Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Kevin Belcher, Instructed Them - 3

Originally published June 29, 2011
The Jackson Mets broke an unwritten baseball rule and Kevin Belcher took it upon himself to instruct them.

Up 10-1 on Belcher's Tulsa Drillers, Jackson runner Terry McDaniel stole second, The Orlando Sentinel wrote. Belcher, serving as designated hitter, responded by yelling at McDaniel. Belcher was ejected. Seven others would also be tossed after the ensuing bench-clearing brawl.

"That stolen base got my players upset," Tulsa Manager Tommy Thompson told The Sentinel after that June 1990 game. "We don't try to show up professionals. They had a big lead at the time."

Belcher took that passion from AA Tulsa in June 1990, all the way to majors by September. The 16 games he got into that year, though, were the only 16 games he would see in the majors.

Belcher's career began in 1987, taken by the Rangers in the sixth round of the draft out of Navarro College. Belcher played that first year in the rookie Gulf Coast League, hitting .209 in 58 games.

For 1988, Belcher moved to single-A Gastonia, hitting .245 and eight home runs. He returned to Gastonia in 1989, this time hitting .296 with 14 home runs. He hit one of those home runs in an April 27 game. He hit a three-run shot May 26. He also made the All-Star team.

It was in 1990 that Belcher made AA Tulsa. He hit .293 with 11 home runs. He also got a September call-up to Texas.

Belcher got into 16 games, with 15 official at bats. He got two hits. He also scored four runs, scoring one Sept. 10 as a pinch runner.

Belcher returned to the minors for 1991, splitting time between Tulsa and AAA Oklahoma City. After another year at Tulsa in 1992, Belcher arrived with the White Sox system for 1993.

Belcher played that year, his final year, at AA Birmingham. He hit .222, with 13 home runs. He hit one of his home runs Aug. 22 in a Birmingham loss.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Ryan Eberly, Some Things - 4

Eight of Ryan Eberly's Clarinda A's headed to the collegiate league all-star game in 2018, according to KMA radio.

Beyond the game, the Clarinda manager pointed out an extra opportunity some of the players would have to impress, according to KMA.

"It's a good event and a long day," Eberly told the station. "Beforehand, 10 of the kids will go through a showcase where they will go to their positions and field ground balls and throw. Outfielders will do the same. They will take some hits in the cage and hopefully scouts will see some things they like."

Years earlier, Eberly impressed enough to get signed by a scout to play pro ball. His pro career, however, proved brief, all of 17 games played in rookie ball.

Eberly's pro career began and ended in 1990, signed by the Yankees as a free agent out of his native Clarinda, Iowa.

Before he managed Clarinda, he played for the team. In a June 1988 game, Eberly reached on an error and came around to score on another.

With the Yankees, Eberly played in the rookie Gulf Coast League. The infielder went 7 for 39 in his 17 games for a .179 average. He picked up one double and stole one base. His numbers that year proved the extent of his career.

Eberly soon returned home to Clarinda. in 2018, he served as both manager and general manager for the Clarinda A's.

He recalled to The Clarinda Herald in August 2018 attending the National Baseball Congress in Wichita both as a bat boy and player as well as a manager. He spoke on the occasion of Wichita getting a new stadium.

"For me, walking in and out of there for the last time had a tremendous wow factor," Eberly told The Herald.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,083
Made the Majors:1,129-36.6%
Never Made Majors:1,954-63.4%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 468
10+ Seasons in the Minors:281

Jeff Andrews, Relationships Developed - 2

Originally published Dec. 20, 2015
Jeff Andrews likes to hear how his pitchers do. But to him, that's not the best part. The best part, he told The Dallas Morning News in 2015, is getting them there.

"It's more fun being in the middle of the process," Andrews told The Morning News that July, "than what they become later - watching them learn, try new things and experience new things during the time we spend together, plus the relationships you develop with those guys. For me, it's more how they did it than what they've done."

Andrews has been developing relationship with minor league pitchers as a pitching coach now for nearly three decades in the Rangers, Pirates and Mariners systems. He's also spent one season in the majors, as pitching coach in 2008 with Pittsburgh.

Andrews' long career in baseball began as a player, taken by the Cubs in the 25th round of the 1981 draft out of East Tennessee State University.

Andrews' career with the Cubs lasted two seasons. He played 1981 at short-season Geneva, going 7-2 in 18 relief outings, with a 2.08 ERA. He then played 1982 at single-A Salinas, ending his playing career.

He started his coaching career by 1986, serving as a minor league instructor that year. He then served as pitching coach at single-A Charlotte and spent three seasons at AA Tulsa.

