Monday, August 29, 2016

Interview Part 3: Steve Lienhard, How Fortunate

Citi Field in 2009. The Steve Lienhard-coached Mike Pelfrey pitched for the Mets seven seasons for the Mets, including 2009. (Greatest 21 Days)
Part 1: Exciting Time | Part 2: Learning Experience
Part 3: How Fortunate

Steve Lienhard got the call - a local youth team's pitching staff in Wichita needed some instruction in 1997 and Lienhard, a veteran pitcher of six minor league seasons and a few afterward as a coach, accepted the challenge.

Made up mostly of 14-year-olds, the team included at least one younger pitcher, a player's 6-foot, 2-inch 13-year-old younger brother - a younger pitcher with a long, loose arm by the name of Mike Pelfrey that no one could seem to catch.

"I told him some things and worked with him a little bit," Lienhard recalled of that first session with Pelfrey, "and he was receptive."

Pelfrey's mother, there for the instruction, inquired of Lienhard about her son's prospects. What did he think?

"I said, 'Ma'am, this young man's going to pitch in the big leagues some day,'" Lienhard recalled to The Greatest 21 Days of that meeting, about nine years before Pelfrey would debut in the majors. "'The thing about it is you need to make sure and get him with the right person.'"

The teen hurler's mother knew on the spot. Lienhard was that person. Lienhard worked with Pelfrey through his teen years and he continues to work with him in the off-season.

Lienhard recalled working with Pelfrey about 10 times before Pelfrey continued his long big league career in 2016 with the Tigers, his 11th season in the majors.

"It's been extra special," Lienhard said of working with a pitcher like Pelfrey. "He's been given a gift from God. He's really a good person and he's got a good family."
The home of the Clinton Lumberkings in 2014. Steve Lienhard both played and coached at Clinton. He coached there in 1993 and 1994. (Greatest 21 Days)
Lienhard turned to coaching after his own six-season professional career. He made it as high as AA, but he never made the majors.

Lienhard spent four of those seasons in the Giants organization, winning Pitcher of the Year honors in the California League in 1989 and then making AA Shreveport for 1990. But, as spring training 1991 wound down, Lienhard learned the Giants' plans didn't include him.

Out running on the final day of spring training, Lienhard got called into the office. After a decent spring with no terrible outings, he learned the team was letting him go.

Lienhard couldn't believe it. Was it his numbers? Something he'd done?

The response: It's a business. The organization had some lefties and a young righthander on their way up. Lienhard was just in the middle of that getting pushed out.

On the way out, he got a tip. The manager for the Brewers' club at El Paso, Dave Huppert, against whom Lienhad's Giants played the day he got released, heard about Lienhard's release and suggested Lienhard contact their minor league director Bruce Manno.

"I was walking by him to get my stuff," Lienhard recalled of Huppert, "and I can remember him saying, he goes, 'I heard you just got released.'"

Lienhard confirmed the rumor. Huppert, Lienhard recalled, continued, "You still wanting to play?"

A San Francisco Giants pennant signed by members of the 1994 Clinton Lumberkings. The signature of Steve Lienhard, a coach on the team, can be seen near home plate. (Greatest 21 Days)
Lienhard hadn't really thought about it at that point, but, yeah, he still wanted to play. Huppert suggested Lienhard call Manno. They might not have a spot then, but they might soon. Huppert would put in a good word.

In the meantime, Lienhard returned home to Wichita, made some calls and found a spot with the independent California League team in Reno. He got into one game there and he became a Brewer. Manno had responded by purchasing his contact. His destination: Huppert's team in El Paso.

In his first appearance back in the Texas League, Lienhard recalled, he had a no-hitter going through five innings.

"I'll never forget that," Lienhard said of his start. As for his motivations, Lienhard said, "It was a new team. I think I was trying to impress somebody."

Lienhard impressed enough in the first half to make the Texas League All-Star team. A shoulder injury prevented him from playing in the game, or much of the second half until the playoffs. He did pitch in one early second half game, against San Antonio and a young Mike Piazza.

Piazza, Lienhard recalled, hit a high Lienard fastball off the right-center field wall, helping Lienhard realize he needed to rest his shoulder.

Lienhard rested and came back for a couple strong outings in the playoffs. He returned to El Paso for 1992, but his shoulder still wasn't 100 percent. He got into just seven games there, ending his career.

