Monday, July 16, 2018

Francisco Baez, Sterling Night - 2

Originally published May 11, 2014
Francisco Baez' work was "sterling" this night in August 1990, The Eugene Register-Guard wrote.

Baez went five innings, giving up just two hits and one unearned run. He also got a no-decision, according to The Register-Guard.

Wins were hard to come by for Baez in 1990. Between short-season Eugene and single-A Appleton, Baez got just one, to 10 losses.

Baez was in his second season as a pro that year. He went on to play in two more. He never made AA.

Baez' career began in 1989, after signing with the Royals as an undrafted free agent out of his native Dominican Republic.

Baez started with the Royals in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He went 4-4, with a 2.67 ERA in 18 outings, eight starts.

He moved to single-A Appleton for 1990, but started just 1-7, with a 5.44 ERA in 10 starts. He then moved to short-season Eugene. There, he went 0-3, with a 3.40 ERA.

In a late-June outing for Eugene, Baez went three innings, giving up six runs, three of those earned. He then lost some time mid-season, after injuring his right hand.

Baez returned to Appleton for 1991, coming back as a reliever. In 44 games there, he had a 3.31 ERA. He also picked up five wins. It was Appleton again for 1992. In 38 outings, his ERA came in at 2.90.

He made high-A Wilmington in 1993. In 28 relief outings that year, he had a 5.05 ERA. It was his final year as a pro.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,962
Made the Majors:1,095-37.0%
Never Made Majors:1,867-63.0%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 455
10+ Seasons in the Minors:274

Carlos Fermin, Game Winner - 6

Originally published Sept. 9, 2016
The Lakeland Ledger gave Carlos Fermin the headline after this July 1993 game because Fermin gave his team the win.

In the ninth inning of a tie game, Fermin knocked a hit that knocked home the winning run, The Ledger wrote.

Fermin knocked in that game-winning run in his fourth season as a pro. He went on to play in two more seasons. He made AA, but didn't make it higher.

Fermin's career began that year, signed by the Tigers as a 16-year-old free agent out of his native Dominican Republic. Fermin's brother is major leaguer Felix Fermin.

Fermin started that year with rookie Bristol. He got into 67 games, playing shortstop. He hit .222, with 15 RBI.

He moved to single-A Fayetteville and high-A Lakeland for 1991, playing most of the year at Fayetteville. He went 3 for 7 in one April game for Fayetteville, leading to an extra-inning game-winner on a single and an error.

Fermin played a shorter 1992 season between short-season Niagara Falls and AA London. In 43 games, Fermin hit just .162.

He returned to Lakeland for all of 1993, getting into 86 games and improving his average to .252. He knocked a two-run single in a May win.

Fermin then played 39 games at Lakeland in 1994, then 59 games at AA Jacksonville in 1995, ending his career.

Fermin has since returned to the Dominican Republic and turned coach for the Indians. Fermin has served as pitching coach for the Indians Dominican Summer League team for at least 11 seasons, continuing in 2016.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

1990 Columbia Mets

Features on each member of the 1990 Columbia Mets, single-A affiliate of the New York Mets.

Columbia Mets (29)
1 - Jay Brazeau, Minors Move, 5/5/18
2 - Bob Burton, Training Career, 6/15/18
3 - Stanton Cameron, Power Display, 5/4/18
4 - Kevin Carroll, Baseball Man, 6/28/18
5 - Alberto Castillo, Worked Hard, 7/6/18
6 - Brian Davis, Picked Up, 6/24/18
7 - Nick Davis, Relaxed Enough, 5/9/18
8 - Alberto Diaz, Table Set, 5/14/18
9 - Chris Dorn, Great Job, 6/23/18
10 - Art Emm, Pretty Well, 6/22/18
11 - Jack Fisher, Home Runs, 4/25/18
12 - Brook Fordyce, Newfound Confidence, 6/30/18
13 - James Harris, Base Hits, 7/10/18
14 - Reid Hartmann, Higher Levels, 6/20/18
15 - Tim Howard, Long Time, 6/17/18
16 - Pat Howell, Like That, 4/17/18
17 - Gregg Langbehn, Different Ballgame, 6/2/18
18 - Tim Marting, Highest Point, 4/18/18
19 - Joe McCann, Broke Out, 7/7/18
20 - Tim McClinton, Decision Made, 6/9/18
21 - Tito Navarro, Good Time, 4/30/17
22 - Jarrod Parker, His Obligation, 5/7/18
23 - Ryan Richmond, First Sport, 4/19/18
24 - Deron Sample, Hot Start, 5/2/18
25 - Bill Stein, His Role, 6/16/18
26 - Dave Telgheder, Strange Feeling, 4/21/18
27 - Mark Thomas, Mom's Assessment, 5/1/18
28 - Julian Vasquez, Good Pitches, 7/12/18
29 - Joe Vitko, Really Pleased, 7/14/18

Jose Lima, His Time - 14

Originally published Sept. 25, 2016
The Associated Press noted Jose Lima's "on-mound exuberance" in reporting his return to the Astros with a new contract in 2000. Astros general manager Gerry Hunsicker noted that exuberance played a part in Lima's success.

