Rich Gedman (born September 26, 1959) is a former Major League Baseball catcher and left-handed batter who played with the Boston Red Sox (1980-90), Houston Astros (1990-91) and St. Louis Cardinals (1991-92).
A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, Gedman played first base and pitched in high school. Not classically athletic, he went undrafted in the June 1977 draft, and was signed as a free agent by the Red Sox. He was sent to the Instructional League to learn to play catcher, and progressed steadily up through the Red Sox minor leagues system. Highlights of his minor league career included catching the first nine innings of the longest game in the history of Organized Ball, a 33 inning affair between Gedman's Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings.
Gedman made his debut for the Sox in September 1980, pinch-hitting for Carl Yastrzemski. In 1981, regular Sox catcher Carlton Fisk was granted free-agency and signed with the Chicago White Sox, leaving the catcher position open. Gedman shared catching duties with Gary Allenson, and played well enough to be named The Sporting News Rookie of the Year.
Following a poor 1982, Gedman's hitting improved the next two seasons under the instruction of Red Sox hitting coach Walt Hriniak. He hit a career high 24 home runs in 1984 and followed with career highs in batting average (.295) and RBI (80) in 1985 while throwing out nearly half of potential base stealers. In that season, he became the 16th Red Sox player and only the 6th catcher since 1900 to hit for the cycle.
1986 saw three of the highlights of Gedman's career. On April 29, he set the American League record for putouts by a catcher with 20, as Roger Clemens set the major league record for strikeouts in a nine-innings game against the Seattle Mariners. On April 30, he had 16 putouts for a total of 36 in two days, which is the most for a catcher in two consecutive games. Gedman was also selected to the All-Star Game that year, to go with his appearance in the 1985 game. But the peak of his career coincided with one of its lows in the 1986 World Series. In the bottom of the tenth inning of Game 6, with the Sox leading by one run with two outs, Kevin Mitchell on third and Mookie Wilson at bat, reliever Bob Stanley threw a pitch that Gedman failed to handle. It was scored as a wild pitch, but many considered it a Gedman passed ball. Mitchell came in to score, tying the game. Then, Wilson hit a ball that went through first baseman Bill Buckner's legs to win the game for the Mets. The Sox went on to lose the deciding game, and the series.
A litany of injuries, holdouts, and inconsistency thereafter contributed to the waning of Gedman's skills, both offensive and defensive. In 1989, Rick Cerone replaced him as the regular Boston catcher. In 1990, he served as back-up catcher to Tony Pe├▒a, who was acquired by the Red Sox during the offseason. In June 7, he was traded to Houston for a player to be named later.
Gedman was not re-signed by the Astros, and in 1991 he signed with the Cardinals to back up Tom Pagnozzi. After spending spring training of 1993 with the Oakland Athletics, he signed a minor-league contract with the Yankees, playing the season with their Triple-A club, the Columbus Clippers. When he failed to make a major league roster in 1994, he retired at age 34.
In his career, Gedman batted .252 with 88 home runs, 382 RBI, 331 runs, 176 doubles, 12 triples, and three stolen bases in 1033 games. As a catcher, he compiled a .984 fielding percentage with 5274 putouts, 431 assists and 92 errors in 980 games.
In 2002, Gedman became a coach with the North Shore Spirit, a team in the independent Northeast League. As of the 2004 season, he is the Spirit's bench coach.
In 2005 Gedman became the manager of the Worcester Tornadoes, in the Can-Am League.
Twice All-Star (1985-86) The Sporting News' AL Rookie of the Year (1981) Selected for the All-Star team by UPI and The Sporting News (1985) Caught Dennis Eckersley's one-hitter game (September 26, 1980) Set two AL records for putouts in a game and in consecutive games (April 29-30, 1986) Hit for the cycle and drives in 7 runs against the Blue Jays (September 18, 1985) Fact
On January 8, 1987, ten free agents Tim Raines, Lance Parrish, Bob Horner, Andre Dawson, Rich Gedman, Ron Guidry, Bob Boone, Doyle Alexander, Toby Harrah and Gary Roenicke, fail to meet a midnight deadline and thus will not be allowed to re-sign with their former clubs until May 1st if they are not offered contracts by new teams. The general lack of interest in the players will become the focus of the Players' Association's first anti-collusion suit against the owners. Resource: Baseball Library See also
Hitting for the cycle The Sporting News Rookie of the Year Award