Ed Romero appears here on his third Topps card in a posed shot in Tiger Stadium. A cursory glance through the cards profiled thus far shows this is the third Brewer to have a posed shot in Detroit. The camera man on the West Coast was on the ball though as we’ve seen four Brewers in action in Anaheim. Romero's face seems to be playing host to a trio of thick black caterpillars.
Player: Ed Romero signed with the Brewers as a 17 year-old free agent in 1975 and was still a teenager when he made his MLB debut in '77. The young Puerto Rican started nine games in place of injured SS Robin Yount and held his own batting .280 in 25 at bats before returning to double-A for the rest of the year. Romero had to wait until June 1980 before he got another chance in Milwaukee. This time he stuck around in a utility role and showed plus range but made 11 errors in 104 chances at SS. He batted .260 and slugged his first homer in the last game of the year.
Romero served a similar reserve role for the Brew Crew over the next few seasons. After batting just .197 in '81 he improved to .255 in '82 and .317 in '83, all the while batting less than 170 times each year. He appeared briefly in the '81 LDS with one hit in two at bats against the Yankees. Although the Brewers made it to the World Series the next year, Romero had to cheer from the bench the entire time.
The following year would prove to be Romero's most active season as the Brewers struggled to fill the void left when Paul Molitor went down with a season ending elbow injury in April. Romero started 40 games at thirdbase and 39 games at shortstop and batted .252/.307/.292 in 397 plate appearances. His rate stats were similar in '85 but he didn't play as often and was shutout of the HR column after hitting exactly one five years in a row.
After the '85 season Milwaukee traded Romero to Boston for reliever Mark Clear. Clear saved 16 games and earned 2.5 WAR in '86 for the Brewers and could have been another arm at the Red Sox disposal in the postseason. Romero filled in around the infield while batting .210/.270/.283 in 233 at bats and posting -0.9 WAR. He was 0-3 in the postseason and was mainly used as a pinch runner and defensive sub after starting SS Spike Owen was lifted for a pinch hitter. He hit a little better in '87 with a .272 average but was rarely used afterwards. He played in just 31 games in '88 and was released in August of '89 after batting just 113 times.
Romero finished out the '89 season with a handful of games with the Braves and the Brewers. He played for the Tigers in 1990 and was released in July after batting .229 in 80 trips to the plate. He played one more year in the minors before hanging up his cleats.
Flipside: All four of Romero's highlights came in a ten day span. That doesn't even include Romero's RBI single on June 11 that broke a 6-6 tie to give the Brewers the lead and eventual win over the Tigers. His Win Probability Added of .304 is more than the other four games combined.
Oddball: Utility infielders get no love. Romero played twelve years in the majors and wore nine different uniform numbers. The poor guy must have been bullied into surrendering his number often.
History: Romero was a replacement level infielder, well at -5.6 career WAR, even worse than replacement level. His defense doesn't look all that great when looked at with Total Zone (-50) and his lifetime 67 OPS+ is proof enough he was no slugger. Even though he's listed at a slender 150 lbs on the back of his card, he was no rabbit either. He had just one triple in his career and was 9/19 in steal attempts.
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