Gilberto Rolando Reyes Polanco (Cebollita)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 203 lb.
Born in the Dominican Republic in 1963, he was playing in the minors in 1980 at age 16. He was a weak hitter from 1980 to 1982, but in 1983 at age 19 became a much better hitter for the San Antonio Dodgers in the Texas League, where he hit .282 in 33 games, and for the Albuquerque Dukes in the Pacific Coast League, where he hit .306 in 20 games. That year, he played in the majors for the first time, making a few appearances as an injury replacement in mid-year. His 19 games that first year were the most he would play in the majors until his final season.
Although he came up to the Dodgers five different times during the 1980s, he was always in the minors for most of each season, generally with the Albuquerque Dukes, although he also hit .303 with a .418 slugging percentage for the San Antonio Dodgers in 1984. Since he was a young player, it was always expected that he would be the Dodgers catcher of the future. Even in his third year in the majors in 1985, he was still one of the ten youngest players in the league.
However, he was finally traded to the Montreal Expos late during spring training in 1989. He got a brief look towards the end of the season, then spent all of 1990 in the minors. He hit .233 and .226 those two years, but in 1991, he became the regular catcher for the Expos after making the team as the third-string catcher. He had a tremendous throwing arm, throwing out an exceptional 53% of base stealers that season. However, his hitting was truly not at a major league level: he hit .217 with all of 9 extra-base hits that year, all doubles, for a slugging percentage of .261, and hardly drew any walks either. In his book reviewing the season, Bill James called him the best defensive player on the team, but already the Expos had made moves to find another catcher, acquiring Darrin Fletcher in a trade after the season; Reyes never again played in the majors.
A New York Times article from 1992 indicates that Reyes had been in a rehab center in 1990 due to alcohol problems, and in 1992 was suspended by Commissioner Fay Vincent for "violating his aftercare program and baseball's drug policy". It was apparently because he had a positive test while playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic. Source: New York Times article, 2/8/92. Following a grievance hearing, it was ruled on April 3 that Reyes should be treated as a first-time offender and the suspension was lifted. However, the Expos released him only a month later before he played in the minors again.
In his major league career, he hit .202 in 258 at-bats, and had no home runs and no triples.
In 1993, he spent a season with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox in the Colorado Rockies organization, hitting only .236 (the team batting average was .295 in a very friendly hitting environment). He was back in the Mexican League for 1994-1995, most of 1996, 1997 and part of 1999, hitting .265 overall there. In 1996, he returned to the Expos' organization and appeared in 17 games with the Ottawa Lynx in the International League, hitting .182. He also played in the independent leagues in 1998 and 1999.
Reyes later became a manager in the Mexican League, in 2001 with the Cordoba Coffee Growers, in 2003 with the Olmecas de Tabasco, where he replaced Servio Borges, and in 2006 was the manager of the DSL Mets.