Pitching development takes time and patience and the result can be failure or success. Sometimes it is a mixture of both. In another age, the Red Sox actually developed pitching and one was a lefty Roger Moret. Moret could in the parlance of pitching “bring it” with a blazing fastball. Moret also had quirky behaviors that today would have warning flags and not be ignored.
Moret first surfaced in Boston at age 20. Moret was – for comparison’s sake – a lightly shorter (6’4”) of Chris Sale. Moret’s first breakthrough was 1973 when split duty between the rotation and bullpen yielded a 13-2 record and 3.17 ERA.
In 1974 Moret went 9-10 in the same role, but in 1975 Moret led the American League in winning percentage at 14-3. In the playoffs, Moret was little used and in the offseason was traded to the Braves for Tom House. Why? A lopsided deal and first inspection.
In 1978 Moret was with the Rangers and in an early-season game went into a catatonic state in front of his locker. The first thought of as a joke the seriousness of the situation soon became apparent and eventually, Moret was placed in a psychiatric hospital for treatment. Moret returned to the Rangers and was eventually released.
Moret attempted a few comebacks that were ill-fated and unproductive, but once he returned to his native Puerto Rico, Moret continued to pitch for many seasons. In 2014 Moret returned to Fenway Park for a reunion of the 1975 team and had enjoyed – by all accounts – a positive retirement.
The real issue was Moret’s mental health that the Red Sox apparently ignored. His emotional instability was on display with off the field incidents including a questionable car accident. Moret also had to confront a problem that today is minimized – being Latino with few supports in place and couple that with emotional instability. With the Braves and later the Rangers this was magnified and Moret faded away.
Moret was a wasted talent that in the baseball world of today would have had far more support in place both for mental health and making the cultural clash as seamless as possible. Moret – like Tony Horton – became undiagnosed Flotsom of baseball. Moret had the physical stuff to be one of the best.