Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Robert Gaddy, Breaking Ball - 8

Originally published Dec. 28, 2012
Robert Gaddy tried to explain to The Reading Eagle in 1993 his early success on the year.

The early success included a 19-inning streak of scoreless innings in early May, and a 0.42 ERA.

"In years past, I really haven't had a breaking ball," Gaddy told The Eagle. "This year, I've got a slider that I can throw any count. I'll throw it 3-2 on anybody. That's really given me a lot of confidence."

Gaddy had that early success in his fifth professional season. Later that year, that success would lead to Gaddy's first time at AAA. Gaddy's career, though, extended just two more seasons. He would never have enough success to make the majors.

Gaddy's career began in 1989, taken by the Phillies in the 41st round of the draft, out of the University of Tennessee.

Gaddy started that year at short-season Batavia, serving mostly as a starter. He made single-A Spartanburg for 1990, going 9-7 in 30 outings, 19 starts. He also picked up a two-inning save in an April outing.

For 1991, Gaddy moved to high-A Clearwater, and got his first look at Reading. Between the two, he got 44 outings and a 2.95 ERA. That April, with Clearwater, Gaddy even had a hand in a no-hitter against Baseball City.

Gaddy played 1992 back between Clearwater and Reading, then 1993 between Reading and AAA Scranton. For 1993, Gaddy also tried his hand again at starting, getting 11 starts on the year. That August, with Reading, he went 8.2 innings in one start, giving up just two hits in a 1-0 win.

For 1994, Gaddy moved full time to Scranton, he also moved full time back to starting. In 25 starts for Scranton that year, Gaddy went 9-12, with a 3.59 ERA.

For 1995, though, Gaddy started off slowly. In two starts, he went just four innings, according to The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. His manager Mike Quade wasn't sure what was going on.

"I don't think anybody can sit back and figure out what went wrong, what the problem is, except that it's early," Quade told The Times Leader. "We just have to get back to where he was last year, and at least we have something to get back to."

Gaddy, though, couldn't recover. He ended up getting 17 starts, finishing with an ERA of 6.28, ending his professional career, without making the majors. A native of Pensacola, Fl., Gaddy is recorded as coming out of retirement for five starts for his hometown independent team in 2002, finally ending his career for good.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Greg Gunderson, Gameday Decision - 11

Originally published Dec. 20, 2012
Greg Gunderson's star pitcher Mark Mulder did just that, starred on the mound.

But, when the Michigan State hurler wasn't pitching, the team tried to work him into the game in other ways, in the field, Gunderson told The Minnesota Daily in 1998.

"It's kind of a gameday decision," Gunderson, the school's assistant coach, told The Daily. "We see who is pitching."

Mulder would go on to a major league career that spanned nine seasons, and saw Gunderson follow to assist after injuries popped up

Gunderson's time at Michigan State came after his own professional career, one far less successful than Mulder's. Gunderson's professional career lasted just two seasons, never getting above high-A.

Gunderson's career began in 1988, signed by the Phillies as a free agent out of the University of Cincinnati. He then is recorded first getting on the field during the season in 1989, at short-season Batavia.

At Batavia, Gunderson got into 13 relief appearances, posting a 3.28 ERA. For 1990, he moved to single-A Spartanburg, getting into 38 games there, with a 2.06 ERA. That July, Gunderson even earned organization Pitcher of the Month honors, with a 0.48 ERA on the month.

From that Spartanburg ERA, Gunderson moved up to high-A Clearwater. In 10 outings there, though, Gunderson's ERA jumped to 7.80. It was also Gunderson's final year as a pro.

Gunderson then returned to Cincinnati as a volunteer coach. He also coached in the Arizona Summer Collegiate League, then served as an assistant coach at Eastern Kentucky, according to his Michigan State profile.

