J.C. Romero slightly edges out Cesar Hernandez as the greatest Phillie to wear number 16 thanks to a ring on his finger. Hernandez could have that chance in a couple of years, but Romero was a major piece to the Phillies winning stretch and championship.
Born in Puerto Rico, Romero played baseball on his native island before attending the University of Mobile in Alabama. From there he was drafted 633rd overall by the Minnesota Twins in 1997 and made his debut at the age of 23 two years later.
Something clicked for Romero in Philadelphia, leading him to a 1.24 ERA in his final 51 games of the 2007 season.
After starting 22 games with a 6.60 ERA Romero was moved to the bullpen by Minnesota and saw immediate success. In 81 games as a reliever in 2001 he had a 9-2 record with a 1.89 ERA for the first place Twins. His next three seasons weren’t as smooth with an ERA just under four and 95 runs allowed in 195.1 innings.
A trade to the Angels didn’t help Romero’s career, but in 2007 he found success with the Red Sox. Romero had a 3.15 ERA in 23 games for Boston before being released in June of their championship season. Philadelphia picked Romero up off the street, and the rest is history.
Something clicked for Romero in Philadelphia, leading him to a 1.24 ERA in his final 51 games of the 2007 season. Success carried over to the Phillies championship season when he had a 2.75 ERA in 81 games. Lefties hit just .102 against him that year, making him the perfect late-game specialist.
Carlos Delgado was the only lefty who had more than one hit against Romero that season, finishing 2-8. Only 11 lefties had a hit against Romero in 98 at-bats during the ’08 regular season.
Romero would lead the Phillies with two World Series wins, including the clinching game five. His time with Philadelphia ended with the perceived emergence of Antonio Bastardo in the bullpen, and the lefty finished his career with Baltimore in 2012.