Andrews made AAA Oklahoma City in 1991, then returned to AAA with the Mariners at Tacoma in 1995. He served 2001 with the Marlins at AA Portland.

That April with Portland, Andrews watched over a young Kevin Olsen. Olsen went on to see time in three major league seasons. On this night in April 2001, Olsen picked up a win and praise from his pitching coach.

"He came out and got into a good rhythm and it carried him the rest of the way," Andrews told The Lewiston Sun Journal afterward.

Andrews joined the Pirates system by 2003, serving as pitching coach at AA Altoona. He made AAA Indianapolis in 2006, then Pittsburgh in 2008.

Andrews told The Altoona Mirror after his appointment to Pittsburgh that he didn't think he would ever make the majors. Pirates pitcher Zach Duke praised the selection.

"He’s a great pitching coach," Duke told The Mirror. "He's a guy that we're all very familiar with and we trust and we know he has our best interests at heart."

Andrews' stint in the majors, though, lasted that single season. He then returned to the Rangers system as pitching coach at AA Frisco for 2009. He continued there in 2015.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Abdiel Cumberbatch, His Part - 2

The San Bernardino Spirit scored big in this April 1994 game and Abdiel Cumberbatch did his part, according to The San Bernardino County Sun.

With two runs already in and two men on, Cumberbatch made it 4-0 on a triple. He then came around to score on a home run, The Sun wrote.

Cumberbatch hit that triple in his fifth season as a pro. But he only had a few games left. By May, his minor league career had ended. He never made AA.

Cumberbatch's career began in 1990, signed by the Yankees out of his native Panama.

Assigned to the rookie Gulf Coast League, Cumberbatch played his first season with a fellow Panamanian, future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera.

He hit .197 in 45 games in the GCL in 1990. He returned there for 1991 and hit .288 over 59 games. He stole 45 bases.

Cumberbatch played 1992 largely at Greensboro. He hit .252 in 54 games. He also saw eight games at short-season Oneonta. He lost some time in June to chicken pox.

He played another 45 games at Oneonta in 1993, where he hit .289. He then started 1994 at high-A San Bernardino. He hit .188 in 28 games before he retired, citing family matters.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,082
Made the Majors:1,129-36.6%
Never Made Majors:1,953-63.4%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 468
10+ Seasons in the Minors:281

Steve Allen, Look Great - 1

Originally published Jan. 1, 2016
Steve Allen readied to start his pro career in June 1988 and the pitcher told his hometown Nashua Telegraph he was ready for whatever the Rangers sent his way..

"I'm just looking to be consistent, stay healthy, and come out and look great whenever I get my chance," Allen told The Telegraph.

Allen made it to rookie Butte and ended up pitching poorly, but he came back the next year and went on to a pro career that lasted seven seasons. He made AAA, but he never made the majors.

Allen's career began that year in 1988, taken by the Rangers in the 37th round of the draft out of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Allen started with the Rangers at Butte. In 17 games, six starts, Allen had an expansive 9.32 ERA. He then moved to single-A Gastonia and turned full-time reliever. He picked up six wins, three saves and dropped his ERA to 2.02.

He made AA Tulsa for 1990, serving as a short reliever. He went 8-4, with a 3.83 ERA. He then moved to the Dodgers system for 1991 in a trade.

"We like (Allen's) arm and we like his forkball," Dodgers director of minor league operations Bill Schweppe told The Telegraph that January.

Allen played that year and the next at AA San Antonio. His 1991 campaign was limited to 12 outings, but he returned to a full slate of 43 in 1992, recording a 2.62 ERA.

He made AAA Albuquerque in 1993, playing there briefly before moving to the Rockies and AAA Colorado Springs early on. Overall, he had a 4.10 ERA.

His final season came in 1994, back at Colorado Springs. He went 2-5, with a 6.69 ERA, ending his career.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Roger Pavlik, Threw Strikes - 18

Roger Pavlik focused on throwing pitches for strikes in this August 1992 game, he told The Associated Press afterward.

He then nearly threw a shutout for his first major league win, The AP wrote.

"That was it. I just kept throwing them," Pavlik told The AP. "Sometimes, you're going to have a game like this."

Pavlik went on throw many big league strikes over seven major league seasons. He also went on to become a major league All-Star in 1996.

Pavlik's career began in 1986, taken by the Rangers in the second round of the draft out of Aldine High School in Texas.

Pavlik started with the Rangers in 1987 at single-A Gastonia. He went 2-7, with a 4.95 ERA. He made single-A Port Charlotte in 1989 and then saw 16 starts at AA Tulsa in 1990. He went 6-5 there, with a 2.33 ERA.

