There are those who know Salomon Torres only as the 21-year-old kid who got clobbered by the Dodgers on the last day of the 1993 season, costing the 103-win Giants a spot in the playoffs. He was the baby-faced right-hander whom Giants manager Dusty Baker took out for Spanish food the night before that enormous start to help convince him that he was ready, though some of the Giants players had begged Baker to start veteran Dave Burba.
It's a shame that anyone remembers Torres for that day. There is so much more to know about him, now the closer for the Pirates. Torres owns and operates two baseball academies in his home country of the Dominican Republic, he retired for five years at age 25 to become a coach, he is deeply religious, and he is -- says Pirates pitching coach Jim Colborn -- "a Renaissance man; he's erudite," which might be the only time any baseball player has ever been described as either. He is a rubber-armed righty who throws six pitches for strikes, including a sinker and a devastating split, and has saved all four Pirates wins.