Tagged: Minor Leagues

Who’s On First?

Whos_on_first If you had two umpires regulating a baseball game, as most lower level minor league games do, and one of the umpires had to leave in the middle because of injury or illness, what would you do? How about calling on a couple of players from the home team to be replacement umps.

That’s exactly what happened on August 11th in a South Atlantic League (A-ball) game at Delmarva. As the sixth inning concluded with Delmarva beating West Virginia 10-1, home plate umpire Dan Oliver started to feel the ill-effects of post-concussion syndrome— the result of a grade two concussion he had suffered a couple of days before. Oliver had to depart the game, leaving base umpire Tim Bretzke in a lurch. Instead of umpiring the rest of the game on his own, Bretzke decided to use a couple of players to cover for Oliver. According to West Virginia Power GM Andy Milovich, this incident had precedence from a year ago, and the officials of the South Atlantic League had informed umpires it was okay to use players to fill in if a situation like this should arise again. So, Bretzke delegated Delmarva outfielder Daniel Figueroa to umpire first base, and Delamrva pitcher Josh Potter to umpire third base.

At this point West Virginia protested, but not because of the Delmarva players being assigned as umps, but because they thought that Dan Oliver, still suffering post-concussion syndrome, was unfit to umpire the game in the first place. Supposedly, Bretzke was going to have one player from each team umpire, but West Virginia manager Ramon Aviles was so upset that Oliver had been allowed to work the game that he told Bretzke to just go ahead and have the Delmarva guys do the job.

Cabcartoon_1There were no controversial calls for the rest of the game and Delmarva went on to win 12-3. While we are still awaiting word from the South Atlantic League Office on this
matter, according to a veteran minor league official scorer,
normally in this occurence the remaining umpire would finish the game
by himself. However, it should be noted that each league is independent
and has its own set of rules for situations like this.


                                                                                            Carl The Cabbie


Last Game Of The Night

Sam_lynn_edit_2As dusk strolls through Bakersfield, California, just beneath the glare of the sunset sky and next to the Kern River lies Sam Lynn Ball Park, the oldest ball field in the California League. This is where one can attend the last game of the night in professional baseball.

While the rest of west coast games in the minors or major leagues begin no later than  7:35 PM (PST), the Bakersfield Blaze (Adv-A ball) are at the mercy of the sun to begin their nighttime home games. In late June and through July umpires occasionally have to wait until almost 8:00 PM (PST) 11:00 PM (EST) to yell, "Play Ball!".

The reason…

In 1941 Sam Lynn Ball Park was built with home plate facing the western skies, directly in line with the setting sun. For the past 65 years the time of the first pitch in Bakersfield has been decided by one solar moment, the sun dipping below the centerfield wall.

Tim Wheeler has been the official scorer for Bakersfield for the past 11 seasons and, in the tradition of Lou Gehrig and Cal Ripken Jr., has not missed a night in over 800 consecutive games. To understand the reasoning behind the ill-conceived construction of Sam Lynn Ball Park, there is no better source than Mr. Wheeler.

"Backass-wards" Ballpark

There are many theories as to why Sam Lynn Ball Park was constructed in such an illogical way. The most popular story that has bounced around Bakersfield over the years has to do with the
repercussions of WW II. The speculation is that upon construction in 1941, the stadium lights were donated to the war effort allowing Bakersfield to play only day games. Thus, the direction home plate was facing would have no effect on the start time of the game. Tim Wheeler quickly debunks this theory, pointing out that Bakersfield’s inaugural game was on April 22nd, 1941, almost eight months before the United States entered WW II after the Pearl Harbor bombing (December 7th, 1941). Furthermore, if one were to look back at the game recaps from 1941 one would discover that the start time for Bakersfield’s first game against the Fresno Cardinals on April 22nd was 8:15 PM.

The New Deal

Another theory that has grown some legs has to do with the famous WPA (Works, Progress, Administration) projects initiated by Franklin Delenor Roosevelt in the 1940’s as part of his New Deal Plan to spur the economy and lift the country out of the Great Depression. It is a well known fact that many WPA projects were hastily put together with very little effort put into the planning stages. The main aim of these projects was to put people back to work as quickly as possible. Correct engineering was often a secondary thought. It was rather common for builders like Sam Lynn to disregard forces of nature like the position of the sun when constructing their projects. This theory might  have some validity if you consider that an even more prolific WPA engineer, Robert Moses, obviously didn’t consider the sun when building many of the highways that connect Long Island to New York City. Anyone who has ever cursed the impotency of their car’s sun visor while driving from the Hamptons to Manhattan in the late afternoon might attest to this lack of forsight.

