July 17, 2000
Each year, the Arizona Diamondbacks seem to come up with some type of human interest story about one of the players that shows this organization is indeed made up of solid citizens first and ball players second. In the inaugural season, it was Travis Lee, the all-american boy next door who came soaring through the minor leagues to become the cornerstone of the franchise. Last year, it was Erubiel Durazo, a native from Mexico who no one seemed to know anything about except that he hit over .400 at every level of the minor leagues and made an impact at the Major League level in helping the Diamondbacks win the divisional title. This season we have another “feel good” story from the Diamondbacks. Geraldo Guzman, a young man from the Dominican Republic who was cut from the Montreal Expos eight years ago when he developed elbow problems. Guzman then took up carpentry and cabinet making to make ends meet and support his family. His dreams of playing baseball were set aside so that he could earn money so that his family would eat. In the back of his mind, he still wanted to play professional baseball but felt he may never realize his dream. After being away from the game for seven years, Geraldo began playing again in a semi-pro league where he was spotted by Junior Noboa of the Diamondbacks. Noboa was so impressed that he signed Guzman to a minor league contract. Geraldo began the season in El Paso of the Texas League as a closer. He blew away AA hitters and soon found himself promoted to Tucson. There, he became a starting pitcher and dominated Pacific Coast League hitters. When the Diamondbacks found themselves in need of starting pitching, Guzman came up and won his Major League debut 2-1 at hitter friendly Enron Field in Houston. Tonight, Guzman made his Bank One Ballpark debut and threw 8 strong innings to earn his second win in as many starts. Throughout it all though, he is a humble man who knows he has been given a second chance to realize his dreams. Geraldo is living in the moment and savoring all that is around him. Who knows, maybe those cabinet making skills will once again come in handy when he is asked to make a trophy case to hold a World Series trophy for the Arizona Diamondbacks.