Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Dee Dixon, New Thing - 8

Dee Dixon beat out the throw to first in this July 1987 game for AA Shreveport and he did it in a critical spot - with the score tied in the ninth, according to The Shreveport Times.

He did so by hitting the ball to short. He soon scored the winning run, The Times wrote.

"I'm working on a new thing," Dixon told The Times of the hit. "I'm trying to smack it at the shortstop when he's playing real deep. Anything in the gap (between short and third base) is a base hit."

Dixon legged out that hit in his second season as a pro. He went on to play in three more. He never made AAA.

Dixon's career began in 1986, taken by the Giants as their 17th pick in the draft out of his native Poughkeepsie, NY. Dixon was also credited by his given name, Andrew Dixon.

Dixon started with the Giants at short-season Everett. He got into 56 games and hit .220. He stole 37  bases.

He split 1987 between Shreveport and single-A Clinton. He stole 71 bases that year and hit .300.

Dixon then played 1988 completely at Shreveport and he remained in AA through the end of his career. He hit .290 and stole 72 bases in 1988, then hit .282 and stole 42 bases at Shreveport in 1989.

He moved to the Brewers system in 1990 and played at AA El Paso. He knocked in two runs on a single in a May game. He then tied a June game on a single. He hit .286 over 127 games and stole 53 bases to end his career.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,040
Made the Majors:1,118-36.8%
Never Made Majors:1,922-63.2%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 466
10+ Seasons in the Minors:276

Tim Nedin, That Pitch - 306

Originally published Oct. 8, 2014
Tim Nedin had four pitches in his bag of tricks at Florida State. He had a fastball, slider, change up and a knucklecurve, according to The Los Angeles Times.

The knucklecurve, though, was his focus in 1989, according to The Times.

"I live and die with that pitch," Nedin told The Times that June as Nedin's team played in the College World Series. "It's one of those pitches you either have it that day or you don't."

Nedin ended up having it enough to turn pro that month, selected by the Twins in the 21st round of the draft.

But Nedin only threw those pitches well enough to get four seasons as a pro. He never made the majors.

Nedin went to Florida State after first attending the College of the Canyons in California. There, Nedin had success, but he also had a poor outing in May 1988. He gave up nine runs in four innings, according to The Times.

"I felt pretty good, but I just couldn't hit the spots," Nedin told The Times after that game. "But they hit some good pitches."

At Florida State, Nedin went five innings, giving up two hits, in a March outing. He then picked up a complete game win in an April 1989 game.

That February, Nedin went seven innings of relief giving up just one earned.

With the Twins, Nedin started at rookie Elizabethton. In 14 outings, seven starts, he went 6-2, with a 1.58 ERA. He also saved two.

He moved to single-A Kenosha for 1990 and ended up going just 3-13 in 27 outings, 22 starts. He had a 3.39 ERA. That August, though, Nedin threw a gem. He threw a seven-inning no-hitter against Burlington.

Nedin played 1991 at high-A Visalia, but he only got 12 starts. He went 1-5, with a 3.98 ERA. In 1992, he got just a single, four-inning start at high-A Fort Myers. He gave up just two hits and no runs, ending his career.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Scott May, Chance Meeting - 20

Scott May went from an unheralded small college pitcher to being drafted into the Dodgers system by chance, he recounted The Oklahoman years later,

His main stats didn't say much, but a Dodgers scout happened upon him and almost didn't believe what he saw, May told The Oklahoman.

"He put the ray (speed) gun on me and I was throwing 88 (mph)," May told The Oklahoman in 1988. "He said he shook it a couple times because he didn't think it was right."

May went on from that chance meeting to a long career in the pros - and to two stints in the majors with the Rangers and the Cubs.

May's career began in 1983, taken by the Dodgers in the sixth round of the draft out the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point.

May started with the Dodgers at rookie Lethbridge. He saw 13 games, started six and ended with a 5.01 ERA.

