Today’s Tiger: Rich Monteleone

Rich Monteleone

  • Born: March 22, 1963 in Tampa, Fla.
  • Bats: Right Throws: Right
  • Height: 6′ 2″ Weight: 205 lb.
  • Acquired: Drafted by the Tigers in the 1st round (20th pick) of the 1982 amateur draft.
  • Seasons in Detroit: 0

Usually these installments have featured players that actually appeared in games for the Tigers, but we’re making an exception for today’s birthday boy, Rich Monteleone. This is a revised version of a post that ran three years ago.

Before the names of Kyle Sleeth, Kenny Baugh, Justin Thompson and even Scott Aldred and Steve Searcy evoked images of a star-studded starting rotation for the Tigers, there was one name the personified unfulfilled promise for Tiger fans: Rich Monteleone.

(Actually, Monteleone and 1981 first-rounder Ricky Barlow led this category in the early ’80s, but we’ll focus on Monteleone who celebrates his 48th birthday today. Ironically, Barlow’s 48th was yesterday.)

Anyone who’s followed the Tigers at least since the late 1970s likely remembers the name. Detroit’s first-round pick in the 1982 amateur draft (#20), Monteleone, we were told, would slide into the rotation behind Dan Petry and someday become the Tigers’ ace.

So we waited. And waited.

And each Spring Training we’d follow his progress and wonder if this was the year Monteleone would break through. But that year never came. Instead the Tigers gave up on him after the 1985 season and traded him to the Seattle Mariners for Darnell Coles.

Though Monteleone failed to live up to the expectations of a number-one draft choice, he managed to carve out a nice 10-year career in the majors with the Mariners, Angels, Yankees and Giants. He retired after the 1996 season with a record of 24-17 and 3.87 ERA.

He was let go by the Yankees after the 2008 season after spending several years as one of their special pitching instructor.

Happy Birthday, Rich.

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