Thursday, May 5, 2016

Enoch Simmons, Much Potential - 10

Originally published March 31, 2015
Loyola Marymount basketball player Enoch Simmons tried out a new sport in summer 1987 and he was pleased with how it turned out, according to The Los Angeles Times.

That sport was baseball and it gave him something to think about the next summer after being drafted by the Athletics.

"I did well, and I realized how much potential I had," Simmons told The Times. "It was a confidence builder. . . . I think if I'm out there 10 months, 12 months of the year, I'll be much better because I'll be consistent."

Simmons eventually did choose his new sport and he went on to a pro career that spanned seven seasons. He made AAA, but not the majors.

Simmons' career began that year in 1988, taken by the Athletics in the fourth round of the draft out of Loyola.

Playing for the basketball team in February 1986, Simmons was credited with the three-point play that gave the team a win over Portland. He played in a total of 116 games for the Lions, scoring 1,379 career points, 14th all-time at the school.

With the Athletics, Simmons started in the rookie Arizona League. He hit .307 in 45 games. He also suffered a broken nose in an on-field brawl, according to The Times. He returned to the basketball team after the season to finish out his eligibility.

"I'd regret it if I missed my last chance," Simmons told The Times that November. "I feel more relaxed about basketball this year. Now I don't feel like I'm missing something (baseball). I feel I'm playing a lot better because of that."

Simmons spent his second season between single-A Modesto and short-season Southern Oregon. In 71 games, he hit .218. He went 2 for 4 with a double in a July game for Southern Oregon.

The outfielder moved to Madison for 1990, but his average sunk further. He got into 117 games, but hit just .184 with three home runs.

He returned to Modesto for all of 1991, then hit high-A Reno in 1992. He hit .260 at Reno. He split 1993 between three levels, including his first 43 games at AA at Huntsville.

He got into 75 games between Huntsville and AAA Tacoma in 1994. He knocked a two-run double in a June Tacoma win. He hit .239 overall. It was his final season as a pro.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Danny Gil, Playing Time - 3336

Danny Gil had a choice coming out of high school in 1987. The White Sox chose him in the ninth round of the draft. But he also had a full scholarship to USC, according to The Los Angeles Times.

He chose the scholarship to USC.

"I was very impressed with the way they were interested in me as a player and a student," Gil told The Times of his decision. "I think if I can get out there and just be myself, I'll have a good chance of getting playing time right away."

Gil went on to get playing time over three years at USC. He then went pro. His pro career, though, lasted just two seasons. He never saw AA.

Gil's career began in 1990, taken by the Angels in the eighth round of the University of Southern California. He went to USC out of Poly High School in Sun Valley, Ca.

At Poly High, his White Sox and USC opportunities came out of a high school career where he met and surpassed a list of goals, including hitting .400 and making all-city, according to The Times.

"Sometimes I can't believe it," Gil told The Times. "I mean, I played as a sophomore and I had a good year as a junior, but now I've got people calling the house and teachers I don't even know coming up to me and congratulating me at school. It's really something."

At USC, Gil doubled and scored the winning run in an April 1990 game.

Gil started with the Angels at short-season Boise. He hit .309 in 51 games. He knocked a two-run double in a July game. He went 2 for 4 in another game that month.

He played 1991 between single-A Quad City and high-A Palm Springs. Over 62 total games, he hit just .198, ending his brief career.

By 1998, Gil was back in California working in data processing.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,352
Made the Majors: 971-41.3%
Never Made Majors:1,381-58.7%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 406
10+ Seasons in the Minors:243

Fausto Tejero, Most Experienced - 3334

The Braves' backup catcher dinged up in spring training 1997, coaches prepared for a possible new catcher to take his place, according to The Spartanburg Herald-Journal.

At the top of their list: Fausto Tejero.

"Tejero is the most experienced," Braves manager Bobby Cox told The Herald-Journal.

Tejero might have been most experienced, but his experience all came in the minor leagues. That year marked his eighth in pro ball. He went on to play in 11 seasons. His services weren't needed in the majors in 1997 and he never made the bigs.

Tejero then went on to work in law enforcement back home in Florida and earn awards. But charges brought in 2009 and later dropped ended that stint.

Tejero's baseball career began in 1990, taken by the Angels in the 14th round of the draft out of Florida International University.

He started with the Angels at short-season Boise. The catcher hit .216 there over 39 games. A runner knocked a late throw home from Tejero's grip in an August game, scoring the winning run.