By 1998, Gunderson was assistant coach at Michigan State, watching over Mulder. Years later, in 2009, as Mulder tried to make it back for another season after injury, it was Gunderson who worked with him to try and get Mulder back.

In 2001, as Mulder had his breakout season with the Athletics, it was Gunderson who was credited with pointing Mulder in the right direction in college, getting Mulder into the summer Cape Cod League in 1997, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

"That's kind of when," Gunderson told The Chronicle, "Mark figured out he was as good as anybody else."

Matt Current, More Proud - 4

Originally published Dec. 25, 2012
Matt Current's Butler County Bombers took the 2005 tournament opener, the Bombers putting up 10 to their opponent's 8. The team, though, lost the next two, bowing out of the contest.

Current, though, still thought highly of his team. After all, this was a team of 10-year-olds.

"We left everything we had on the field today," Current said, according to the Bombers' Web site, "and I couldn't be more proud."

Current was speaking as an experienced youth coach from his native Middletown, Ohio. Current was also speaking as someone whose baseball career stretched back further, playing professionally for four seasons. Current, though, never got to speak as a major leaguer, making it to high-A, but no higher.

Current's professional career began in 1988, taken by the Phillies in the 22nd round of the draft, out of Middletown High School in Ohio.

Current's Phillies career began at rookie Martinsville, getting into 19 games that first campaign. Current, though, hit just .109. For 1989, he returned to Martinsville, getting into 33 games and improving his average to .288.

Current moved up for 1990, hitting single-A Spartanburg. He ended up hitting .211, knocking in 14 in 68 games that year. That July, though, Current knocked in a game-winner with a 14th-inning single.

Current's final year came in 1991, at high-A Clearwater. Current only got into 22 games there, hitting .271.

Current has since returned to his hometown, serving as a youth coach with the Bombers, listed in 2012 as team president and coach for the 9U and 17U teams.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Arnie Sambel, His Heart - 26

Less than a month into his pro career in July 1990, Arnie Sambel went to team brass to talk, according to The Eugene Register-Guard.

After appearing in eight games and hitting .143, Sambel no longer wanted to play, The Register-Guard wrote.

"His heart just was not in it," Eugene manager Paul Kirsch told The Register-Guard.

Sambel played in those eight games, packed it up and retired.

Sambel's brief career began a month earlier, taken by the Royals in the 28th round of the draft out of the University of San Francisco. Sambel was also credited by his formal name, Arnold Sambel.

Sambel won all-conference honors with San Francisco in 1990, along with team MVP honors that same year. He continued to rank in the top 5 in several offensive categories at the school and won induction into the university Hall of Fame in 2005.

"Hit .340 with 17 homers, 17 doubles and drove in 55 runs during his senior campaign in 1990, at the time the most prolific offensive single-season in program history," the West Coast Conference wrote in 2007 as he made the conference's 40th anniversary team.

Sambel then turned pro with the Royals. He went 0 for 2 in his debut game with a run scored against Southern Oregon. His best game came June 22 when he went 2 for 2 against Bend. His last came July 8 against Boise, where he went 0 for 1 in a pinch-hit appearance to end his brief career.

Sambel's son, also Arnie Sambel, has followed his father into college sports, though in track and field at Cal Poly.

Sambel's brief career and where he played mean the entire record of his pro career is easily available through box scores from The Eugene Register-Guard and Google News. Sambel's career:

June 19: 0 for 2 with a run scored against Southern Oregon
June 20: 1 for 6 in 11 innings against Bend
June 22: 2 for 2 against Bend
June 30: 0 for 4 against Spokane
July 1: 1 for 4 against Spokane
July 6: 0 for 4 against Boise
July 7: 1 for 3 with an RBI against Boise
July 8: 0 for 1 pinch hitting against Yakima

Dan Shannon, Pitching Career - 19

Originally published Dec. 13, 2012
Dan Shannon was a natural fielder, not a natural pitcher.

