Quintana pitched for the Angels as a reliever in '74-75, less than 20 innings at ages 22-23, and that was it as far as his MLB career. Died in his car Monday in Florida after a crash, at age 57. Anyone have any memories? Yetijuice?
Quintana earned one of his two career wins on my sixth birthday, at a very 2009-style game (a 14-4 comeback win, with 10 of those runs coming in the 7th and 8th innings). I was most likely in attendance ... but I don't remember a thing. According to his Baseball Reference "bullpen" page, not only was he "one of the finest closers" of the Puerto Rican Winter Baseball League "during the mid 70's," he also had his name misspelled on his 1975 AAA baseball card.
Seeing guys like that -- who come up at a tender age, then quickly exit the big leagues -- always leaves me wanting to hear the back story. How can you be good enough to face big league hitters at 22, but not by 24? (Granted, the Angels were a bad baseball team in the Dick Williams era, particularly though not only in the bullpen, and young pitchers are always one injury away from a bus ticket home.) But still, guys like Bob Sprout ... dude was *19* when he came up in 1961, pitched four innings in a September start against the Senators, and boom! That was it. What's his story? Or his 20-year-old one-n-done teammate Dan Ardell? Was it that they were never good enough, but management took pity? Did they get homesick for their college sweetheart and go back to Topeka to work for the bank? Do they have stories about the rest of the team that no one's ever heard, because no one bothered to ask?
That's why I think the Angels, and the rest of us, could really benefit from some kind of Oral History Project. Take everyone who's ever put on the uniform, start rolling tape, talk until you run out of questions, then transcribe & edit to our heart's delight. It's a finite number of humans -- probably less than 900, not counting the people who have already died -- and I'm sure the new stories, and overall understanding, to come out of all that would be just amazing. I'd volunteer for the job ... FOR A LOW, LOW PRICE.
Anyway, the team should do that. SO DO THAT, TEAM! And please, if anyone has some actual Luis Quintana stories, let's hear 'em!