"Why I liked to play is I liked to compete a lot," Lienhard recalled. "Once I started playing, and the competition was so good when I was at Oklahoma State and we were so successful, it just breeded that excitement and the love for the competition and the game of baseball. So it was really hard that they told me that I couldn't do it anymore."
Steve Lienhard, center, with some family outside the home of the College World Series in Omaha in 2016. Lienhard played in Omaha with Oklahoma State and has played or coached in the years since. (Photo Provided)
"I don't have any regrets," Lienhard said. "I worked hard at it, got a lot out of the ability that I felt I had. ... It helped to really nurture the passion that I had for baseball and it gave me a lot of experience that I'm passing on to players today. I feel like I'm very fortunate from all the experiences that I've gotten."

His playing career over, Lienhard started coaching. An old Giants coach of his, Todd Oakes, had become the organization's minor league pitching coordinator. Oakes offered Lienhard a job as a coach in the rookie Arizona League and Lienhard accepted.

Lienhard spent three seasons in the Giants organization and another with an independent team as a coach, including 1993 and 1994 at single-A Clinton. He then briefly coached in college at Kansas University and then turned to instruction and youth coaching.

He's worked in high school, becoming head coach at Kapaun Mount Carmel High School in Wichita in 2009, a job he continues to hold in 2016. He also coaches in 2016 with 316 Elite Sports in Wichita, all while working his day job as an industrial engineer.

A father of four, he even got to coach his son, Joe Lienhard, who has gone on to play at the father's old college, Oklahoma State.

"I realize as I gotten older just how fortunate I have been throughout my career to be involved with the people I've been involved with," Lienhard said.

"I've put on a uniform every year since I was 5 years old,' Lienhard said. "I don't know if I'll ever stop."

Be sure to read Part 1: Steve Lienhard, Exciting Time

Part 1: Exciting Time | Part 2: Learning Experience
Part 3: How Fortunate

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Interview Part 2: Steve Lienhard, Learning Experience

A Bakersfield pitcher delivers to the plate in 2012 at Bakersfield. Steve Lienhard pitched at Bakersfield with San Jose in 1989. (Greatest 21 Days)
Part 1: Exciting Time | Part 2: Learning Experience
Part 3: How Fortunate

Steve Lienhard remembered thinking of the altitude.

Specifically, the newly minted Giants farmhand and pitcher at rookie Pocatello, Idaho, wondered how the altitude would impact his curveball. The answer: Not in a good way.

"That was what I really remembered in Pocatello," Lienhard recalled recently to The Greatest 21 Days. "The air was a lot lighter and a lot drier. The balls were professional baseballs, the seems were smaller and I really started out bad and it was because I couldn't get my curveball over."

Soon, he started thinking of his pitching coach, Diego Segui. The pitching coach approached him and began working with Lienhard to get his pitch selection in order - and ramp up the young hurler's intensity. Segui also introduced Lienhard to the slider.

"I can remember the day in the pen when he started yelling at me - but not yelling at me in a mad way - but yelling at me to get intense and get aggressive on my breaking ball," Lienhard recalled. "I started getting after it and started throwing it as hard as I could and that's when I really started kind of making the change with my breaking ball that made it better."

The by then of the year, Lienhard recalled pitching well. He went on to hit double-digit wins over his next two seasons in the minors and post sub-3 and sub 2 ERAs those years.

While he never made the majors himself, he did make AA and he's worked with countless youth in Kansas in the years since, including helping a young Mike Pelfrey reach his potential and send him on to the majors. Lienhard spoke to The Greatest 21 Days recently by phone from his Kansas home.

Lienhard started with the Giants in the summer of 1987, taken in the 29th round of the draft out of Oklahoma State University. He went to Oklahoma State out of his hometown of McAlester, Okla.
A pitcher delivers to the plate in Clinton, Iowa, in 2014. Steve Lienhard pitched in Clinton in 1988. (Greatest 21 Days)
While Pocatello marked the furthest he'd been from home, he recalled being ready for the distance. Having been in Stillwater, Okla., at Oklahoma State, for five years, that helped prepare him, he said.

Also helping him, he recalled: His parents.

"My mom and dad, they were always so supportive and they worked so hard," Leinhard said. "They knew what I wanted to do and they were behind me 100 percent.

"I think the support that they always gave me gave me the confidence where I could play away on my own. Because I knew if I needed them, I could always call them or I could get in touch with them and they would help me out. I always felt like they were there with me."

