The 2000 Philadelphia Phillies had a couple of pitchers who were good candidates to represent them for the ‘Phillies 50’ series of random players who combined minimal contributions to that club with an overall low-impact MLB career.
Thomas Jacquez, who was a 24-year-old in what would be his lone big-league exposure, fits the bill on both counts. He has a completely forgettable stats line as well.
A northern California native, Jacquez is the son of Pat Jacquez, who pitched in two games with the Chicago White Sox during the early 1970’s. Thomas and his sister Suzann followed in their father’s footsteps with the game.
“The baseball field was our classroom where we learned about composure, hard work and sportsmanship. My father taught us how integrity is the cornerstone of success in any endeavor we encounter. My sister was an academic all-American shortstop at UC Berkeley, so we were always having fun while working hard to refine our skill set. We had the gift of pairing our passions with our skills,” Jacquez said per Rory Costello at SABR in an article originally published in February 2011.
Jacquez would become the Phillies choice in the sixth round of the 1997 MLB Amateur Draft out of UCLA. In college he pitched for a celebrated Bruins’ squad that included fellow future big-leaguers Eric Byrnes, Jim Parque, Troy Glaus, and Eric Valent.
Rising through the Phillies minor league system as a starting pitcher, Jacquez reached Double-A in 1999. A reporter referred to him early that season as the Reading ‘ace’, to which he responded: “I wouldn’t say that. Every game is a battle for me. I’m a groundball pitcher. If I get the ball up, you saw what happens.”
What happened that year at Reading was that he yielded 20 homers and produced a 5.28 ERA. But Reading is well-known as a hitter’s environment, and Jacquez was moved up to Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre to finish the season. He would spend most of the 2000 season there as well, but would also get his lone shot in Major League Baseball.
Between Reading and Scranton, Jacquez produced a solid 2000 campaign in which he allowed 79 hits over 82 innings across 48 games with a 2.30 ERA while pitching almost exclusively out of the bulllpen. That earned him a promotion when rosters expanded in September.
On September 9, 2000 at Shea Stadium in New York, manager Terry Francona called on Jacquez to make his big-league debut. The Phillies had just taken a 3-1 lead in the top of the 7th inning. Jacquez would face the first two batters in the bottom of the frame for the host Mets. He induced Robin Ventura to ground out weakly to first baseman Brian Hunter and then struck out Todd Zeile looking. He was then lifted and the Phillies went on to a 6-3 victory for which he earned an official Hold.
Jacquez appeared in a total of nine games with the Phillies over that month of September. A half-dozen were scoreless outings, but he was blown-up by the opposition on two occasions. One of those came in what would prove to be the final MLB appearance of his career on September 30, 2000 at Pro Player Stadium when Cliff Floyd of the host Florida Marlins blasted a 6th inning grand slam off him.
During those nine games with the club, Jacquez allowed nine earned runs on 10 hits over 7.1 innings for an 11.05 ERA, 1.773 WHIP, and 6.27 FIP. He struck out six, walked three, and surrendered a pair of home runs.
After spending the entire 2001 season in the Phillies minor league system he was placed on waivers and selected by the Chicago White Sox in January 2002. Unfortunately his 2002 season was cut short and 2003 season delayed when he suffered an elbow injury the required Tommy John surgery.
He pitched one final season in 2004 after signing with the Baltimore Orioles, throwing 21 games for their Double-A club at Bowie in the Eastern League.
After retiring, Jacquez returned to college, earning his BA and MA degrees from the University of San Francisco. For a decade from 2005-14 he coached baseball and taught Spanish at a San Francisco college preparatory high school.
Jacquez now teaches young pitchers how to thrive on the mound by instructing proper biomechanics, functional fitness, nutrition, game strategy, leadership skills per the pitchinthezone.com website.