"I think what makes Jose unique is not his skill as a pitcher but his willingness to express himself when he's not only out on the mound, but whenever he's in public," Hunsicker told The AP. "He's not afraid of what people think. I really believe that has played a part in his success."

Lima earned that new contract - three years, $18.75 million - after seasons where he posted 16 and 21 wins. He also made the All-Star game in 1999, marking the height of "Lima Time."

Lima played seven more major league seasons, never matching his success those two years. But he did have one big playoff moment with the Dodgers in 2004. He continued playing in the bigs until 2006 and then in independent ball through 2009. In May 2010, Lima passed away at the age of 37.

Lima's career began in 1989, signed by the Tigers as a free agent out of his native Dominican Republic, where he attended Laschargas High School.

Lima started for the Tigers at rookie Bristol. The 17-year-old went 3-8, with a 5.02 ERA over 14 outings, 12 starts. Lima made AA London in 1993, then AAA Toledo and Detroit in 1994.

Lima got into three games for the Tigers in 1994, giving up 10 earned in 6.2 innings of work. That May, longtime Tiger Lou Whitaker praised the youngster upon his first call up.

"I can't remember the last time a kid came along with that kind of confidence," Whitaker told The AP. "He handles himself like he has been around for years. And I think he probably will be around here for a lot of years."

Lima returned for 15 more starts in 1995 and 39 outings mostly in relief in 1996. His best ERA came in at 5.70 in 1996. He arrived with the Astros for 1997 in a trade. After pitching that season in relief, Lima returned to starting in 1998 and he took off.

Lima went 16-8 for the Astros that year, with a 3.70 ERA. In 1999, his All-Star season, Lima did even better. He went 21-10, with a 3.58 ERA.

Lima took the starting rotation job in 1998 after injuries. After early success, he worked with his pitching coach to add a sinker and slider, according to The Houston Chronicle.

"Everybody says we made the decision (to put him in the starting rotation)," Astros manager Larry Dierker told The Chronicle. "That decision made itself."

After returning to the Astros for 2000, Lima's record regressed to 7-16, with a 6.65 ERA. He returned to Detroit in 2001. He continued playing in the majors into 2006, getting time with the Royals, Dodgers and Mets.

His last big season came in 2004 with the Dodgers, going 13-5, with a 4.07 ERA. He helped he Dodgers to the playoffs, and avoid elimination against the Cardinals for a night with a complete-game, five hitter.

The AP described his reaction to the win as including pumping his fist, shouting and pointing at teammates. Before the game, he drew the initials of family members on the mound.

"He's always been like that," the Cardinals Reggie Sanders told The AP afterward. "One thing, on our part, you can't get too hyped up or too caught up on that. Lima has always been Lima. He tries to get you caught up in his world. He did tonight."

After spending time in Mexico, Korea, his native Dominican Republic and independent ball, Lima threw his final professional pitch in 2009. Then, in May 2010, he passed away at the age of 37.

"He had a great flair and such enthusiasm for life," Tal Smith, Astros president of baseball operations told The AP after Lima's passing. "'Lima Time' was a special time. 'Lima Time' was whenever he was pitching, or at any event or club function or civic function that he was at. He'd get up and sing and dance, and he was very, very good. He was a real entertainer."

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Joe Vitko, Really Pleased - 21

Joe Vitko had to wait until the end of the AA Eastern League playoffs in 1992, but he got his call.

The Mets summoned Vitko to Queens in his fourth season and Vitko looked forward to the opportunity, he told his hometown Altoona Mirror.

"I am really a bit surprised," Vitko told The Mirror. "I'm really pleased and I'm just hoping to learn a lot"

Vitko learned what he could over three appearances for the Mets to end the season, but he didn't get to apply that knowledge further. He played two more seasons, but didn't return to the bigs.