He recalled the system of host families for rookie ball players also helped in the transition, giving a bit of a family atmosphere. And Pocatello, Leinhard recalled, wasn't much bigger than McAlester.

Even some of the players were familiar. Lienhard saw players he'd played with at Oklahoma State - and against.

"You kind of look forward to seeing guys you played against or you played with on other teams that were playing professional baseball," Lienhard said. "Those relationships and that kind of stuff makes you more comfortable and relaxes you."

On the field, Lienhard had to make that pitch change. He had a good curveball in college. He threw more breaking balls that fastballs then. But in pro ball at Pocatello, that curve didn't work. He soon went to his slider - and worked with Segui.
The April 7, 1988, Clinton Herald, with the 1988 Clinton Giants. Steve Lienhard is second from the left in the back. (Photo Provided)
He recalled Segui getting him to throw his overhand breaking ball harder. That turned into a good slider. Though he picked it up toward the end of the year, his early struggles showed in his stats. In 14 outings, 12 starts, he went 3-6, with a 5.96 ERA.

"The Pocatello situation was tough," Lienhard said. "That was a challenge getting through it. Getting through that year, really helped me a lot, even after my career in baseball. Because I learned a lot about myself in Pocatello."

From Pocatello, Lienhard went to single-A Clinton for 1988. He extended himself, logging nearly 200 innings on the year and throwing six complete games. He also showed what he could do - he went 12-7, lowering his ERA to 2.93 over 27 starts.

He continued for 1989 at single-A San Jose, going 12-3, with a 1.79 ERA over 31 outings, 17 starts. At San Jose, Lienhard pointed to another coach, Todd Oakes, in helping his approach to pitching.

"I really learned a lot about pro ball and pitching and staying strong, persevering," Lienhard said of his time in Clinton in 1988. "That's where I learned a lot. The next year, when I went to San Jose, I think my relationship that I had with Todd Oakes was really the kind of the difference that year."

Lienhard said he and Oakes really clicked. Both were personable and liked to talk to people. And they talked a lot.

"He talked to me a lot about the mental side, how to set hitters up and what to think about, how to challenge myself mentally," Lienhard said.

"We had good, good guys when I was in the Giants organization," Lienhard said. "It really helps to be around good people and good situations. I was super blessed in being around positive teams."
Bakersfield's Sam Lynn Ballpark in 2012. Steve Lienhard played at Bakersfield for visiting San Jose in 1989. (Greatest 21 Days)
Lienhard recalled throwing five pitches for strikes under Oakes' watch in San Jose - all after barely making the team. An early spot start gave him the opening he needed and he ran with it.

He recalled throwing a couple one-hitters and a couple two-hitters, all keeping his ERA under 2. He even won California League Pitcher of the Year honors.

"I really pitched well that year," Lienhard said. "I mean, it was surreal, really, how well it went."

The next year, he made AA Shreveport and he recalled thinking the majors would be a real possibility. Oakes joined him there as coach. Lienhard stayed in Shreveport the full year, helping the team to the 1990 Texas League championship.

Lienhard started in the bullpen that year, then moved into some starting as guys got hurt. He turned in a 2.50 ERA overall, saving five games.

In the run through the regular season, Shreveport won the first half, then hit a rough spot in the second. Lienhard recalled his manager Bill Evers getting upset with the team, throwing his hands up and asking what the team was going to do about it.

After getting some reinforcements, the club took on San Antonio for the title. Shreveport went down early at home, then came back to win the title. Lienhard didn't have a big role, but he did pitch in a couple games in relief.

"That was just a big learning experience of guys coming together," Lienhard said of the title run. "It was really a team atmosphere, picking up each other, pulling for each other. You don't see that a lot of times in minor league ball because everybody's trying to get to the top by themselves."

For Lienhard, if he was going to get to the top himself, he found out the next spring that he would have to take a different route to get there after the Giants gave him his release. (Go to Part 3)

Go to Part 3: Steve Lienhard, How Fortunate

Part 1: Exciting Time | Part 2: Learning Experience
Part 3: How Fortunate

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Interview Part 1: Steve Lienhard, Exciting Time

The former Riverview Stadium in Clinton, Iowa, in 2014. Steve Lienhard pitched at Riverview in 1988 for Clinton. (Greatest 21 Days)
Part 1: Exciting Time | Part 2: Learning Experience
Part 3: How Fortunate

For Steve Lienhard, the 1991 Texas League championship series meant a lot.