The Mushy Theory

Yet, another theory has to do with the close geography of the *Kern River to the ballpark. Supposedly, if home plate was planted in the correct place the stability of the ground would have been destabilized by the damp soil near the river. However, to this day the grounds crew occasionally tests water marks in left field and along third base to make sure the ground isn’t deteriorating. It is highly unlikely that the builders would consider the dampness around home plate a problem while not considering the same predicament for the rest of the field.

Baseball…What’s That?

My favorite theory is the final one that Mr. Wheeler puts forth and might be the most likely reasoning behind this building planning travesty, "The construction supervisor knew absolutely nothing about the game of baseball!".

Ouija2Much like the search for the Holy Grail, the mystery of why Sam Lynn Ball Park was built with home plate facing the setting sun will most likely never be known. This is because there are no building plans to be found anywhere. The truth might lie with Sam Lynn, but for him to answer this great question for us we will have to use a Ouija board, since he passed away three months before the opening of his namesake ball field.

Sam Lynn Ball Park might not be the most well-constructed ball field in baseball, and the team that calls it home might struggle to win games, but if you’re a baseball junkie and you need just one more inning before you go to bed, you can always catch the Blaze in Bakersfield where they play the last game of the night.


While most teams have the task of preparing their fields for the occasional rain delay, Sam Lynn Ball Park has always had to prepare also for the dubious sun delay. Over the years, when Bakersfield officials have started games too early, they have had to interrupt play for short intervals because of
the blinding sunset. In 1994 they constructed a sun screen over the centerfield wall that has mitigated the frustrating delays greatly, but still fails to be high enough to be full proof. Since 1996, when Tim Wheeler began compiling a sunset schedule for game starts, there have been no sun delays. The last in-game sun delay occured at 8:07 PM (PST) on July 3rd, 1996 in the bottom of the first and lasted a total of three minutes.

*Though the area of the Kern River next to Sam Lynn Ball Park is relatively calm, any baseball fiends thinking of fetching baseballs from the river – BEWARE! The Kern River is one of the most dangerous  in California. It is often referred to as the "Killer" Kern River because 150 people have died in it over the past 25 years.

**Sunset photo of Sam Lynn Ball Park was taken by Blaze fan Frank Domingo.

Bannister Update!

Bbannister7For any Mets’ fans who are still in the doldrums after Dunaer Sanchez’s recent traffic mishap, here’s a little positive news to perk you up! Pitcher Brian Bannister, recovering from a VERY severe hamstring strain, threw seven shutout-innings last night in his second rehab start for the St. Lucie Mets (single-A). Bannister struck out eight, walked no one, and threw all of his pitches. The Mets expect to give Bannister one or two more rehab starts at a higher level before deciding whether to add him to the roster. There’s a good chance that Bannister could be up later this month to help fill the void left by Sanchez.

The “Two-Out” Inning

Confusion795114Just when you think you’ve seen everything in baseball, along comes some strange wackiness that would even make the headless horseman scratch his head. The other day while I was smoking a cigarette out on the stoop, a little birdie flew by and chirped some very strange happenings from Bristol, Virginia.

On July 9th, in an Appalachian League game (Rookie Ball) between the Elizabethton Twins and the Bristol Sox, their was actually a "two-out" inning. According to my feathered friend, the incident took place in the top of the 5th inning with Elizabethton batting. This is how it went down—Daniel Berg led off with a line single to right. Richard Sojo then tripled him home. With no one out Steven Singleton lifted a sacrifice fly to center-field to score Sojo and record the first out of the inning.

Then things turned wacky.

Evidently, with Michael Lysaught at the plate and no one on base, the scoreboard listed that there were two-outs. When Lysaught popped out to center fielder Kent Gerst, the umps called three-outs and the teams left the field. The mistake unbelievably wasn’t noticed until the bottom of the fifth was already under way. The umpires decided to continue play as normal with Elizabethton’s next scheduled hitter William Luque leading off the top of the sixth. The Bristol pitchers ended up being credited with 9-innings pitched and 27 outs recorded even though they actually only got 26 men out.

