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Neifi Perez

From Wiki Gonzalez

Neifi Perez (born 1973) is possibly Baseball Think Factory's most reviled active player, and a case study for the malady known as Bakeritis.


Neifi came up as a shortstop in the Rockies organization, and became the starter there relatively quickly. While with the Rockies, perhaps one of the things he was most noted for was hitting a game-winning homerun in the final game of the 1998 season against the Giants, thereby dropping the Giants into a tie (and one-game playoff) for the wild-card with the Cubs, which the Cubs won. When Billy Beane shoveled him to the Royals in a three-team trade in exchange for Jermaine Dye in 2001, the Royals were shocked to learn that Neifi was not as good as advertised. He couldn't hit .280 (or even .250) outside of Colorado, couldn't steal a base, and was no great shakes with the glove either.

When, in 2002, Royals first base coach Tom Gamboa was attacked on the field by shirtless nitwits William Ligue Jr. and his son, the Royals bench came to Gamboa's defense by rushing the pair. Reviewing the video on Baseball Tonight, Harold Reynolds remarked that the Ligues were lucky Neifi Perez was the first Royal to reach them, because "everyone knows Neifi can't hit."

After playing his way out of a job in Kansas City, the Giants unaccountably signed him to a 2-year $4.25 million deal in 2003, plus bonuses, presumably to be an everyday starter at SS or 2B. It was universally regarded by Primates to be the dumbest signing of the 2002-03 offseason.

Using him as a semi-regular at both SS and 2B, not even the Giants could stomach Neifi's lack of performance, so they cut him midway through 2004.

The Cubs, trying to return to the postseason and with Dusty Baker looking for veteran bench help, picked him up and he promptly had a hot streak to win back a semi-permanent major league role. His hot hitting quickly earned him the moniker "Neifichiro!" in Cubs Game Chatter, though I think we all knew in the back of our minds that good performance was the worst possible outcome because then he would be back. Things this evil simply do not die on their own.

In 2005, Cub fans had the opportunity to watch Neifi make a full-season's worth of contributions to F-Troop, and much more.

Early injuries to starters Todd Walker and Nomar Garciaparra made Neifi a full-time player in the Cubs middle infield. At the plate, Neifi turned into "Neifichiro!" once again, hitting a solid .396 in 48 at-bats (with 2 homers) the first three weeks of the season. Post-April, he regressed to his usual level of non-performance, except for an extra-innings grand slam against the rival Cardinals in a July 24 nationally-televised ESPN game.

Nevertheless, Dusty's memory of Neifi's two hot streaks proved infectious, and he bat Neifi high in the Cubs lineup all season long. When Nomar returned from injury, Neifi remained at SS, pushing Nomar to third. Late in the 2005 season, a Cubs.com writer called Neifi the team's unsung hero.

In the 2005-06 offseason, the Cubs, who had finished a disappointing 79-83, re-signed Neifi to a 2-year $5 million contract, allegedly with no guarantee of remaining a starter. Again, things this evil simply do not die on their own.

Through most of 2006, Neifi was running for F-Troop president, compiling his usual .254/.266/.343 for a terrible Cubs team, when he learned in August that Jim Hendry had traded him to the Detroit Tigers for a minor league catcher. Detroit was leading their division but had just lost regular starting second baseman Placido Polanco to injury; apparently they thought the Neifinator could help them lock up a postseason berth.

The resulting Primer thread (http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/newsstand/discussion/chicagosportscom_cubs_ship_perez_to_tigers/) was filled with cheers from multiple Cubs fans for Hendry, because Neifi was now somebody else's problem. As for the other side of the trade, White Sox fan Kirby Kyle commented: "It's a rare day when Cubs and Sox fans can share joyful embraces."


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Retrieved from "http://digamma.net/btfwiki/Neifi_Perez"

This page has been accessed 3945 times. This page was last modified 14:38, 16 Sep 2006. Content is available under GNU Free Documentation License 1.2.

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