He not only returned from injury that year to pitch for his El Paso Diablos and pitch well, he also got to face some of his old teammates and the organization he'd spent four seasons with only to be let go.

Lienhard took the mound in the first game, he recalled, and helped his club to an early series lead. He then returned later in the series, pitched as well as he likely had ever pitched - and lost, 1-0.

"I went the whole way," Lienhard recalled recently of that later championship series game. "It was probably the best game I ever pitched and I lost. But it's one I'll never forget because it was against a bunch of my buddies that I played with for two to three years."

Lienhard pitched for the Brewers organization in El Paso that year in his fifth professional season - his first four played in the Giants system. He got into one more season, but he never made the majors.

Looking back, Lienhard recalled he had what teams needed in filling certain roles on their minor league pitching rosters, but, he recalled, he didn't have that something extra, specifically the velocity, to push him on to the majors.

"I was a perfect minor league fill-in pitcher guy," Lienhard told The Greatest 21 Days by phone from his Kansas home, "because you could use me - I mean I started, I closed, I was a middle guy, I set up - I mean I did anything and everything because I threw strikes.

"But they never thought I could sustain, I don't think, in the big leagues with the velocity that I had."
Steve Lienhard, right, with his son Joe Lienhard in 2015. (Photo Provided)
Lienhard spoke to The Greatest 21 Days about growing up in the sport in Oklahoma, then pitching at Oklahoma State and on to his six seasons in the pros. 

He has since gone on to a career as a high school and youth instructor and coach in his native Kansas. As an instructor, Lienhard came across one particularly special young pitcher in Mike Pelfrey and helped him on to a long major league career.

Lienhard's own long career with baseball began in McAlester, Okla., with the help of his older brother, Paul. Paul Lienhard, an all-state basketball player, also played baseball. Lienhard tagged along to practice and even served as a bat boy.

Lienhard liked basketball, too, like his older brother. But he also hoped to play professionally and he didn't think he could go far in that sport. He soon focused on baseball, pitching especially.

"I liked to perform," Lienhard said. "When I started pitching, I realized that, 'Hey, everybody was watching me and I could show them what I liked to do what I felt like I was good at."

"If you do well when you're out there it's a very positive reinforcement," Lienhard added a little later. "It's a very good feeling to be a success when there's a lot of people watching when you do your craft or do your job, whatever it might be."

Lienhard pitched for his high school team in McAlester, but he seemed to save his best performances for the summer and American Legion ball. Lienhard credited some of his summer success to his later coaches.

The coach, Lienhard said, first introduced the young pitcher to the importance of mechanics, bullpen sessions, pitching inside and changing speeds.
Steve Lienhard, top row third from right, with his 1982 McAlester American Legion team. (Photo Provided)
Lienhard also got some attention from a local scout who even asked if Lienhard would sign out of high school, if drafted. Lienhard, though, knew the importance of his education.

In the end, both his Legion coach and the scout spoke to the coaches at Oklahoma State. Lienhard tried out and made the 1982 Cowboys as a walk-on.

"That was probably the transition of starting to figure out, 'Hey, alright, now you're going to be a baseball player, you need to start thinking a little bit different and working a little bit harder at it,'" Lienhard said.

Red-shirted his first year, Lienhard steadily pitched more and more until he got drafted as a fifth-year senior.

That first year, though, he also quit as a strong Oklahoma State pitching staff and other obligations of a freshman pulled him away from the team. A return to Legion ball the next summer got him back on track.

Lienhard's McAlester team made the state tournament - held at Oklahoma State - and Lienhard pitched well. After one big win, he recalled Oklahoma State pitching coach Tom Holliday inviting Lienhard back.

After struggling with playing time, Lienhard started to get on the mound and have success. As his team made the College World Series in 1986 and 1987, Lienhard recalled pitching in relief in five or six games.

In one, a 1986 game against Florida State, he recalled striking out future major league Paul Sorrento with the bases loaded and a one-run lead.
Omaha's Rosenblatt Stadium in 2010. Steve Lienhard plated at Rosenblatt with Oklahoma State in the College World Series. (Greatest 21 Days)
"That's one of the times I still tell kids about," Lienhard said, "how nervous I was at the time and how I had to collect myself and my thoughts. It's just things like that that really help you grow in sports."