So, what happened to the mystery out? If you look at the Game Log in the top of the 5th that day,
you will notice that the batter Michael Lysaught is credited for two-outs during his at bat. The second out is listed as batters interference. You’ll also notice in the Box Score that Lysaught, who was batting ninth in the lineup, is credited with 5 plate appearances while the rest of his teammates all have 4 plate appearances.

All this craziness didn’t hamper Elizabethton as they went on to win 5-3 anyway, but poor Mr.

Lysaught’s batting average got the short end of the stick as he wound up 0 for 5 instead of    0 for 4.

So, how could this happen?

Well, the only answers I can think of are that we have become so
conditioned to accept technology as omnipotent that it no longer occurs to us to question what an electronic scoreboard says; or that the home team knew what was going on, but decided to stay mum about it thinking that they had caught a break; or as my little birdie surmises, there was some kind of sedative in the water in Bristol that day. On the positive side, maybe this abbreviated-inning gaffe should be adopted as the norm—it sure would shorten the interminable length of ballgames these days!

Cabbie Suggestion

I’m not really sure how to prevent this oddity from occuring ever again, except to suggest a new toy out on the market that might help the umpires refresh their counting skills— it’s a brilliant little item and can even be folded and packed in a bag for road games.


Minaya & Cashman Catch A Rising Star

Risingcatchstar_1 While many fans who like to look to the future mark down June 6th every year to see where the next great players will go in the Baseball Amateur Draft, July 2nd has become just as important a date. This is the day when teams are allowed to sign international free-agents. Two of the most interesting free-agents on the list this season were 16-year old catchers, Jesus Montero and Francisco Pena.

Francisco Pena has garnered much of the attention because of his famous baseball father, former MLB catcher Tony Pena, but Jesus Montero could be the top prospect among all the international free-agents. This past weekend both New York teams paid hefty bonuses to ink the talented young backstops.

The Yankees struck first, signing Montero to a reported $2 million contract. After losing out on Montero, the Mets quickly followed the Yankees’ lead by coming to terms with Pena for a reported $750,000.

Jesus_monteroMontero is considered by many scouts to be the best hitting prospect to come out of Venezuela since Miguel Cabrera. The fact that Tony Pena is the first base coach for the New York Yankees seemed to have no bearing on which of the two catchers the Yankees were targeting. Montero was clearly the favorite of Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman. His signing replenishes a Yankee farm system that, since the trading of Dioner Navarro, was devoid of top-talent at the catching position. He will start his Bombers’ career next season playing Rookie Ball for the GCL Yankees.

Montero was also the first choice of the Mets, but Mets’ GM Omar Minaya was ready to pounce on Pena once Montero chose the Yankees. At 6′ 2", Francisco Pena, from the Dominican Republic, is bigger and has more potential pop in his bat than both his father and brother (Tony Pena Jr. the shortstop for the AAA Richmond Braves). Upon his signing, he immediately becomes the Mets’ top-catching prospect.

"The kid is a good defensive catcher, but it is his bat that will take him far in baseball. We could say that he is a combination of Tony Pena’s defense and Mike Piazza’s bat."

                                                                                Leo Mercedes, Pena’s baseball mentor

"I feel embarrassed to talk about my own son, but I think Francisco has a natural talent for batting, and as a catcher I can say that right now he has a better arm than I had when I was 16."
                                                                               Tony Pena , father and 5-time all-star catcher

The Mets have not announced where Pena will start his career, but the GCL Mets in Rookie Ball is a good bet.





               Carl the Cabbie

Pelfrey Coming To The Show?

Pelfrey_1Shea fans might get a glimpse of their future this Saturday when the Florida Marlins roll into town. According to Adam Rubin of the Daily News, MLB wanted Mike Pelfrey to pitch in the Futures Game for prospects this weekend, but were told by Mets’ officials that he would not be available because he was under consideration for a major league assignment. Saturday is a doubleheader for the Mets and with Darrin Oliver most likely to pitch one game in place of Pedro Martinez, that leaves an open slot. The two leading candidates are Norfolk’s John Maine and Binghamton’s Mike Pelfrey. The Mets aren’t likely to announce anything before Friday, July 7th—that’s when Pelfrey is scheduled to pitch again at Trenton. So, keep an eye out on the scheduled starter for that day. If Pelfrey is scratched, then you can be assured of seeing him at Shea on Saturday.

