|First baseman / Outfielder|
April 1, 1948 |
Catano, Puerto Rico
|Batted: Left||Threw: Left|
|April 12, 1966 for the California Angels|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 2, 1982 for the Philadelphia Phillies|
|Runs batted in||802|
|Career highlights and awards|
Guillermo Montañez Naranjo (born April 1, 1948) is a former Major League Baseball first baseman. Even though he was productive, Montañez often carried the label "hot dog" for the whimsical manner in which he approached the game. After hitting home runs, he would trot very slowly around the bases, shuffling his feet on occasion. When catching infield fly balls, he would "snatch" the ball out of the air with his gloved hand and quickly shift glove and ball to the opposite hip, as if putting a gun in a holster. After receiving an attempted pickoff throw from the pitcher, he would sometimes repeatedly tag the baserunner who had safely returned to base. Antics such as these would irritate some teammates and opponents alike, and play to mixed results with the fans.
Montañez was born in Catano, Puerto Rico, and was originally drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals as an amateur in 1965. After one season with the Florida Rookie League Cardinals, he was selected by the California Angels in the 1965 rule 5 draft, and made his major league debut with the Angels in their 1966 season opener as a pinch runner for Norm Siebern in the 14th inning. The Chicago White Sox won the game in the bottom of the inning before Montañez could log an at bat, however, he did have two at bats without a hit with the Angels before being returned to the Cardinals on May 5.
On October 7, 1969, the Cardinals traded Curt Flood, Byron Browne, Joe Hoerner and Tim McCarver to the Philadelphia Phillies for Dick Allen, Jerry Johnson and Cookie Rojas. When Curt Flood refused to report to his new team, the Cards sent Montañez and Jim Browning to the Phillies to complete the trade. He appeared in eighteen games with the Phillies in 1970, mostly in the outfield, and collected three runs batted in and scored three runs.
In 1971, Montañez was tabbed as the starting center fielder for the Phillies, and responded with a career-high 30 home runs, 99 RBIs and a league leading thirteen sacrifice flies. He finished second behind Atlanta Braves catcher Earl Williams in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting.
In 1972, Montañez led the National League in doubles (39), and tied for the league lead in outfield assists with fifteen. With Del Unser's arrival in Philadelphia in 1973, Montañez returned to his natural position at first base where he stayed for the remainder of his career.
San Francisco Giants
Though he was batting .286 with the Phillies at the time of the trade, he ended the season with a .302 batting average for the second of his three consecutive seasons batting over .300. He also collected a career high 101 RBIs between his two teams, and emerged as one of the league's top fielding first basemen, leading the league first basemen in assists for the first of three times in his career (1975, 1976 & 1978).
For the second season in a row, Montañez found himself changing teams in the middle of the season when the Giants sent him to the Atlanta Braves with Jake Brown, Mike Eden and Craig Robinson for Darrell Evans and Marty Perez on June 13, 1976. As a result, Montañez played in an unusual 163 games. At the time of the trade, Montañez had appeared in sixty games for the Giants. He then appeared in 103 games for the Braves, bringing his total to 163 games in a 162-game season. He was named first baseman on The Sporting News NL All-Star team.
New York Mets
Montañez was included in an unusual four team off-season trade prior to the 1978 season that had him go from the Atlanta Braves to the New York Mets. The Texas Rangers sent Adrian Devine, Tommy Boggs, and Eddie Miller to the Braves, a player to be named later and Tom Grieve to the Mets and Bert Blyleven to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates sent Al Oliver and Nelson Norman to the Rangers. The Mets sent Jon Matlack to the Rangers and John Milner to the Pirates. The Rangers later sent Ken Henderson (March 15, 1978) to the Mets to complete the trade.
Montañez found himself, again, on a last place team as the 1978 Mets narrowly avoided losing 100 games themselves. However, Montañez emerged as one of the few bright spots on the team, leading it with seventeen home runs and 96 RBIs.
Montañez's fortunes with the Mets turned around substantially in 1979. He was batting only .234 with five home runs and 47 RBIs when the Mets sent him to the Texas Rangers for two players to be named later. In 71 fewer games with the Rangers, he swatted eight home runs and batted .319. Following the season, he was traded to the San Diego Padres for Tucker Ashford, Joe Carroll and future Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry.
The 1980 Montreal Expos were in a tight division race with the Philadelphia Phillies throughout the season. They completed a deadline deal for Montañez on August 31, 1980 for Tony Phillips and cash. In fourteen games with the Montreal Expos, Montañez batted .211 with one RBI.
Return to Philadelphia
On August 20, 1981, he was again involved in a trade with John Milner—this time going from the Montreal Expos to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was released by the Pirates on July 1, 1982. Ironically, Milner was released by the Expos four days later, and signed with the Pirates later in the month. Montañez signed with the Phillies for the remainder of the season, at the end of which he retired.
Montañez had a career .992 fielding percentage at first base, and led National League first basemen in assists 1975, 1976 and 1978. From 1975 to 1978 he collected 349 RBIs.