Lienhard quickly added that he gave up a single the next inning, which led to the game-tying run in a game Florida State would go on to win.

"It's one of those you kind of remember, that sticks in your head," Lienhard said, adding with a laugh, "It seems like I remember the losses more than I do the wins. But, no, I have a lot to be thankful for."

Going into the 1987 draft, Lienhard had an idea he'd be drafted. But it ended up being a long wait. His team still in Omaha, the first day went by with no word. The second day, too.

He even asked coach Holliday. Holliday could only say he thought the Rangers would get him.

Then, finally, Lienhard's mother got word at the family's house via telegram: The Giants selected Lienhard in the 29th round.

"That was really an exciting time," Lienhard said, "because you hear so many guys that don't ever get drafted that are probably as good or better. You just never know what it's going to take from a guy like me."

Lienhard soon signed and he found himself on his way to Pocatello, Idaho, and rookie ball. (Go to Part 2)

Go to Part 2: Steve Lienhard, Learning Experience

Part 1: Exciting Time | Part 2: Learning Experience
Part 3: How Fortunate

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bernie Jenkins, Set In - 1359

As the spring wound down in 1995, Bernie Jenkins knew reality could set in, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

A judge's ruling put the start of the season in doubt for players like Jenkins, the replacement players.

"It will disappoint you, but we knew it when we got here," Jenkins, an outfielder for the replacement Giants, told The Chronicle.

Jenkins played with the Giants that spring after a six-season career that saw him make AA, but not the bigs. He extended his playing time that year, but did so briefly. He got into six regular-season games back at AA, ending his career.

Jenkins' career began in 1988, taken by the Astros in the seventh round of the draft out of St. Francis College in Brooklyn.

Jenkins started with the Astros at short-season Auburn. He hit .244 over 58 games. He got hit by a pitch and scored in an August game.

He moved to single-A Osceola for 1989, improving his average to .292 on the year. He singled and scored in a May game, going 3 for 4 in the game. Jenkins then played 1990 at AA Columbus and 1991 at AA Jackson. He hit .228 and .260.

Jenkins switched to the Reds system for 1992, playing between single-A Cedar Rapids and AA Chattanooga. He hit .291 on the year. He played his final full season in 1993 at Chattanooga. He singled in a run in an August game, and hit .252 overall.

After not playing in 1994, he returned for spring 1995 and then got into five final games at AA Shreveport, ending his career.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,404
Made the Majors: 985-41.0%
Never Made Majors:1,419-59.0%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 411
10+ Seasons in the Minors:247

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Bert Hunter, Biggest Adjustment - 1358

Taken by the Astros in the second round in 1985 out of high school, Bert Hunter had trouble adjusting to the pros, according to The Orlando Sentinel.

By 1988, his fourth season, Hunter was still in single-A, at Osceola. He hadn't hit higher than .262.

"Wooden bats are the biggest adjustment I've had to make," Hunter told The Sentinel that June. ''But it's starting to come around. For a while, it was a rude awakening. So was pitching.''

For Hunter, his bat never really came around. He hit .233 that year. He later made AA and then AAA, briefly. But he never hit well and he never made the majors.

He has since gone on to a career as a coach in college, serving in 2016 as an assistant coach at Willamette University in Oregon.

Hunter's career began in 1985, taken by the Astros out of Norte Vista High school in California.

Hunter started with the Astros in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He hit .210 in 56 games. He then moved to short-season Auburn and single-A Asheville for 1986, hitting .226 between them. In one May 1986 game at Asheville, Hunter knocked in two on a single and later scored.

Hunter returned to Asheville for 1987, scoring on a double in a July game. He  then made single-A Osceola for 1988 and most of 1989. He knocked in three on a triple in a July 1988 win.

Hunter first made AA in 1989 at Columbus, returning there for all of 1990. He moved to the Mets system for 1992, getting a single-game look at AAA Tidewater.

He then played 23 games back at AAA for the Mets in 1993, playing the rest of the year at AA Binghamton. That season marked his final year as a pro.

Hunter then went on to his career as a coach, first in the minors and then in college. He served as hitting coach at short-season Salem-Keizer from 1998 to 2000, then single-A Hagerstown. He managed from 2002 to 2007 in the Arizona League for the Giants.

He has since joined Willimette University in Salem, Ore., as hitting coach. In March 2015, Hunter's daughter Deven Hunter played for Oregon State and the father spoke to The Salem Statesman-Journal about his daughter's toughness.

