Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Jim Tracy, Career High - 18

Originally published July 16, 2014
It was a career high in strikeouts for Jim Tracy on this July night in 1990, according to The Reading Eagle.

The Harrisburg Senator struck out 11 Albany Yankees in a 6-4 Harrisburg win.

It was a career high in his sixth professional season, helped by the fact that this was Tracy's first season as a full-time starter. Though he pitched well and he later made AAA, Tracy never made the majors.

Tracy's career began in 1985, taken by the Blue Jays in the fourth round of the draft out of North Shore Community College in Massachusetts.

He started in the rookie Gulf Coast League, going 3-2 in 17 games, three starts. He then moved to single-A Florence for 1986. In 36 relief outings, he had an ERA of 5.12 ERA. Tracy went two innings for a June save.

Tracy moved to single-A Myrtle Beach for 1987. He pitched 2.2 innings in an August game, giving up one hit. For 1988, it was single-A Dunedin.

The Pirates came calling for 1989, taking Tracy in the minor league draft. He played that year and the next at AA Harrisburg. Turned starter in 1990, Tracy went 14-8, with a 3.00 ERA. By the end of August, Tracy had five complete games, his fifth was a one-hitter.

For 1991, Tracy split time between AA Carolina and AAA Buffalo. He had a 2.45 ERA in 16 outings at Carolina, a 5.17 ERA in 11 outings at Buffalo. In August for Carolina, Tracy pitched a four-hit, seven-inning complete game win.

Tracy returned to Buffalo for 1992, going 9-4 in 26 outings, 16 starts. He had a 4.27 ERA. He started 1993 back at Buffalo, moving to the Reds and AAA Indianapolis mid-season. Between them, he went 4-9, with a 5.24 ERA. It was his final year as a pro.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Jeff Osborne, Do Both - 13

Originally published April 20, 2012
The Pirates had a plan for Jeff Osborne in 1989, Osborne told The Pittsburgh Press. That plan included a promotion to high-A Selem that July and a focusing of his skill set.

"They'd like to work me into a power hitter," Osborne told The Press after his promotion. "They tell me we'd rather have you hit for power than average, but I'd really like to do both."

Osborne hit for enough power in 1989 - 11 home runs over three levels and 108 games. He also hit for enough average that year, .310.

But Osborne just hit one other home run - in his entire career. Osborne played just three seasons in the minors, getting to AA Harrisburg and no higher.

Osborne's brief career began in 1988 with the Pennsylvania-native taken by the Pirates in the 28th round of the draft out of Kent State.

Osborne played 38 games for the Pirates that first year between the rookie Gulf Coast League and rookie Princeton. He hit .333 between them, with no home runs.

Starting 1989 at single-A Augusta, Osborne hit .300 there in 74 games. He also hit nine home runs. The infielder also moved to the outfield by June to make sure he stayed in the lineup, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote.

Moving to Salem, Osborne got into 15 games, hitting .397. He then got into 19 games at AA Harrisburg, starting in late July, hitting .271.

Osborne stayed at Harrisburg for 1990, getting into 84 games. His batting average, though, sunk to .241. He also hit no home runs. It was his last season with the Pirates.

He played the next spring with the White Sox, but was released by the start of April, ending his career.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Julio Peguero, Waiver Rules - 14

Originally published June 21, 2010
In spring training 1988, Pirates manager Jim Leyland liked what he saw in Pirates outfield prospect Julio Peguero.

Peguero'd batted .285 and stole 23 bases the previous year at single-A Salem, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted.

"That kid's going to be a player," Leyland told The Post Gazette after that March 28 game. "He has a quick, short stroke, and he can run."

Peguero's career didn't quite turn out as Leyland had hoped. His future in the organization didn't even turn out like the Pirates front-office had hoped, with a literal clerical error blamed for an early departure.

But Peguero did make the majors, appearing in a grand total of 14 games, not for the Pirates, but for the cross-state Phillies.

Peguero's professional career began in 1986, signed by the Pirates out of his native Dominican Republic. He made AA Harrisburg in 1989, returning to AA for 1990.