So, when the Spartanburg Phillies' bullpen got overworked, the team turned to the outfielder Shannon. In July 1990, they turned to him two nights in a row.

"It didn't bother us at all that they pitched Shannon against us," Savannah Cardinals shortstop Jim Ferguson told The Spartanburg Herald-Journal after that 9-1 Savannah win. "That's a great part of the game, that he can come in and do that. He used to be in the Cardinal organization, so it was fun to see him out there."

Shannon's pitching career ended up being a brief one, adding two other outings that 1990 campaign. His fielding career was almost as brief, playing in just three seasons, failing to get above single-A.

Shannon's professional career began in 1988, signed by the Cardinals as an undrafted free agent.

He started with the Cardinals at rookie Johnson City. There, Shannon hit .289 in 47 games. He also hit three home runs and knocked in 22.

For 1989, Shannon moved to short-season Hamilton, his average dropping to .220 over 50 contests. He knocked in just 15, but stole 12 bases. It was his final year with the Cardinal system.

Shannon signed with the Phillies for 1990, playing the year at single-A Spartanburg. There, over 58 games, Shannon hit just .156. His pitching wasn't good either. Over four outings, 3.1 innings of work, Shannon gave up eight earned runs.

Shannon's season with Spartanburg was his last as a pro, released outright by the Phillies at season's end.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Brady Stewart, Any Way - 29

The Eugene Emeralds came away with the win this night in July 1990 despite picking up only one hit that exited the infield, according to The Eugene Register-Guard.

Emerald shortstop Brady Stewart collected that only hit to exit the infield, an RBI double in the fifth, The Register-Guard wrote.

"You take them any way you can get them," Stewart told The Register-Guard of the unusual win.

Stewart took his own career to five total seasons as a pro. He made AA, but not the bigs.

Stewart's career began that year in 1990, taken by the Royals in the 21st round of the draft out of Ohio State.

Stewart spent three seasons at Ohio State. He also played in a California tournament where he had 10 hits over three games, The Register Guard wrote. At Ohio State as a freshman, he knocked a game-winning hit against future major leauger Jim Abbott.

Stewart played his first season at short-season Eugene. He hit .165 over 34 games. He moved to high-A Baseball City and single-A Appleton. In 93 games, he hit .246.

He returned to Baseball City and Appleton in 1992. He hit .201 over 76 games that year. He played 1993 at high-A Wilmington and then 1994 at AA Memphis. He got into 56 games at Memphis and hit .174 to end his career.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,973
Made the Majors:1,096-36.9%
Never Made Majors:1,877-63.1%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 455
10+ Seasons in the Minors:274

Nick Santa Cruz, Sophomore Season - 18

Originally published Jan. 2, 2013
Nick Santa Cruz went out for his sophomore season at Rancho Santiago, putting up a .335 batting average and knocking in 10, according to The Los Angeles Times.

It was enough for Santa Cruz to get the notice of the Phillies, and for Santa Cruz to forgo his final two years on the college field to turn pro.

Had he stayed in college, Santa Cruz would have had those final two seasons. Turning pro, Santa Cruz got just three, never getting close to the majors.

Santa Cruz turned pro in 1988, taken by the Phillies in the 14th round of the draft out of Rancho Santiago.

At Rancho Santiago, Santa Cruz knocked in one of those runs in a March game. He also had two hits in one March 1987 game, in his freshman year.

With the Phillies, Santa Cruz started at short-season Batavia, hitting .215 in 59 games. He also knocked in 18.

For 1989, Santa Cruz moved up to single-A Spartanburg, but he got into just 39 games on the year. In those games, he hit .233. He singled in a run in a May game and walked and scored in a June game.

Santa Cruz' career lasted into just one more season, a season that, for Santa Cruz, turned out to be brief. Returning to Spartanburg for 1990, the infielder got into just 12 games, getting seven hits in 33 at bats. They were the final 12 games of Santa Cruz' career.

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