Vitko's career began in 1989, taken by the Mets in the 24th round of the draft out of St. Francis University in Pennsylvania. He played his high school ball at Central Cambria High in Ebensburg, Pa.

Vitko started with the Mets at short-season Pittsfield and in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He went 6-2, with a 2.29 ERA.

He then played 1990 at single-A Columbia. He went 8-1 there over 16 outings, 12 starts, with a 2.49 ERA. A shoulder injury that led to related concerns, however, cut short his season.

"It's pretty boring, man," Vitko told The New York Daily News of his post-injury routine. "I just want to be out there."

Vitko returned to the field in 1991 at high-A St. Lucie. He went 11-8, with a 2.24 ERA. He then made AA Binghamton for 1992, where he went 12-8, with a 3.49 ERA.

With the Mets in September, Vitko got into his three games, starting one. He gave up seven earned in 4.2 innings of work.

Vitko returned in 1993, but only saw three outings in the low minors. He played his final games in 1994 at Binghamton to end his career.

In 2009, Vitko participated in a baseball clinic in Johnstown, Pa. In 2016, he made a local sports hall of fame.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,962
Made the Majors:1,095-37.0%-X
Never Made Majors:1,867-63.0%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 455
10+ Seasons in the Minors:274

Jimmy Henry, His Resume - 10

Originally published Dec. 23, 2016
The Detroit Free Press outlined Jimmy Henry's resume upon his promotion to AA in June 1992.

Henry, still just 21, went 6-3 at high-A Lakeland that year, with a 1.09 ERA. He played the previous year largely at Niagara Falls and had a 2.22 ERA.

The starting pitcher went on to see 15 starts at AA London that year, but he couldn't keep his ERA down. He ended up 5-5, with a 4.82 ERA.

But, while he would return to London the next year, turning reliever, Henry  never made it higher. He never made the majors.

Henry's career began in 1990, having been taken by the Tigers in the 45th round of the previous year's draft out of Sacramento City College. He played his high school ball at Placer High in California.

Henry played his first pro season at rookie Bristol in 1990. In 10 starts, he went 1-3, witj a 4.10 ERA.

Henry then moved to short-season Niagara Falls and Lakeland for 1991. His Lakeland time comprised six relief outings and four earned runs over 11 innings of work.

Henry played his time at Lakeland and London in 1992, ending with an 11-8 overall record between them and a 3.14 overall ERA.

For 1993, Henry again split time between London and Lakeland. He played much of his time at London, getting into 33 games in relief. He turned in a 5.28 ERA, marking the end of his career.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Dave Keating, Deciding Factor - 13

Dave Keating thought about continuing his two-sport playing, but they he decided on one sport, baseball, The Los Angeles Times wrote.

"I went back and forth," Keating told The Times in 1989. "Then, (the Tigers) came back and gave me a little more money and guaranteed (they would send me to) instructional league. They showed they were going to take the time to work with me. That was the deciding factor."

Keating played both baseball and football at UCLA and then went pro in baseball. He played six seasons in pro baseball, both as an outfielder and as a pitcher. He never made AAA.

Keating's career began that year in 1989, taken by the Tigers in the fifth round of the draft out of UCLA. Keating is also credited as David Keating.

At UCLA, the Salinas-native started his college career on a football scholarship. After being drafted in baseball out of high school and choosing college, didn't hit the baseball field again until 1988.

He played wide receiver on the football field and caught a Troy Aikman touchdown pass in September 1988. He blocked a punt in the 1987 Aloha Bowl.

On the baseball field, he picked up five triples in 1989, after resuming his baseball career a year earlier, in 1988. Keating's baseball coach at UCLA head coach Mike Gillespie recalled being pleasantly surprised when he first saw Keating.

"When I saw Keating play the first time, I said, 'Where did that guy come from--who is that guy'?" Gillespie told The Times.

Keating started with the Tigers at short-season Niagara Falls. He hit .290 in 55 games. He then played 1990 between single-A Fayetteville and rookie Bristol. He only saw 32 games.

After playing 70 games back at Fayetteville in 1991 and hitting .264, Keating tried his hand at pitching. He also moved to the White Sox system.

Keating got into 19 games in relief at high-A Sarasota in 1992 and had a 5.00 ERA. He played 1993 between Sarasota and single-A South Bend and 1994 between high-A Prince William and AA Birmingham. He saw 22 relief outings at Birmingham, with a 4.30 ERA to end his career.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,961
Made the Majors:1,094-37.0%
Never Made Majors:1,867-63.0%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 455
10+ Seasons in the Minors:274


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