He moved to single-A Quad City for 1991, then AA Midland and AAA Edmonton for 1992. He got into 84 games at Midland that year and eight at Edmonton, hitting .191 overall.

Tejero stayed in the Angels system through 1996, getting time at AAA in each of those subsequent years. He didn't make Anaheim.

For 1997, he signed with the Braves. Despite the talk that spring, he didn't make Atlanta. He played the year at AAA Richmond. He hit a two-run double in a May win there.

Tejero singled in the winning run in an early 1998 spring game for the Braves, but he returned to Richmond for the season. He singled and scored in an April game there.

He returned to the Angels system for 1999 then moved to the Phillies for 2000. After being one of the final cuts in spring 2000, he played out the year at AAA Scranton, ending his career.

By 2003, Tejero started work as a sheriff's deputy for the Broward County Sheriff's Department, according to The South Florida Sun-Sentinel. He subsequently won Employee of the Month honors twice.

In October 2009, though, the department arrested Tejero, accusing him of being an accomplice to a fellow deputy's marijuana-house extortion scheme.

The fellow deputy later received prison time, but charges against Tejero were dropped due to lack of evidence, according to The Sun-Sentinel. The department still fired Tejero in 2011.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,351
Made the Majors: 971-41.3%
Never Made Majors:1,380-58.7%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 406
10+ Seasons in the Minors:243-X

Gary Sharko, Threw Hard - 19

Originally published Feb. 10, 2013
When Gary Sharko came into that July 1988 game, his Everett Giants were behind.

By the time he came out, 3.1 innings later, Sharko had given up just one hit and no runs. His team was also ahead, soon earning Sharko the win.

The outing, and his performance previously, earned Sharko the description by The Spokane Spokesman-Review as "Everett's hard-throwing relief ace."

Sharko continued to throw hard in relief, three years later setting the California League's top mark in saves. Sharko, though, never threw hard enough to make the majors. He played five seasons, never making it above AA.

Sharko's professional career began in 1988, taken by the Giants in the eighth round of the draft, out of Grand Canyon University. At Grand Canyon, Sharko went 2.1 innings in one May 1987 game, striking out five.

With the Giants, Sharko started at short-season Everett. He got into 31 games there, posting a 3.14 ERA. He also saved five games.

For 1989, Sharko moved up to single-A Clinton and single-A San Jose, getting into 29 games between them, with a 2.40 ERA.

Sharko returned to San Jose for 1990, getting 44 outings, three starts. He posted a 3.28 ERA, getting no saves. The next year Sharko became San Jose's closer, saving 31 contests. The 31 saves set a new league record.

Sharko, though, played just one more season. He pitched again at San Jose in 1992, earning a mid-season promotion to Shreveport. He had a sub-1 ERA in 16 outings at San Jose. At Shreveport, Sharko got into 14 outings. His ERA ended at 5.09. It was his final year as a pro.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

J.R. Phillips, He Did - 3319

Originally published May 18, 2015
J.R. Phillips started the 1995 season looked at as the Giants' possible long-term first baseman. After getting the shot, though, it didn't work out. He hardly hit.

Phillips told The Philadelphia Inquirer later he knew why.

"I tried to go out and compete with Matt Williams and Barry Bonds right off the bat," Phillips told The Inquirer, "instead of just going out and doing what I do."

Though his bat never really did catch up with him, Phillips went on to do what he did in seven major league seasons, in 242 major league games.

His best season was that 1995 campaign where he hit just .195, but saw time in 92 games and hit a career-high nine home runs.

Phillips' career began in 1988, taken by the Angels in the fourth round of the draft out of Bishop Amat High School in California.

Phillips actually came out of high school as both an accomplished hitter and an accomplished pitcher, according to The Los Angeles Times.

"He's just a super athlete," Phillips' high school coach Glenn Martinez told The Times. "He's the kind of kid who does it all. I coached him in football, too, and I know what he can do."

With the Angels, Phillips settled in playing the field. He played his first season between outfield and first base before finding a home at first.

He played 1988 at short-season Bend. He made AA Midland in 1992 and then AAA Phoenix in 1993.

He also debuted with the Giants in 1993, getting into 11 games that September and going 5 for 16. He got into 15 more games in 1994, hitting .132.

Phillips then started 1995 as the Giants' regular at first base. Through his first 32 appearances, he hit just .101. He had some success in July, hitting a 14th-inning walk-off home run.

"Everything is a lift," Phillips told The Associated Press, "especially with the way I've been hitting."

