For the first dozen years of his professional baseball career, Sid Monge knew obscurity better than just about anyone else.
Selected out of Brawley Union High School in Brawley, CA, in the 24th round of the June 1970 draft, the native of Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico started his climb.
More than five years later, in September 1975, he finally made his Big League debut.
From there, Sid bounced from the bullpen to the rotation for a couple of seasons before settling into a long relief role in 1977 … the same summer an uninspiring Angels team traded him to the abyss of the Cleveland Indians.
Now, to be fair, the Tribe were not as bad during the late 1970s as they would be at times in the 80s, but they had virtually no hope of competing against the Yankees and Red Sox in the old AL East.
For his part, Monge kept plugging along and even reached double-digit wins (12-10) from the ‘pen in ’79. Also made the All-Star team that summer.
All in all, though, it was a pretty bleak picture for a minor star reliever entering his 30s by the Lake.
But then, just before the 1982 season, the Indians sent Monge to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Bake McBride.
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Suddenly, Monge was on a contender, and he went 7-1 with a 3.75 ERA as the Phils finished second in the NL East.
In 1983, the Wheeze Kids team was fully in place, and Monge started 3-0 for Philly as Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose, Tony Perez, Steve Carlton, and Joe Morgan drove toward a World Series appearance that fall.
But on May 22, the Phillies traded Monge to the San Diego Padres in exchange for Joe Lefebvre.
Monge finished 7-3 for the Pads, but of course missed out on postseason glory.
In 1984, Sid started off 2-1, 3.15 as San Diego surprised most of the baseball world by jumping out front in the old NL West.
Would Monge get his October turn with his new team?
Things looked good … but then the Padres sold him.
To the Detroit Tigers.
That would be the 1984 Detroit Tigers, one of the great juggernaut teams of the last 50 years.
In Motown, Monge picked up one win in 19 appearances.
And, though he didn’t appear in the postseason, he was right there as the team celebrated their first Fall Classic victory since 1968.
So, was Sid Monge the good luck charm that got 1980s teams to the World Series?
Hard to say, but he was done in the Majors after the Tigers released him on October 25, and you have to wonder if maybe the Dodgers’ or Blue Jays’ fortunes would have benefited from a few Monge sightings in 1985.
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1983 Topps Baseball Cards Complete Your Set U-Pick (#'s 1-200) Nm-Mint
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