Saturday, December 13, 2014
#26 Juan Bernhardt
One month before your 17th birthday you sign a free agent deal with the New York Yankees in 1970. You would be of top of the world thinking you hot the lottery right? I'm sure that is how Juan felt too. You don't think you will be in the Bronx the next day, but you would have high hopes. Juan would start the journey in 1971 working his way up through the Yankees minor league system. It was a slow climb for Juan to come up through the minors before seeing time with the AAA Syracuse Chiefs in 1976. Thanks to an injury, the Yankees brought Juan up to the big club in July of 1976 and he would spend the month with the team only to finish the year back in Syracuse. Thanks to a bit of luck, Juan was left unprotected by the Yankees and was the 10th pick by the Mariners in the 1976 expansion draft. The Mariners would have Juan on the Opening Day roster for the 1977 season.
He would get his first chance with the new team on April 10th and put his name in the team record books. Juan hit the first home run in team history off Frank Tanana of the California Angels. Juan would see time in 1977 and in 1978 at Designated Hitter, 3rd Base, and 1st Base. He would stay with the team all season in 1977, but was split between Seattle and the AAA San Jose Missions in 1978. Juan would be a pinch hitter on April 8, 1979 getting a single and being pinch ran for. That would be the last action Juan would ever see in the majors as he would be sent to AAA with the Spokane Indians. Juan would be dealt to the Chicago White Sox in July 6th that year and would spend the rest of the year with the Iowa Oaks. In 1980 Juan decided to play with the Tabasco Planteros in Mexico. For the next two years in 1981 and 1982 he would be a player/manager with the Campache Piratas. Juan would start 1983 with the Piratas but without the mam\nagging duties, and would finish that year with the Aguascalientes Rieleros. Baseball can be a cruel sport with Juan seeing his time done at the age of 30 with much promise that just never materialized.