Ten years after his first major league homer, Rafael Belliard went deep against the Mets’ Brian Bohannon for his only HR as a Brave after more than 1,200 AB’s. It came a month shy of his 35th birthday in what would be his next to last season with the local nine.
Too bad he didn’t hit it on May 7, 1991, when he fell just a HR shy of the cycle. Raffy drove in 5 that night vs. the Cardinals and followed that up with 2 doubles and 3 RBI in the finale of a two-game set at Fulco.
Luis Gomez was a poor man’s Rafael Belliard, at least at the plate. Like Raffy, Gomez was smooth, if unspectacular, defensively. But Belliard was a regular Barry Larkin on offense compared to Gomez, the only player on our list who was traded for another of the 20 worst Braves, Pat Rockett (part of the deal that brought Chris Chambliss to Atlanta).
The Braves knew what they were getting in Gomez, a utilityman who came to Atlanta with a career .216 BA. They probably didn’t think he’d do much worse, but he did, batting .192 in 156 games with the Bravos. Of Gomez’s 60 hits only 6 went for extra bases. He had no homers, triples or stolen bases. Didn’t walk much either, which accounts for his .249 OBP.
Pitchers Doyle Alexander and Preston Hanna nearly matched Gomez’s meager .451 OPS in 1980 while Knucksie had just one less double.
Baseball Reference compares his career to that of the infamous Mario Mendoza, although the final Mendoza line (.215 BA) was five points higher than Gomez’s.