"She gets it from me, her mom, playing against her cousins when she was smaller," the father told The Statesman-Journal. "They were older than her and they used to pick on her and make her be tough. They were twins, so she had to go up against them in basketball, and they wouldn't let her score unless she was tough enough."
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,403
Made the Majors: 985-41.0%
Never Made Majors:1,418-59.0%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 411
10+ Seasons in the Minors:247

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Edinson Renteria, Another Job - 1355

Edinson Renteria's first job in his native Columbia consisted of being a street vendor with some of his brothers, according to ESPN.com.

He then got another job, as a baseball player in the United States. He also continued to help his family by sending what he made back home, ESPN.com wrote.

"I always was in awe of him," Renteria's younger brother by eight years, Edgar Renteria, told ESPN.com, "and of what he did for us."

Edinson Renteria also ended up leading his brother Edgar to the United States and professional baseball. Edinson Renteria played nearly a decade, but never made the majors. His brother Edgar Renteria, though, went on to make the majors and stay there for 16 seasons.

Edinson Renteria's career began in 1985, signed by the Astros as an amateur free agent out of Columbia. Renteria is also credited as Ed Renteria.

Renteria started in the rookie Gulf Coast League, playing there in 1985 and 1986. He hit .297 his second season there.

He moved to short-season Auburn for 1987, where he hit .302, and then single-A Asheville for 1988. That June, Renteria gave his team the led with a late-single, his fourth game-winner on the year.

Renteria made AA Columbus in 1990, also AAA Tucson. He hit .270 on the year. He then played one more season with the Astros, at AA Jackson and single-A Osceola.

He returned for 1993 with the Marlins, splitting time between high-A High Desert and AAA Edmonton, then AA Portland briefly for 1994. He then played in Mexico the rest of 1994 and most of 1995, ending his playing career.

Renteria continued on in baseball, serving as a coach over several seasons. He served with the Braves as hitting coach in the Gulf Coast League from 1997 to 1999. He also served as a coach at Jamestown, Macon and Myrtle Beach.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,402
Made the Majors: 985-41.0%
Never Made Majors:1,417-59.0%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 411
10+ Seasons in the Minors:247

Friday, August 19, 2016

Tony Eusebio, Hit Anything - 1350

Tony Eusebio looked hit all the way in this June 1998 game, according to The Associated Press.

The result, according to The AP: A late two-run single that helped his Astros to a 4-3 win.

"In that situation, you hit anything that's around the plate," Eusebio told The AP. "You have an advantage. He might try to throw the fastball early. You don't let one get by and said, 'Hey, that's the one that I wanted.'"

Eusebio ended up hitting in nine major league seasons. In 2000, it seemed he didn't stop hitting. The catcher amassed a 24-game hitting streak over 51 days, then a franchise record.

Eusebio's career began in 1985, signed by the Astros as an amateur free agent out of his native Dominican Republic.

Eusebio played briefly for the Astros' Gulf Coast League team in 1985, then returned for 1987. He made single-A Osceola in 1988, AA Columbus in 1989 and then AAA Tucson in 1991.

He also first made Houston in 1991, getting into 10 games. He picked up two hits in 19 at bats.

Eusebio then spent 1992 and 1993 back in the minors. He returned to the bigs in 1994 and began to get regular playing time. He got into 55 games that year and hit .296.

He hit two home runs in a June 1994 game, helping his team to a win againstt he Giants. He then picked up four hits and four RBI in a July 1994 game against the Cardinals.

Eusebio then got into an overall career-high 113 games in 1995. He hit .299. He continued with the Astros for 1996 to 1998, getting lesser playing time, including 66 games in 1998.

In April 1998, though, he played and hit the game-winning double in the ninth on an outside pitch, according to The AP.

"It was a good pitch for me, I like it out there," Eusebio told The AP afterward.

Eusebio got into 103 games in 1999, then 74 in 2000. His 2000 campaign also saw that hitting streak. He picked up his 23rd-consecutive game with a hit in late-August, hitting a double in Montreal to tie the club record.

''I didn't know the record streak for the Astros was 23 games,'' Eusebio told The AP afterward. ''When you play the game, you don't pay too much mind to it."

Eusebio returned for one more season, 2001. He got into 59 games, hitting .253, ending his career.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,401
Made the Majors: 985-41.0%-X
Never Made Majors:1,416-59.0%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 411-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:247
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