Pelfrey7_1Pelfrey was dominant in his last start against New Hampshire, going 7 innings while allowing only 2 hits, 3 walks, 1 earned run and striking out 11. In his last three starts for Binghamton he is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA and 22 K’s in 19 IP. Overall this season, pitching between St. Lucie (Adv-A) and
Binghamton (AA), Pelfrey is 6-3 wih a 2.45 ERA, a 1.19 WHIP and 103 K’s in 88.1 IP.

Dr. Owens

Updated: July 9th 2006

Hen_owens11_4 As the Mets continue to seduce their fans with their winning ways, a true ‘summer of love’  has begun at Shea. Because of the solid job Omar Minaya has done in his short tenure as GM, the outlook should only get brighter through July and the dog days of August.

While signing Pedro Martinez and Billy Wagner and trading for Carlos Delgado and Paul Lo Duca have certainly personified Minaya’s stalwart work thus far, one should not overlook the fantastic job he has done in continuing to rebuild a minor league system that was all but vanquished just a few years ago.

Two of Minaya’s more publicized maneuvers, drafting pitcher Mike Pelfrey and signing Cuban defector Alay Soler, have helped to build a sense of depth and hopefulness in a starting rotation that is ladened with age. But thankfully, Omar has not forgotten the need to develop new blood and more depth for the oftened overworked Shea bullpen. Today, we will highlight the development of flame thrower Henry Owens, who Minaya snatched from the Pirates in the 2004 Rule V Draft.

A little over a year and a half ago while most of New York was oohing and aahing over the bombshell free-agent signing of "The Maestro" Pedro Martinez, the Mets were busily deciding on what players were worth signing from the minor league left-overs every club makes available each December in the Rule V Draft. The Flushing scouts decided only one player was worth the modest investment, relief pitcher, Henry Owens.

A year and a half later, Owens is one of the Mets’ top pitching prospects. At 27 years of age one would think Owens is well passed the hot-prospect label. But, this late bloomer has been held back by factors that have nothing to do with talent or skill. Owens was originally a catcher who spent his college career at Division II Barry University in Miami. In June 2001, he was more concerned with preparing himself for a career as a doctor than he was about getting drafted. As the 2001 amateur baseball draft unfolded Owens name was never called, just as he expected. As far as he was concerned his baseball career was over,  "My focus throughout college was going to medical school, that was my intention… My intention was not to play professional baseball. I didn’t think I had a chance."  But, because of his incredible arm strength the Pittsburgh Pirates came calling and took a chance on him. They signed him as an undrafted free-agent pitcher later that summer. Henowenspr460_rdax_460x307_2

In the beginning, all Owens could do was rear back and throw his natural gas. He spent the
next three years in the Pirates’ low minors developing complementary pitches to his formidable fastball. By 2004 he had  begun to transform an erratic curve ball into a potentially dangerous slider. His fastball was also becoming more dangerous as he was now mixing two-seamers in with his natural four-seamer, and was topping the radar gun regularly in the mid-90’s.

Just as Pirates’ scouts were starting to get excited, Owens suffered a long bout of elbow tendinitis and his progress was further hampered by chronic back problems. Owens fought through the 2004 season, but his control suffered and eventually the Pirates decided a pitcher who was 25-years old, and a converted catcher with elbow problems wasn’t worth protecting on their 40-man roster.

The Pirates’ misfortune was about to turn into one of Omar Minaya’s shrewdest moves when the Mets drafted him on December 13th, 2004. Owens was assigned to High-A (St. Lucie) for the 2005 season. This is where Owens began a string of dominating performances. From June through September of 2005 Owens allowed only 3 earned runs (ER) in 26 Innings pitched (IP) while posting a 1.04 Earned Run Average (ERA). His success led to a short stint in the Arizona Fall League where he was recorded topping the radar gun in the high-90’s. Building on his success in Arizona, he flew over to play Winter Ball in the Puerto Rican League. Owens handled the elevated competition with aplomb and began to work on a third pitch, a split-fingered fastball.

As the Mets opened camp this past spring, Owens was ready to open some eyes. And that’s exactly what he did. During his performance in spring training he wowed his big league teammates with his fire breathing fastball regularly topping 98 mph. As spring training wound down, the local NY media  began to shine a light on his sensational camp.