Phillips played early 1996 back with the Giants. He was then traded to the Phillies. He got into 50 games total that year.

He moved to the Astros for 1997 and 1998, getting into 49 games total. He played his final major league games in 1999 with 25 played with the Rockies.

Phillips then continued playing in the minors and overseas. He played in Korea in 2001, then moved to Mexico. His final recorded games came in 2005 at AA and AAA with the Astros.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,350
Made the Majors: 971-41.3%
Never Made Majors:1,379-58.7%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 406
10+ Seasons in the Minors:242

Mark Dalesandro, Fit In - 3324

Two seasons removed from his last major league time, Mark Dalesandro remained optimistic in October 1997 about returning, according to The Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette.

He had reason to be hopeful. After all, the major leagues were expanding for 1998 creating more opportunities, The News-Gazette wrote.

"Hopefully, I'm one of them," the University of Illinois alum Dalesandro told The News-Gazette. "I just have to get in the right situation and with the right organization where I fit in."

Dalesandro found a place where he fit in that next year, if briefly. He returned to the majors in 1998 and 1999 with the Blue Jays, getting into 48 more major league games. Overall, he saw time in five major league seasons and 79 big league games..

Dalesandro's career began in 1990, taken by the Angels in the 18th round of the draft out of Illinois. Dalesandro is also credited as Mark D'Alesandro.

Dalesandro started with the Angels at short-season Boise. He moved to single-A Quad City for 1991 and then AA Midland and AAA Vancouver for 1993.

He made his major league debut in 1994, getting into 19 games for the Angels. He hit .200.

After his call-up in June, Dalesandro described the feeling to his hometown Chicago Tribune.

"It's all been a dream come true," Dalesandro told The Tribune. "I've got about 200 people coming to the games to see me. It's been kind of hectic the last week trying to arrange to get tickets, but it's great that they're getting a chance to see me. I hope I can get into a game for them."

He returned for another 11 games with the Angels in 1995. He then played the next two seasons at AAA, first with the Yankees and then with the Cubs.

On his return to the majors in 1998, he hit .299 over 32 games and then .185 over 16 appearances in 1999.

After two more seasons in the minors, Dalesandro got into one final major league game in 2001, playing for his hometown White Sox. He then played his final pro time at AAA in 2002.

In 2012, Dalesandro's son Nick Dalesandro committed to Purdue for baseball. He credited his father with helping him along.

"I can't think my dad enough," the son told "He's been the biggest inspiration for me.  He lets me know what to expect (from the recruiting process) and talks to me about learning from mistakes he made. He never lets me quit…He's the kind of player I want to be when I get older."
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,350
Made the Majors: 971-41.3%-X
Never Made Majors:1,379-58.7%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 406-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:242

Kerry Shaw, Better Hitter - 2

Originally published Feb. 1, 2013
The Salt Lake City Trappers were slumping and Trapper Tommy Boyce knew it, The Deseret News wrote.

Boyce also believed he knew why, and that it might get worse. The reason it might get worse was the absence of teammate Kerry Shaw.

"We've got a lot of injuries," Boyce told The News in August 1988. "We lost Kerry Shaw yesterday, who I think is one of the better hitters in the league, if not the best."

Shaw ultimately got into 54 games that year for independent Salt Lake, but hit .353. Shaw also earned a contract with the Giants. Shaw, though, couldn't turn his success there into a successful career in affiliated ball. He played in just four pro seasons, never making it above high-A.

Shaw's professional career began that year in 1988, signed by independent Salt Lake out of college.

With Salt Lake, Shaw also scored 54 runs in his 54 games. Before his own injury, Shaw helped make up for another one, getting three hits in a Trappers win, The News wrote.

"I'm just seeing the ball good. It just happens," Shaw explained to The News of his night, then referencing an injury to a teammate. "You have to live with it."

He then moved to independent Salinas, of the California League. There, he hit .241 in 128 games. He also scored 54 runs that year, though in more than twice the number of games.

For 1990, Shaw was with the Giants, playing at high-A San Jose. At San Jose, he hit .223 in 83 games, scoring 25 runs, ending his brief career in the Giants' organization.

Shaw returned to Salt Lake City for 1991, getting into 23 final games, hitting .301. In one August game, he picked up three singles.

Shaw didn't return to the Trappers until July, when he came back for an Old-Timers' game. The Giants didn't keep him and he couldn't find a spot elsewhere, The News wrote. He ended up re-signing with the team. It was his last run at the pros.
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