He moved to single-A Bakersfield in 1984, where he went 8-10, with a 3.83 ERA. He made AA San Antonio in 1985, then AAA Albuquerque in 1986.

After another year back at San Antonio in 1987, the Dodgers traded him to the Rangers. Assigned to AAA Oklahoma City, the Rangers brought May up as a September call-up.

May got into three games for the Ranges in September 1988, starting one. He gave up seven earned in 7.1 innings of work.

He returned to the minors for 1989 and 1990, moving to the Brewers system in the process. He played 1990 between AA El Paso and AAA Denver.

May signed with the Cubs for 1991 and got his second look at the majors. He made two appearances, giving up four earned in two innings of work.

He played at AAA for one more season in 1992, then returned in 1995 for a brief minors stay to end his career.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,039
Made the Majors:1,118-36.8%-X
Never Made Majors:1,921-63.2%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 466
10+ Seasons in the Minors:276

Barry Winford, Crossed Paths - 187

Originally published May 22, 2014
Barry Winford once crossed paths with Cal Ripken Jr., his friend Gar Ryness wrote in his book "Batting Stance Guy: A Love Letter to Baseball."

It came in spring training 1990, Ryness wrote. Winford, playing for the Rangers spring squad hit a double. Waiting for him at second was Ripken.

"They call you Winnie, right?" Ripken told Winford, the story went.

Winford crossed paths with Ripken as Winford went into his second season as a pro. Assigned to single-A Gastonia, Winford returned for just one more pro season.

Winford's career began in 1989, taken by the Rangers in the 12th round of the draft, out of Mississippi State University.

At Mississippi State, Winford still holds the record for career catching assists, with 110. He was names second-team All-SEC in 1989.

Winford singled and scored the game-winning run in an April 1987 game. He then broke his jaw on a play at the plate, but he made it back to the field by that May. Then, he knocked in a run on a double in a contest the next month.

With the Rangers, Winford started at rookie Butte. In 61 games, he hit .359. That fall, he went 2 for 2 in an instructional league game. He then moved to Gastonia for 1990. There, he hit just .238 over 96 games.

For 1991, Winford arrived at high-A Port Charlotte. He went 1 for 3, with a run scored and an RBI. He hit .216 over 69 games. It was his final year as a pro.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Ed Puig, Strong Start - 24

Originally published April 22, 2011
Ed Puig started off strong, this night in late July 1986. In the first 4.2 innings for single-A Reno, Puig let just three runners reach base, The Modesto Bee wrote.

Then, in the sixth, Puig allowed three more base runners, a fourth wasn't on base long, as he circled the bases for a grand slam, The Bee wrote.

On the season, Puig pitched well. He owned a 14-9 record, struck out 130 and posted an ERA just over 4.

But, despite those early efforts, Puig never did well enough to get to the majors, getting as high as AAA, but no higher.

Puig's career began in 1985, signed by the Padres. Puig pitched that season and the next, at single-A Reno. He went 9-7 his first season, with a 4.86 ERA, then went 14-9 that second season.

His first May was not even out and The Bee described the opposing Puig as having "a big breaking curve and an effective changeup." The description came in a game where Puig went seven innings and gave up six hits.

In 1986, Puig owned a 4-1 record and a 1.90 ERA by late May, helped along by a May three-hitter. That was followed by a June five-hitter. In July, Puig made the California League All-Star team, a game where Puig picked up the loss, after giving up a home run in the second inning.

By 1987, Puig was with the Brewers, playing at single-A Stockton, and getting a one-game look at AA El Paso. At Stockton, Puig went 11-8, with a 3.29 ERA.

He hit El Paso for all of 1988. In 1989. Puig was invited to spring training, after a rash of injuries. But he was sent back to AA. He did get a short look at AAA Denver for 12 games.

Puig split 1990 between the two levels again, returning to Denver for just 11 outings in 1991, ending his affiliation with the Brewers.