He hit .277 for Harrisburg in 1990 and the Pirates were still high on him, and another Pittsburgh prospect Wes Chamberlain. In June, Peguero was described by The Allegheny Times as leading the Harrisburg attack with a .277 average, 22 runs, 51 hits and five triples through

So the Pirates wanted to keep him. But the Phillies got him, and Chamberlain. It was a mistake, an irrevocable mistake. Pirates GM Larry Doughty asked for waivers on both to make room for September call-ups, according to The Pittsburgh Press. He didn't realize he couldn't take the waivers back. Years later, the incident is still brought up as a lesson in waiver rules.

With the Phillies, Peguero made AAA Scranton in 1991. Then, in 1992, Philadelphia. Lenny Dykstra had a broken wrist and the Phillies called on Peguero.

It was a quick call, too. The Phillies needed him that night and he only had a few hours to get there from Scranton. "I go ... five minutes ... meet somebody ... Hilton," a smiling Peguero told the Allentown Morning Call in broken English.

His time with the Phillies was brief, his playing time briefer. He played in 14 games, starting just two. Both his starts were against his old team. He went 2 for 7 with a walk. He scattered just six plate appearances over his other 12 games. And that was it.

Whether his two starts against Pittsburgh were coincidence, given the Pirates' waiver mistake, or not. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wasn't biting. The Phillies outfield in that series also included Chamberlain. A Post-Gazette columnist called the outfield of Peguero, Chamberlain and Jim Lindeman "an unearned run waiting to happen."

By July, the Phillies sent Peguero to the Dodgers. Also by July, Peguero's major league career was over.

Peguero held on in the minors through 1996, ending in the Seattle organization. He is also credited with playing in the Mexican League in 2000.

In 2007, he and his wife were in New Mexico, opening a batting cage business, with Peguero offering advice and instruction, according to The Mountain Mail.

His most important piece of advice, according to The Mail, is for batters to be ready for anything.

"Every pitch is different," he told the paper, his language skills improving with the passage of 15 years, "and you have to go with the pitch and keep watching the ball. Don't try so hard to make the ball go to left field or center field, because you don't know where the pitch will go. Look at the ball, then hit it hard."

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Mike Sandoval, His Goals - 25

Longtime trainer Mike Sandoval spoke to his home state's Albuquerque Journal in 2007 and explained the goals of a trainer.

Those goals didn't necessarily involve victories, Sandoval told The Journal.

"Everybody wants to win and get to the playoffs, but I honestly don't think wins and losses matter to the training staff," Sandoval told The Journal. "The goal with any of us is keeping our players healthy and making sure we do everything we can to keep these guys on the field."

By 2007, Sandoval had worked toward those goals over two decades in the game. He's since continued for another decade. In 2018, he continues in baseball in a new major league role, assistant trainer for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Sandoval started toward training at New Mexico State University, where he served as a student trainer for the school's basketball, football and track teams.

His first professional training job came with the Pirates at short-season Watertown. He then moved to rookie Princeton and then single-A Salem in 1989. He began keeping AA players on the field in 1990 at AA Harrisburg and stayed with the AA Pirates club as it moved to Carolina in 1991.

Sandoval continued with the Pirates through 2011. In 2008, he became assistant trainer for rehab in Pittsburgh. He moved to the Rays and AAA Durham for 2012. He served as trainer for the International League All-Star team in 2014.

He continued at Durham through 2017, then made the jump to Tampa for 2018.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,896
Made the Majors:1,078-37.2%-X
Never Made Majors:1,818-62.8%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 447
10+ Seasons in the Minors:269

Julio Perez, Manufactured Run - 15

Originally published July 13, 2014
Julio Perez helped manufacture a run for his single-A Macon team in this June 1987 contest and it got his team an early lead.

Perez started by working a walk, according to The Sumter Item. He then used his speed to steal second and then take third on a bad throw. It then paid off with Perez scoring on an infield single.

