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Calvin "Pokey" Reese, Jr. (born June 10, 1973 in Columbia, South Carolina), is a Major League Baseball infielder in the Washington Nationals organization. Reese has played with the Cincinnati Reds (1997-2001), Pittsburgh Pirates (2002-2003), and Boston Red Sox (2004). He bats and throws right-handed.
Reese was nicknamed "Pokey" by his grandmother for his chubby infant complexion, who intended to call him "Porky", but Pokey stuck.
Reese began his career in the minors with the Princeton Reds of the Rookie-level Appalachian League in 1991. The next season, Reese moved up to Single-A when he joined the Charleston Wheelers of the South Atlantic League in 1992.
He advanced to the Reds in 1997 and played with the team through 2001, winning two Gold Glove Awards along the way.
Following the 2001 season, Reese spent time on four different teams in the span of about 45 days. On December 18, he was traded to the Colorado Rockies. The next day, he was traded to the Red Sox for catcher Scott Hatteberg, but the Red Sox did not tender him a contract, making him a free agent two days later. On January 30, 2002, he signed with the Pirates.
In 2002, he battled Abraham Núñez for playing time. After an injury-riddled season in 2003, Reese turned down a higher-paying deal offered by Pittsburgh to play for the Red Sox.
In 2004, he was a member of Boston's first World Series winning team in 86 years. During the midsummer of 2004, the crippling defensive woes of other Boston's infielders contrasted with Reese's amazing feats of defensive play (such as making astoundingly high leaps to catch hit balls that probably would have flown into the gap to become singles) led to the coining of a new Boston catchphrase, "Pokey woulda had it." "It" being a bobbled or otherwise uncaught ball, an increasingly familiar sight to the Sox fans of the time. The phrase became a bumper sticker hit and sure enough, defense would become a major focus of the team as the summer wore on. In the 2004 ALCS fans chanted "Pokey! Pokey!" when Mark Bellhorn made an error.
On May 8, 2004, at Fenway Park, Reese had the first two-homer game of his career in a Red Sox 9-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals. Reese hit an inside-the-park home run and one of the conventional type over the Green Monster, to snap a 172 at-bat homerless streak dating to April 4, 2003. The last Red Sox player to hit a conventional homer and an inside-the-park homer in the same game was Tony Armas on September 24, 1983, at Tiger Stadium.
In 2006, Reese signed a one-year deal with the Florida Marlins. His contract was terminated on March 5, 2006, after leaving the club on March 1 and not having direct contact with anyone on the team for over 72 hours.
In 2008, Reese was signed by the Nationals to a minor league contract and played for Triple-A Columbus where in two games he strained both hamstrings and was placed on the DL for several weeks. On July 3, 2008, he returned from the disabled list to Single-A Hagerstown, but was quickly sent back up again to Triple-A Columbus.
At the plate, Reese has always been an impatient hitter who strikes out much more often than he walks, posting a career 0.43 walk-to-strikeout ratio (226-to-531). He does hold his own in clutch situations and he has a little power. On the bases, Reese has above-average speed, and he uses it well once he's on base. A high-percentage base stealer (144-for-170), Reese always looks to take the extra base, but he is not able to take full advantage of his speed because of his inability to get on base consistently (a career .307 on base percentage).
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