He played in the minors through 1995, in the Royals and Expos systems, finishing out his 11-season professional career without making the majors.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,038
Made the Majors:1,117-36.8%
Never Made Majors:1,921-63.2%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 466
10+ Seasons in the Minors:276

Brian Romero, Felt Better - 301

Originally published May 18, 2014
Brian Romero won his fifth-straight start for high-A Port Charlotte in 1990 and he did it with a complete game.

He got that complete game after reassuring his manager that he could do it, after his team gave him a three-run cushion in the eighth, according to The Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

"I feel better with the lead," Romero told The Herald-Tribune after the game. "With it I feel relaxed. No one can get to me."

Romero made Port Charlotte in his second season as a pro. He went on to make AA Tulsa in his third. But, in a career that spanned seven seasons, Romero never made it higher.

Romero's career began in 1989, taken by the Rangers in the 50th round of the draft out of East Los Angeles College.

Romero played his first season in the rookie Pioneer League at Butte. There, he went 5-0, with a 1.79 ERA in 10 outings, seven starts.

He started 1990 at single-A Gastonia, later moving to Port Charlotte. He earned his bump up to high-A with 15 starts and a 1.48 ERA at Gastonia.

At Port Charlotte, Romero went 7-2, with a 1.70 ERA over 12 starts. In early July, Romero had a 16-inning scoreless streak broken up. He picked up his seventh win in late-August, with a six-inning, four-hit effort.

For 1991, Romero moved to AA Tulsa. He also stayed there for four seasons. He went 6-5, with a 4.98 ERA over 23 outings, 14 starts his first season there. His 1992 season consisted of just 13 outings, 11 starts.

Romero's last extensive time came in 1993, with 21 outings, 18 starts. He had a 3.91 ERA. He got just seven outings at Tulsa in 1994 and then returned for a final four starts at independent Sonoma County in 1995, ending his career.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Bert Heffernan, Three Things - 17

Bert Heffernan's old college coach remembered Heffernan as the toughest he'd seen, according to the book "Clemson; Where the Tigers Play."

The former Clemson catcher had been well known for his tough play and dirty uniforms, according to the book.

"There are three things that make Heffernan stand out from any other player I've ever seen anywhere," Heffernan's coach at Clemson Bill Willhelm said, according to the book. "One, he's not afraid of getting dirty and two, he's not afraid of getting hurt, and most importantly, he's not afraid of embarrassing himself. He has a good time playing this game."

Heffernan went on from Clemson to a long career in the pros. In one of those seasons, he stood out enough to make the majors. He saw eight games in 1992 with the Mariners, marking the extent of his big league career.

Heffernan's career began in 1988, taken by the Brewers in the ninth round of the draft out of Clemson. Heffernan started with the Brewers between rookie Helena and single-A Beloit. He hit .276 over 70 games.

He played all of 1989 at Beloit, then moved to AA El Paso for 1990. That April, he spoke to The El Paso Times about his reputation as an all-out player. That's just the way he was, he told The Times.

"People have always told me 'you're gonna get tired, you're gonna get tired.' Well, bull on that. I'm just gonna keep on bustin' my butt," Heffernan told The Times.

Heffernan hit .279 that year with El Paso that year. Traded to the Dodgers in December, he played 1991 with AAA Albuquerque. He hit .330 in 67 games.

He arrived with the Mariners for 1992 by way of the minor league draft. He debuted in Seattle May 13 and played his final big league game June 4. He got to the plate 11 times in eight games and picked up a single hit. He also picked up an RBI.

Heffernan moved to the Giants system for 1993. Then, after not being recorded as playing in 1994, played 1996 and 1996 at AAA Ottawa for the Expos to end his playing career.

He then returned in 2000 as a player/coach with independent Long Island.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,038
Made the Majors:1,117-36.8%-X
Never Made Majors:1,921-63.2%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 466
10+ Seasons in the Minors:276


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