore in 2003, nailing all six of his chances to finish his career with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage).

Overall, his time in  Toronto was uneventful.  Aside from collecting his first career major league hit (July 30 vs KC), he was invisible.  His final stat line with the Jays is not what he would have envisioned on the back of his baseball card as a boy: 1-12, .083 average, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 3 R, 0 SB, 6 K:1BB, .154 OBP, .237 OPS. 

Swann’s greatest career achievement came the next season as a member of the Orioles, when he launched his only major league home run off of Roger Clemens.  Atta boy Pedro!

One more piece of trivia: though he might not have accomplished much on the field, he clearly had a perfect baseball body and face.  According to his Wikipedia page Swann played the part of Juan Vasquez alongside Kevin Costner in the movie “For Love of the Game”.

Pedro Swann: Career Major League Statistics

3 seasons (2000, 2002 – 2003)

3 teams (ATL, TOR, BAL)

.143 average, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 6 R, 0 SB, .486 OPS

*Blast From the Past is a feature dedicated to bringing back the memory of classic Jays from days past – the lesser known the better.  If you have any suggestions please contact 500 Level Fan.

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