All-Time MLB Players From Lafayette: Gil Meche
There have been a number of individuals from Lafayette, and the Acadiana area, that have played in Major League Baseball over the years.
Obviously, the entire state of Louisiana has produced even more.
As a matter of fact, 246 people born in the state of Louisiana have appeared in a Major League Baseball game, beginning in 1874, with John Peters of New Orleans, who played 11 years, with the likes of the Chicago White Stockings, Milwaukee Grays, Providence Grays, Buffalo Bisons, and Pittsburgh Alleghenys.
All summer, we’ll preview a player from the state of Louisiana that appeared in Major League baseball, starting with players from Lafayette, before spotlighting players from the Acadiana area, and then a few from the state itself.
Today, we feature Gil Meche.
Born in Lafayette in 1978, Meche, a right-handed pitcher, played ten seasons in Major League Baseball, with the Seattle Mariners, from 1999-2006, and the Kansas City Royals, from 2011-2010.
After playing his high school baseball at Acadiana High School in Scott, La., Meche was drafted by the Mariners in the first round, with the 22nd-overall pick, of the 1996 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.
At Acadiana, Meche pitched on the same staff as Joey Fontenot, another former first round draft choice.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Meche played for the Mariners’ minor league affiliate in Peoria, Arizona in 1996, going 0-1 with an ERA. of 6.00, in only 3 innings of work, at the age of 17.
After spending 3-and-a-half more seasons in the minor leagues, including time at AAA Tacoma, Meche was called up to the big leagues by the Mariners July of 1999, making him the 10th person born in the Lafayette area to ever play in Major League Baseball.
In his big league debut, against the then Anaheim Angels, Meche pitched 5.2 innings, allowing 4 hits and 2 earned runs, while walking 5 and striking out 5 in a no-decision.
Meche appeared in 16 games as a rookie, including 15 as a starter, going 8-4 with a 4.73 ERA. In 85.2 innings, he allowed 73 hits, and 45 earned runs, while striking out 47 hitters.
After going 4-4 with a 3.78 ERA. in 2000, Meche missed all of the 2001 campaign, after having arthroscopic surgery to repair a frayed rotator cuff.
In 2002, Meche returned, recording a career-high 15 wins, with a 4.59 ERA., before going a combined 28-23 over the next three seasons.
Meche left the Mariners following the 2006 season, signing a 5-year, $55 million free agent contract with the Royals, which was tied for the largest in club history at the time.
In his first year with Kansas City, Meche made the All-Star team for the only time in his career, going 9-13 with a 3.67 ERA, and followed that up with a solid 2008 campaign, going 14-11 with a 3.98 ERA.
Things didn’t go all that well for Meche after that, however, as he began experiencing back and shoulder issues.
In the 2009-2010 seasons, Meche went a combined 61-5 with a 5.35 ERA., before retiring.
The Royals were required to pay Meche $12 million in 2011, but he chose to retire, as he considered it unfair for the organization to pay him the money if he couldn't pitch.
In 9 seasons in the minor leagues, Meche went 23-33 with a 4.10 ERA.
In parts of 10 seasons in Major League Baseball, Meche compiled an overall record of 84-83 with a 4.49 ERA.
Meche made his MLB debut on July 6 of 1999, while making his final appearance on October 3 of 2010.