As announced on twitter (where else?) this morning, Braves bullpen coach and glory years catcher Eddie Perez (1995-2001, 2004-5) has become a citizen of the United States in a private ceremony this morning.
— Eddie Pérez 12 (@Eperez1212) August 13, 2014
Eddie was born in Ciudad Ojeda in Venezuela on May 4th, 1968. He signed with Atlanta in 1986 and started with the Gulf Coast League Braves in 1987, toiling for 9 seasons in the minors before getting his shot. He made his major league debut in September of 1995.
That was a really timely arrival, for that team went on to win a World Series title – and Eddie batted .308 in 13 plate appearances with a homer for that championship team in 1995.
He was named the 1999 NLCS MVP and posted a lifetime playoff batting average of .299 with 3 home runs in 30 games. Over his career, which included cameos with the Indians in 2002 and the Brewers in 2003, Eddie hit .253 with 43 homers in 564 games – usually in the role of a backup backstop. The stats show him as a very good defender – perfect for the role, given his solid hitting skills in support.
On his retirement, Pérez was immediately hired by the Braves to become a player-coach for the AA Mississippi Braves. Bobby Cox pulled him in as bullpen coach in 2007 – and he has remained a fixture there ever since.
Congratulations, Eddie – we’re glad to have you as one of the newest citizens of the United States of America – and thanks for making us proud of you on and off the field!