Enrique Nomar Calero, also known as Kiko, is a professional baseball player from Puerto Rico. Calero is a relief pitcher and since beginning his career in Puerto Rico’s junior structure, he has become a veteran at the MLB in the United States of America.
At the 1994 MLB Draft, Calero was picked by the Detroit Tigers at 1142 overall, in the 42nd round. He decided to decline the offer and then waited a couple of years before declaring for the 1996 MLB Draft where he was picked at 799th overall, in the 27th round by the Kansas City Royals. The two years between the two draft appearances had been spent at the St. Thomas University in Florida.
Calero spent a long time in the A- and AA-Divisions and it took him 6 years before he finally made it to the AAA-Division with the Omaha Royals in the Kansas City Royals organization. In his first season in the minors, Calero had the 4th best ERA in the league while being named to the Texas League All-Star team in 1997. Until 2000, Calero had amassed 31 wins and was one of the prime options for the reliever’s job with 105 starts under his belt.
However, Calero would spend the off-season playing in other countries as well, ensuring that he always stayed in knick.
Calero, during his career, also played in the Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League with Indios de Mayaguez in 1996. Kiko played with them for 5 seasons, until 2000, where he led the team to two national titles as well as three appearances in the Serie del Caribe. Kiko was the Puerto Rican League’s Rookie of the Year and was a part of the all three All-Star games that took place while he was at Indios de Mayaguez.
After the 2002 season, Calero’s contract was not renewed and he became a free agent only to be signed up by the St. Louis Cardinals. In 2003 and 2004, Calero played for the Cardinals as a relief pitcher and was also a part of the team that went onto win the national League title in 2004. Calero went on to play in the 2004 World Series as well.
At the end of the season, Kiko was named as part of the team that played in the Major League Baseball Japan All-Star Series, held in Japan.
The Oakland Athletics brought Calero in at the end of 2004, along with Dan Haren and Daric Barton. Mark Mulder went to the Cardinals instead.
St. Louis may have been happy with the acquisition, considering Mark Mulder was one of the best pitchers in the League at the time. However, both Haren and Calero put in two incredible seasons and Mulder, on the other hand, had a forgettable 2006 as well as a injury-shortened 2007, making Oakland the clear winner from the trade.
After a dismal 2007, Calero was designated for assignment first, and then released in 2008, following which he signed with the Texas Rangers in July. The contract was for the minors and that meant that Calero would be spending a lot of time in the AAA-Division at Oklahoma. After finishing the season in Oklahoma, Calero went to Florida Marlins with a minor league contract that included an invite to the Spring Training camp in 2009.
In April, after the end of Spring Training, Calero was named to the MLB roster in April.