Carlos Guzmán (Guatemala)

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Carlos Guzmán Bocaletti (Cabrito)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right

Biographical Information[edit]

Carlos Guzmán was a top player in both Guatemala and Italy, represented both countries on the international stage and also managed in both nations and managed or coached for both national teams.

Guzmán reached Guatemala's top league with the Palic club. He played for the Guatemalan national team in a Central American competition, winning best catcher honors in 1968 (it is unclear what event this was). He also played for Guatemala in both the 1969 Amateur World Series and 1970 Amateur World Series.

Carlos signed with the Black Panthers Ronchi in the Italian Serie A1 for 1971. He hit .341/.401/.463 with 16 steals in 21 tries, 34 runs and 37 RBI in 40 games and fielded .977 at C while throwing out 30.9% of those who tried to steal. He was 6th in the high-scoring league in RBI. In 1972, he hit .394/.430/.577 with 41 runs, 20 doubles and 21 steals in 25 tries over 47 games for the Black Panthers, striking out only three times in 175 at-bats. He gunned down over half of those who tried to steal (28 of 54). He led the league in doubles, four ahead of Giorgio Castelli, tied for 5th in swipes and tied Giampiero Faraone as the hardest batter to strike out. He was with Guatemala for the 1972 Amateur World Series.

Guzmán's numbers fell off a bit in his third season with Ronchi, producing at a .303/.374/.533 clip, though he again showed off a splendid arm (opponents stole in only 52.3% of attempts). Moving to Parma in 1974, he backed up the legendary Castelli, only getting to catch usually when Castelli moved to 1B. He hit .301/.350/.493 with 21 runs in 23 games in that backup role and .342/.432/.487 with 21 runs in 21 games in a similar role in 1975.

In 1976, he became Parma's most-used first baseman while still backing up Castelli at 1B and also saw action at 2B and 3B. He hit .396/.433/.613 as Parma's second-best hitter after Castelli as they won the title. He scored 62 runs and drove in 50 in 52 contests while going deep ten times. He led the league with 88 hits (one more than Castelli), tied Eddy Orrizzi for 8th in dingers, was third in runs and ranked third in RBI (after Castelli and James Fradella). He also pitched and did very well (4-0, 0 R in 27 1/3 IP, 27 H, 3 BB, 16 K).

Guzmán took over the starting catching job with Parma in 1977, Castelli moving to 1B usually. The league adopted a split-season format; he hit .284/.343/.505 with 20 runs and 20 RBI in 23 games in the first half and .309/.333/.547 with a league-best 32 runs in 30 games in the second half. Parma repeated as Serie A1 titlists and also won the 1977 European Cup; they would dominate the European Cup in the remainder of Carlos's playing time with the club.

During 1978, the Guatemalan hit .298/.320/.438 and had a 2-2, 6.00 record on the hill but still won the MVP; it was only the third time Italy awarded a MVP award, following 1952 and 1977. Parma won the 1978 European Cup. He also obtained Italian citizenship and joined the Italian national team for the 1978 Amateur World Series, 8 years after he played for Guatemala in that event. He hit .458/.458/.750 while starting at 1B and backing up Castelli and Orrizzi at catcher. He was Italy's top hitter, with Castelli's .314/.415/.486 the next-best line. Had he qualified, he would have been second in the Series in average, between Roberto Espino and Luis Casanova.

Carlos kept on cruising in 1979. The 33-year-old hit .316/.385/.474 with 32 runs and 31 RBI in 36 games while going 2-0 with a 7.04 ERA. He split catcher and first base with Castelli. Despite not making the top 10 in runs or RBI, he again won a MVP. That year, two different sources named MVPs in Italy; the other one picked John Long. The next two-time MVP was Claudio Liverziani in 2000 and 2003; from 1983-1999, Italy did not name a MVP. The next repeat winner would be Giuseppe Mazzanti in 2006-2007. In 2014, Liverziani won his third award, as Guzmán finally lost his share of the records for most MVPs in Italy. In the 1979 European Championship, he hit only .263/.300/.263 as Italy's starting backstop but they won the Gold Medal.