On April 23rd, Owens celebrated his 27th birthday. For the first time in his career Owens would not be pitching in A-Ball. He was assigned to Binghamton, the Mets’ AA affiliate. Very quickly, Owens established himself as the closer. Besides a minor hiccup that sidelined him for much of May with a
strained elbow ligament, Owens completely devastated hitters in the
Eastern League. In 25.0 IP this season at Binghamton, he struck out a ******** 51
men allowing only 8 hits, 8 walks and 3 ER while garnering 11
saves. His ERA was 1.08 and hitters hit .106 against him.

While he continues to rely on a fastball that is thrown harder than any in the Mets’ entire system, his slider has evolved into a nasty strikeout pitch that some scouts have called Brad Lidge-like. He will occasionally mix in his two-seam fastball with his four-seamer whenever he wants to give the batter a different look, and he is starting to throw his splitter more often when he needs to induce a ground ball.

Because of the flame thrower attached to his right shoulder, Owens has completed his quick ascension through the Mets’ system. He was called up to Shea last Thursday. In two games Owens has tossed 3 shutout innings so far.

The Mets’ bullpen has been one of their brightest spots this season. But, with Aaron Heilman scuffling, Jorge Julio now in Arizona, and Duaner Sanchez in desperate need of a blow, Owens arrival provides a much needed boost to the Mets’ overworked bullpen.


                                                                Cabbie Scout Notes

                                                                      Henry Owens

                Makeup                                                          Repertoire

                Command (++
1/2)                                                          Fastball (++++)

                Competitiveness (++++)                                  Slider (+++)   

                Intelligence (+++
)                                            Splitter (++)




                                                                                                                +      below average       
                                                                                                               ++     average
                                                                                                              +++    above average
                                                                                                             ++++   lights out!                                                                        

Like Father Like Son (2006 Edition)


2006 Edition

Father_and_sonjpg_2 Carrying on the legacy of one’s father can be an inspired and sometimes daunting task. In baseball, bloodlines have always proven helpful in procurring an opportunity to play professionally. While the sons of ex-major leaguers may grab a scouts attention more easily than most, they also have the burden of living up to a very high standard of success. In the end, every ballplayer will be judged on the fruits of his own labor. A last name might get you to A-ball, but no major league team is going to give you a job just because your last name is Rose, Clemens, or Griffey.

Here is a list of the children of present and ex-major leaguers playing minor league ball today. I’ve also included the sons of major league general managers (GM) and a couple of other interesting kin that you should know about.

By clicking on a son’s name you can see where he is playing and follow along statistically as the 2006 season progresses. By clicking on a father’s name you can see his career statistics.

The children’s ages are in ( ) next to their names. The minor league level they are playing at currently is in ( ) next to the major league team they are affiliated with. There is a key at the bottom of this page that explains the minor league levels’ abbreviations if you are unfamiliar with them. If you are aware of a player I have missed, you can e-mail me here at Inside Pitch at cshimkin@yahoo.com and I will add him to the list.

*This is the original research of sports writer and researcher Carl Shimkin (the author of this blog)

             Son                                  Org/Level                         Father

                                                Solid Potential 

3B    Koby Clemens (19)                           Astros (A)                              Roger Clemens 

OF    John Mayberry Jr. (22)                    Rangers (A)                          John Mayberry

OF    William Venable (23)                         Padres (A)                            Max Venable

OF    Anthony Gwynn Jr.  (23)                  Brewers (AAA/ML)              Tony Gwynn

OF    Eli Iorg (23)                                          Astros (A)                              Garth Iorg

OF    Kris Harvey (22)                                Marlins (A)                            Bryan Harvey

SS    Ivan De Jesus (19)                            Dodgers (A)                          Ivan De Jesus

P      Cody Smith (24)                                  Royals (AA)                          Bryn Smith

C      Brandon Snyder (19)                        Orioles (A)                             Brian Snyder                            



                                                           A Cup Of Coffee

3B     Aaron Herr (25)                                 Reds (AA)                             Tommy Herr

OF    Joe Gaetti (24)                                    Rockies (AA)                        Gary Gaetti

1B     Fernando Valenzuela Jr. (23)         White Sox (A)                       Fernando Valenzuela 

SS    Tony Pena Jr. (25)                              Braves (AAA)                       Tony Pena

IF      Kyle Reynolds (22)                            Cubs (A)                                Craig Reynolds

2B    Jose Enrique Cruz (24)                     Mets (A-ADV)                       Jose Cruz

2B     Eric Young Jr. (21)                            Rockies (A)                           Eric Young 

