Ryan Francis Garko (born January 2, 1981 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is a former professional baseball outfielder, first baseman, and designated hitter. In college, he was a catcher. He has played for the Cleveland Indians, the San Francisco Giants, and the Texas Rangers in Major League Baseball as well as the Samsung Lions in the Korean Baseball Organization. Garko is seen by former ESPN reporter John Sickels as a good hitter who hits to all parts of the field, but with poor defensive instincts. Through 2010, he has a .275 career average, 427 hits, 55 home runs, and 250 RBI in 463 games.
When he attended Stanford University, Garko won the Johnny Bench Award and was named the Pac-10 Co-Player of the Year his senior year. He was also voted onto the College World Series Legends Team, featuring 28 of the best College World Series players as voted upon by fans, writers, and head coaches. During his time in the Cleveland Indians' organization, Garko was converted into a first baseman. In 2006, Baseball America ranked him as the fifth best prospect in the Indians organization, including being the best at hitting for average.
Garko debuted in 2006 for the Indians, eventually taking over their first base position. In 2007, he hit a career-high 21 home runs in the regular season and batted over .300 for the Indians in the playoffs. Questions about Garko's ability to hit caused him to lose some playing time in 2008, although he managed to have 90 RBI. In 2009, Garko was traded to the San Francisco Giants to become their first baseman, but he slumped and ended the season as a backup. He signed with the Seattle Mariners in 2010 but was claimed off waivers at the end of spring training by the Texas Rangers. After just 15 games, he was sent to the minors, where he spent the rest of the year. He played for the Samsung Lions of the Korean Baseball Organization in 2011 and played in the minor leagues in the United States in 2012. He has not played in 2013, although he attended spring training with the Colorado Rockies.
He was hired as an assistant coach at Stanford prior to the 2014 college baseball season.
- ^ John Sickels (September 27, 2004). "Indians prospect Ryan Garko". ESPN.com. sports.espn.go.com. Retrieved February 5, 2010.
- ^ Janie McCauley (March 29, 2014). "Ryan Garko goes from MLB player to coach at alma mater Stanford". Associated Press. Retrieved April 21, 2014.
By Dean Hanley
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