During the 2007 season, Eric Hinske played 84 games for the Boston Red Sox. I hope I don’t need to remind you which team won the World Series that year (here’s a hint: the Red Sox crushed the Colorado Rockies in that Fall Classic with a sweep). Granted, Eric the Great (wasn’t that his nickname?!?) only appeared in three games during Boston’s playoff run, with two plate appearances and a run scored, backed by an impressive .000/.000/.000 slash line. So, it’s not like he had a huge influence over on-field play and outcomes. He got a ring and a World Series share, though.
Over the next two seasons, Hinske would be on the World Series 25-man roster for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 and the New York Yankees in 2009. He would win a second ring with the Yankees. In the 2009 World Series, Hinske would have a 1.000 OBP in one PA, drawing a walk and scoring a run in the Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
After signing with the Atlanta Braves, Hinske would fall short of another World Series appearance. The Braves lost to the San Francisco Giants in the 2010 NLDS. So, two things I noticed here, which may not mean a damn thing. First, Hinske appeared in three straight World Series with three different teams. That’s something Jonny Gomes didn’t quite replicate, but only Don Baylor has in Major League history. Secondly, the fact that the team that beat Hinske’s team went on to win the World Series.
Now, on to Gomes. During the bearded dream of 2013, Gomes played 116 games for the Sox, primarily in left field. In 21 Series PAs, Gomes slashed .118/.286/.294 with a three-run bomb in Game 4 off Seth Maness in the sixth inning.
That bullpen splashdown put the Sox up 4-1 in the game, at the time, and would essentially tie the Series at two games apiece.
In the 2014 postseason, Gomes was part of a late-inning defensive shift that put Sam Fuld in center for Coco Crisp and Gomes in left, but he wouldn’t get a plate appearance. This was during the American League Wild Card Game. Gomes was, obviously, playing for the Oakland Athletics. They lost to the Kansas City Royals, who went on to fall just a foul pop-up short of winning the World Series.
Gomes would start the 2015 season with the Braves, but he was traded to the Royals at the final trade deadline on August 31. He served a very minor role on the field and may very well have just been a hired cheerleader (which we saw plenty of during the World Series). Nonetheless, he joins Hinske as two role players who’ve earned two rings in a three-year period (surely not the only ones in history).
My only question is a two-parter: Assuming the Royals most likely won’t exercise the team option on his contract, will he find a major league roster spot for 2016? If he does indeed find a place to play, will it be a team that makes the playoffs and will they lose to the eventual 2016 World Champions?
Keep in mind that Gomes will be a 35-year-old platoon outfielder coming into next season, at best, so my hopes of him repeating [part] of Hinske’s feat are slim.