1B     Ned Yost IV (24)                                 Brewers (A)                           Ned Yost

IF      Tim Hulett Jr. (23)                              Rangers (A-ADV)                 Tim Hulett

SS    Brandon Fahey (25)                          Orioles (AAA/ML)                  Bill Fahey

1B     Dustin Yount (23)                              Orioles (AA)                           Robin Yount 


                                                       Been Around The Block

OF    Tim Raines Jr. (26)                           Nationals (AA)                       Tim Raines

3B    Sean Burroughs (25)                        Devil Rays (AAA)                  Jeff Burroughs

C      David Parrish (27)                             Pirates (AA)                            Lance Parrish

OF   Scott Hairston (26)                            Diamondbacks (AAA/ML)    Jerry Hairston

P      Mike Bacsik (28)                                Diamondbacks (AAA)           Mike Bacsik

OF   Justin Singleton (27)                         Blue Jays (AAA)                     Ken Singleton

SS   Brad Hassey (26)                              Blue Jays (AA)                        Ron Hassey

OF   Jim Essian III (26)                              Tigers (ADV-A)                       Jim Essian


                                                           Too Early To Tell

1B    Andrew Hargrove (24)                      Cubs (A)                                 Mike Hargrove

C      Ryan Spilman (21)                             Indians (A-SS)                       Harry Spilman

3B    Wally Backman II (20)                       Rangers (R-AZL)                  Wally Backman

P       Frank Viola Jr. (22)                            White Sox (R)                        Frank Viola

OF    Michael Brantley (19)                        Brewers (A)                           Mickey Brantley

SS    Andrew Thompson (19)                    Twins (A)                                Bobby Thompson

OF    Juan Mesa (21)                                   Pirates (R-GCL)                    Jose Mesa

C      Andrew Butera (22)                            Mets (A)                                 Sal Butera

SS    Toby Gardenhire (23)                        Twins (A)                                Ron Gardenhire

IF      Anthony Manuel (23)                          Mets (A)                                 Jerry Manuel

2B    Joshua Johnson (20)                          Royals (A)                             Larry Johnson

P      Chris Kelly (24)                                    Devil Rays (A)                       Pat Kelly




                                                             Just Drafted (2006)

P       Kyle Drabek (18)                              Phillies (1st Rd.)                      Doug Drabek

SS    Preston Mattingly (18)                     Dodgers (Sandwich)              Don Mattingly

C      Chad Tracy (21)                                 Rangers (3rd. Rd.)                 Jim Tracy

SS    Marcus Lemon  (18)                          Rangers (4th Rd.)                   Chet Lemon  

P       Glenn Gibson (18)                             Nationals (4th Rd.)                 Paul Gibson

2B     John Shelby Jr. (20)                         White Sox (5th Rd.)                John Shelby

OF    Jeremy Barfield (18)                        Mets (9th Rd.)                          Jesse Barfield

P       Josh Roenicke (23)                          Reds (10th Rd.)                       Gary Roenicke 

2B     Kurt Bradley (18)                              Dodgers (33rd Rd.)                Phil Bradley

OF    Trent Henderson (18)                       Astros (37th Rd.)                     Dave Henderson

OF    Riley Etchebarren (18)                     Diamondbacks (39th Rd.)     Andy Etchebarren 

2B     David Cash III (18)                            Orioles (40th Rd.)                    Dave Cash

OF    Candy Maldonado (18)                     Devil Rays (46th Rd.)             Candy Maldonado

2B     Kyle Williams (17)                             White Sox (47th Rd.)              Kenny Williams

SS    Jonathan Fernandez (18)                 Blue Jays (48th Rd.)              Tony Fernandez




                                                                   Say Uncle


P      Edgar Alfonzo (21)                             Mets (A-ADV)                        Edgardo Alfonzo

1B    Freddie Thon (22)                               Rangers (A)                           Dickie Thon

3B    Jared Sandberg (28)                         Astros (AA)                             Ryan Sandberg 

OF    Yusuf Carter (21)                               Cubs (A)                                 Joe Carter

 C     Matt Pagnozzi (23)                             Cardinals (A-ADV)                Tom Pagnozzi 

 C     Kevin Gossage (19)                           Rangers (R)                           Rich "Goose" Gossage

2B    Jesse Schoendienst (24)                 Cardinals (R)                         Red Schoendienst

                                                                                                                              (Great Uncle)