In 1980, Guzmán batted .309/.386/.477 with 13 doubles, 47 runs and 37 RBI in 36 games while posting a 1-0, 3.38 record. He tied Vincenzo Luciani for third in two-baggers and tied Orrizzi for fifth in runs. He played primarily 1B with some catcher as well, with Castelli playing whichever position he did not usually. Parma won the 1980 European Cup. In the 1980 Amateur World Series, he was one of Italy's top performers, posting a batting line of .444/.474/.556 with 5 RBI in 7 games. He backed up Orrizzi and Castelli at C and Castlli and David Di Marco at 1B. Only Steven Rum had a better average for the Azzurri.

The veteran hit .371/.383/.457 with 33 RBI in 26 games as a 1B/C for Parma, while having a 1-1, 7.94 record. He excelled in the postseason, socking three homers in 9 games with 8 runs, 8 RBI and a .417/.475/.722 batting clip. Parma won the Serie A1 title and the 1981 European Cup as well. In the 1981 European Championship, he hit .250/.250/.250 as Italy won the Silver Medal. he split 1B with John Guggiana and Castelli while backing up Castelli and Orrizzi at C. He also pitched two innings, allowing one hit and no walks while fanning two. It was his last appearance for the Italian national team.

For the 1982 season, Carlos slumped to .271/.287/.398 with 21 runs in 27 games as a 1B/C; his arm was not what it once was as he only threw out two of 20 attempted base-stealers. In the playoffs, he hit .302/.302/.465 and Parma repeated as champs. He hit .333/.394/.483 in the first round in 1983 but only .202/.218/.272 in the second round. Parma also won the 1983 European Cup. The fading player moved to Fiorentina in 1984 and had a solid season (.341/.372/.423) at the plate plus pitched regularly for the first time (7-2, 3 Sv, 3.50). In '85, he ended his long career by hitting .315/.323/.380 for Fiorentina and going 3-2 with two saves and a 3.62 ERA.

Overall, Guzmán had hit .326/.370/.485 with 485 runs, 422 RBI and 150 doubles in 582 games in Italy's top league. He had stolen 69 bases in 88 tries, mostly in his first three years. He had gone 20-9 with 5 saves and a 3.98 ERA in 66 games on the mound, allowing a .297/.333/.423 opponent batting line. Defensively, he fielded .985 in 339 games at C (throwing out 34.8% of those who tried to steal), .984 in 160 at 1B, .940 at P, .940 in 13 at 2B, .889 in 11 at SS and .810 in 7 at 3B. He had 7 putouts and one assist in 6 games in the outfield. He had played every position except center field in his 15 seasons in Italy.

Through 2014, he ranked among Italy's career leaders in average (22nd), slugging (36th, between Francesco Petruzzelli and Elio Gambuti), doubles (tied for 32nd with Davide Rigoli), tied for 37th in home runs (63, even with Faraone and Gianguido Poma), 43rd in runs (between Andrea Evangelisti and Filippo Crociati), 44th in hits (744, between Evangelisti and Orrizzi), 44th in RBI (between Dario Borghino and Marcello Verni) and 49th in OPS (between Juan Carlos Infante and Riccardo Luongo).

Guzmán later managed Reggio-Emilia in the Serie A2 and Parma, Bollate, Mantova and Parma again in Serie A1 and Municipal and Universidad in Guatemala. He managed Municipal to two titles. He coached for Italy in numerous tournaments, including the 1988 Baseball World Cup, 1990 Baseball World Cup, 1993 European Championship, 1993 Intercontinental Cup, 1994 Baseball World Cup, 1995 Intercontinental Cup, 1997 Intercontinental Cup and 1998 Baseball World Cup. One source lists him as coaching for Italy in the 1992 Olympics (including a photo of a 1992 Olympic credential for him) and 1996 Olympics - this is very possible as the IBAF's listing of the Olympic coaches only lists 1 or 2 for those years when teams usually had more. Carlos also guided Guatemala in the 2003 Pan American Games, going 1-3. Additionally, he has been a Guatemala scout for the Montreal Expos and Florida Marlins.