He made AAA Oklahoma City in 1991, then debuted with Texas in May 1992. He got 12 starts that year. He went 4-4, with a 4.21 ERA.

Pavlik then went 12-6 over 26 starts for the Rangers in 1993, with a 3.41 ERA. He got 11 starts for Texas in 1994 and 31 in 1995.

In 1996, he got 34 starts, went 15-8, with a 5.19 ERA and made the All-Star team. Pavlik threw six complete games in the first half and ended with a 11-2 record, both helping his All-Star candidacy, according to The AP.

His ERA, but a high ERA drew questions. His manager Johnny Oates overlooked the criticism, according to The AP.

"How many games has he won? That's all that matters," Oates told The AP. "We don't win pennants with ERAs. We win pennants with wins and losses. That's the criteria you judge with."

Pavlik returned to the Rangers over the next two seasons, but saw abbreviated time in both campaigns. He started 11 games in 1997 and saw five outings in 1998 to end his career.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,081
Made the Majors:1,129-36.6%-X
Never Made Majors:1,952-63.4%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 468-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:281

Dan Peltier, Goals Achieved - 19

Originally published Sept. 6, 2010
It was the bottom of the third. The Rangers were already up 4 to 2 against the Yankees when Dan Peltier stepped into the batter's box to face Bob Wickman. On a 3-0 count, Peltier swung away, hitting the ball over the right field fence.

"It was phenomenal," Peltier recalled to a television interviewer years later. "I remember rounding the bases, thinking this is unbelievable. I had goose bumps, chills, everything that you could possibly imagine, especially doing it against the yankees, which was my favorite childhood team."

It was Peltier's first major league home run. It would also be his last in a career that spanned three major league seasons.

Peltier began his professional career in 1989, taken by the Rangers in the third round out of Notre Dame. He signed with the Rangers after a junior season to remember with the Fighting Irish.

Peltier hit .446 with 15 home runs and 93 RBIs for Notre Dame, in 68 games in a season still talked about by Irish faithful. He struck out looking just twice, Peltier noted to the Notre Dame Athletics site in 2004.
"It came down to a level of confidence and knowing yourself," Peltier told the site, "driving the ball no matter where the pitch is. Inside or outside, up or down, I always was looking to help my team score runs."

Peltier started at rookie league Butte in 1989, then jumped to AA Tulsa for 1990. He made AAA Oklahoma City in 1991, then got a taste of Texas in 1992.

He debuted with Texas in June 1992, playing in 12 games and going 4 for 24. He returned for 1993, looking to make the team out of spring training. He hit a ninth-inning, two-run home run in one spring training game, helping his own cause for staying with the club.

"In that situation, I just wanted to get a ball I could drive to the outfield," Peltier told reporters after the game. "I saw the infield in, I just wanted to get a ball in the air."

Peltier played in one game in April and returned in June, hitting that only major league home run. In one two-game stretch in June, Peltier went 5 for 7. That put the Rangers in a situation of wanting to keep him up but possibly not having room for him.

"If (Peltier) can help us win ballgames," Rangers manager Keven Kennedy told The Associated Press, "he'll stay."

Peltier played in 65 games for the Rangers that year, staying up almost the rest of the season. But it was back to AAA for 1994. The Rangers released him in March 1995. Peltier told reporters later he believed it was because he refused to be a replacement player.

Peltier played that year in the independent leagues, for the St. Paul Saints. He hit well enough to sign on for 1996 with the Giants, playing 31 games for San Francisco that year, including his first start, where he drove in three runs.

"I knew he could hit,'' Giants manager Dusty Baker told reporters after that first Peltier outing. "He told me in spring training, the first time I met him, 'Don't forget about me. I'm your man.'

"I asked him how he got here," Baker continued, "and he told me the story about Texas and not being a replacement player. I knew he was a man of his convictions. He took a step back, went to the Northern League, and was tearing it up at Phoenix. It's not hard to keep your eye on a guy when he's hitting close to .400.''

Peltier returned to St. Paul in 1997 for one more season and his playing career was done. A native of Clifton Park, NY, Peltier has since stayed in Minnesota, making it his home.

He returned to Clifton Park in 2009, inducted into his old high school's athletic Hall of Fame. It was during that trip that he recounted his first and only home run to local television station CBS6 Albany. He also spoke about his status in the club of former major leaguers.

"I don't live my life as saying I'm a former major league player," Peltier told the intervier, "however, it's something I always have, that gratification that I set my goals and I achieved them."


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