                                                               Two’s A Charm

P      Brian Bannister (25)                          Mets (AAA)                             Floyd Bannister

P      Brett Bannister (23)                           Mariners (R-AZL)

2B    Derek Wathan (29)                             Cardinals (AAA)                     John Wathan

C      Dusty Wathan (32)                              Phillies (AAA)

1B     A.J. Van Slyke (22)                            Cardinals (A)                         Andy Van Slyke

OF    Scott Van Slyke (19)                          Dodgers (R-GCL)

OF    Chris Duncan (25)                              Cardinals (AAA/ML)              Dave Duncan

1B     Shelley Duncan (26)                          Yankees (AA) 

P       Jared Lansford (19)                           Athletics (A)                          Carney Lansford

SS    Josh Lansford (22)                             Cubs (A-SS)



                                           Dad’s Got Connections

                                                   (Sons of Former and Present GM)

2B    Jonathan Schuerholz (26)                Braves (AAA)                        John Schuerholz

2B    Josh Bonifay (27)                               Astros (AA)                            Cam Bonifay



                                            South Of The Border

P      Mario Mendoza Jr. (27)                      Mexican                                 Mario Mendoza


                                                                   On The Air 

                                       (Grandson of Hall of Fame Baseball Announcer)

IF     John Wolff (22)                                   White Sox (R)                            Bob Wolff

                                                                       ‘No Mas’ 

                                                    (Nephew of Hall of Fame Boxer) 


SS    German Duran (21)                          Rangers (A-ADV)                     Roberto Duran




                                              Happy As A Clown

                                            (Grandson of Bob Bell aka Bozo The Clown)

P      Trevor Bell (19)                                  Angels (R-AZL)                       Bozo The Clown

Minor Leagues’ Abbreviation Key

AAA       Triple A-ball

AA          Double A-ball

A-ADV   Single A-ball (advanced)

A             Single A-ball

A-SS      Single A-ball (short season)

R             Rookie League

GCL       Gulf Coast League

AZL        Arizona League

ML          Spent time in the Major Leagues this season

*Mexican League is not affiliated with any specific Major League team

**A Sandwich Pick in the draft is a compensatory pick between the 1st & 2nd rounds.









                                                                                   Carl the Cabbie


Gaedel X 2

Gaedel_1In 1951 Bill Veeck, the St. Louis Browns’  owner, employed 3’7" small-man Eddie "Carl" Gaedel for one game. It
was maybe the most famous of his many promotions to increase sagging attendence for the dreadful St. Louis Browns. Gaedel had one plate appearance, which resulted predictably with him drawing a Walk.

Today we have the anti-Gaedel and he is anything but a sideshow. If you take Gaedel and multiply him by two minus three inches, you get 7’1" pitcher Ryan Doherty of the Defending Midwest League Champions- The South Bend Silver Hawks (A-Ball). The 22-year old right-hander spent three years at Notre Dame University where he chose to pursue his baseball dream after eschewing basketball scholarships from Duke, Stanford andDoherty_2

Princeton. In an interview with ESPN Magazine Doherty explained his decision to play baseball over basketball, "I started to fall in love with baseball right around the time Randy Johnson was making a name for himself with the Mariners… I had a hero for life. I think I might have had a decent future in basketball, but my height in baseball makes me a real oddity."  Oddity is an understatement,
downright disorienting is more like it. Add in the ten-inch height of the pitchers mound, and hitters are approximately dealing with an eight-footer slinging 90-mph heat and a curve ball that seemingly drops out of the sky.

Doherty began his professional baseball career a year ago and is one of the top relievers in the Silver Hawks’ vaunted bullpen, where he is presently 3-0 with a 3.32 ERA. With the Diamondbacks’ top prospect Justin Upton as a teammate, the Silver Hawks should do much better attendence-wise than the St. Louis Browns could have ever hoped to do. While Pitcher Jon Rauch (6’11") of the Washington Nationals is the tallest man ever to play in the major leagues, it is believed that Doherty is the tallest man ever to play professional baseball.

Moving Up

Quick Minor League Update:Pelfrey

The Mets’ 2005 first-round stud, Mike Pelfrey, has been promoted to Double-A Binghamton or as GM Omar Minaya said, "He moved himself up…With the way he’s pitched velocity-wise, command-wise and strikeout-to-walk ratio, he basically moved himself up." Pelfrey was 2-1 with a 1.64 ERA for Single-A St. Lucie this April.