That stolen base for Perez was one of 29 he swiped in 1987. He went on to steal a total of 129 in his six-season professional career. He never had the chance to steal one in the majors.

Perez' career began in 1985, signed by the Pirates as an undrafted free agent out of his native Dominican Republic. Perez has also been referred to by his given first name, Pedro Perez.

Perez opened between the rookie Gulf Coast League and short-season Watertown. He hit .299 in 64 games between them.

For 1986, he moved to single-A Macon. In 121 games there, he hit .292 and stole 32 bases. A Perez ninth-inning double helped win an April game. He returned to Macon for 1987, hitting .308.

Perez played 1988 between single-A Salem and Miami. He hit .270, with 36 stolen bases. For 1989, he moved to AA Harrisburg. His average fell to .244. His stolen bases also fell to eight.

Perez returned to Harrisburg in 1990. In just 63 games, he hit .232. He picked up three hits in a May game, and two hits an three RBI in a July game. It was his final season as a pro.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Rich DePastino, Work Ethic - 8

Rich DePastino got the call in 2003 and he couldn't help but cry, he told The New York Times.

His brother Joe DePastino had made the majors after a long career in the minors. A former minor leaguer himself, Rich DePastino couldn't help but compare for The Times his brother's career to his own career.

"I didn't have half the work ethic Joe does," Rich DePastino told The Times.

While Joe DePastino's work ethic finally got him to the majors deep into his 13-season professional career, Rich DePastino's work ethic saw him play as a pro for five seasons. He never made the bigs.

Rich DePastino's career began in 1986, taken by the Blue Jays in the ninth round of the draft out of Riverview High School in Sarasota, Fla. DePastino was also credited as Richard DePastino.

At Riverview, DePastino won all-area and all-state honors and played in the 1985 Babe Ruth World Series.

He started with the Blue Jays at rookie Medicine Hat. He went 4-3, with a 5.15 ERA over 16 outings, 10 starts. He threw a seven-inning no-hitter in August against Salt Lake.

DePastino moved to single-A Myrtle Beach for 1987. He went 4-0 over 25 outings, one start, with a 4.92 ERA. He then hit high-A Dunedin for 1988. He threw another seven innings of no-hit ball to end that year, but got a no-decision.

He played 1989 back at Myrtle Beach and moved to starting. He went 7-8 over 29 starts, with a 4.03 ERA. DePastino then finished out his career in 1990, going 6-3, with a 5.02 ERA over 22 outings, 14 starts.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,895
Made the Majors:1,077-37.2%
Never Made Majors:1,818-62.8%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 447
10+ Seasons in the Minors:269

Scott Barczi, Defensive Catcher - 4

Originally published July 17, 2014
Asked in July 1990 who the best defensive catcher in the Eastern League was, Reading Phillies radio broadcaster Randy Stevens had trouble coming up with an answer, according to The Reading Eagle.

"Boy, there's so many great defensive catchers," Stevens told The Eagle.

Though he picked the hometown Reading catcher, the first catcher he named for The Eagle was the one from Harrisburg, Scott Barczi.

Barczi was in his fourth professional season that year, his first at AA. His defense, though, couldn't carry him. He hit just .197 on the year. It was his final season as a pro.

Barczi's career began in 1987, taken by the Pirates in the 10th round out of Northwestern University.

At Northwestern, Barczi knocked a run-scoring double in a March 1987 game. He left with 58 stolen bases on his collegiate career, then good for third all-time at the school. It's still good for fifth best. His 11 career triples are still good for a tie for third all-time.

With the Pirates, Barczi started at short-season Watertown. He hit .308, with 15 stolen bases.

He moved to single-A Augusta for 1988, but hit just .214 there while stealing 16. He went 1 for 4 in a June game, with a run scored.

For 1989, he played at single-A Salem. He got into a game that spring, getting a run-scoring triple. He knocked in a run on an April single then two runs on a single in May.

Barczi moved up to AA Harrisburg for 1990. In 86 games, though, he didn't hit .200. He also knocked in just 17 and stole a single base, ending his career.

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