Lafayette Drillers Flashback: Tony Gonzalez
The Lafayette Drillers, a Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, called Lafayette, Louisiana their home for two years, from 1975-1976.
The Drillers, who played their home games at Clark Field, were co-champions of the Texas League in 1975 with the Midland Cubs, finishing 72-57, before going 58-76 in 1976, the last year of affiliated professional baseball in Lafayette.
A number of outstanding players, who eventually made it into Major League Baseball ranks played at Clark Field in 1975 & 1976, including five former Lafayette Driller players.
All summer long, we’re taking a look back at some of the former players for the Drillers.
Today, pitcher Luis Antonio “Tony” Gonzalez:
Gonzalez was a pitcher, primarily a starter, for the Drillers during the 1976 season.
Signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as a free agent, Gonzalez began his professional career in 1971 at the age of 17.
The 6-foot-1, 155-pound Gonzalez, a left-hander, made minor league stops in St. Petersburg, Florida, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Phoenix, Arizona before joining the Drillers in 1976 at the age of 22.
After spending the first four-and-a-half years in the Cardinals’ organization, the San Francisco Giants acquired Gonzalez midway through the 1975 season.
With Lafayette, Gonzalez pitched in 22 games in ’76, including 15 as a starter, going 4-7 with a 6.07 earned run average.
In 89 innings pitched, Gonzalez allowed 115 hits, 60 earned runs, and 39 walks, while striking out 44 hitters.
The season in Lafayette turned out to be the last in the Giants’ organization for Gonzalez, who pitched in 1977 for the Cleveland Indians’ organization, before retiring.
Gonzalez concluded his 7-year professional career going 39-47 with a 3.91 ERA, and one save, over 160 appearances.