Saturday, October 21, 2017

Todd Youngblood, Bulldog Type - 32

Todd Youngblood arrived with his new team in Alexandria for 1997 after playing the previous three seasons with rival Amarillo.

His new manager Stan Cliburn welcomed his newest addition, according to The Alexandria Town Talk.

"I thought Youngblood was the ace of the staff up there in Amarillo (in '95)," Cliburn told The Town Talk. "He's very aggressive, a bulldog type pitcher who goes after people."

Youngblood played that year for Alexandria in his eighth and final season as a pro. He never made it higher than high-A.

Youngblood's career started in 1990, taken by the Mariners in the 38th round of the draft out of Cochise College. He went to Cochise out of Farmington High School in New Mexico.

At Farmington, Youngblood won Gatorade New Mexico high school player of the year honors.

He then went to Cochise where he won second-team all-region1 and second-team all-conference in 1990. He then pitched Cochise to a win in a National Junior College World Series game by getting into the ninth.

Youngblood started with the Mariners at short-season Bellingham. He went 0-3 over 17 relief outings, with a 7.71 ERA.

He returned to Bellingham and saw time at high-A San Bernardino for 1991. He hit a batter in a May game for San Bernardino. He went 6-5, with a 3.22 ERA overall.

He then played 1992 at high-A Peninsula and 1993 at high-A Riverside. He went 2-5 over 26 outings at Riverside, with a 6.10 ERA to end his affiliated career.

Youngblood then turned to independent ball and Amarillo for 1994. He played there three seasons. he went 11-5, with a 3.90 ERA in 1995, his best season. He then played his final season in 1997 at Alexandria. He went 7-5 in 18 starts to end his career.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,786
Made the Majors:1,060-38.1%
Never Made Majors:1,726-61.9%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 442
10+ Seasons in the Minors:265

Willie Wilkerson, Home State - 29

Willie Wilkerson returned to the field in 1995 and he did so for a team in his home state.

Wilkerson played 13 games for the independent Mobile Baysharks that year. He went 11 for 32.

He went on to play for another independent team that year - five seasons after his initial campaign as a pro. Those two seasons proved to be the extent of his career.

Wilkerson's pro career began in 1990, signed by the Mariners as an undrafted free agent out of Jefferson Davis Community College.

Before attending college, Wilkerson hit two home runs in the high school state playoffs. At Jefferson Davis, Wilkerson earned All-American honors.

Wilkerson played his one season with the Mariners at short-season Bellingham. He got into 47 games and played mostly at second base. He hit .243, with 10 RBI and five stolen bases.

He didn't return for a second season with the Mariners. Instead, he returned for 1995.

He played briefly for Mobile and played out the year at independent Tennessee in the Big South League. He hit .305 at Tennessee, with four home runs and 26 RBI to end his career.

1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,785
Made the Majors:1,060-38.1%
Never Made Majors:1,725-61.9%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 442
10+ Seasons in the Minors:265

Ed Nottle, Lifetime Busher - 1

Read the August 2011 interview: Ed Nottle, Stayed in Baseball

Originally published Dec. 22, 2010
Speaking to a group of young baseball players in spring 2008, Ed Nottle promoted his new team the Ottawa Rapidz. But he was also promoting the game itself, a game he had played or coached for nearly a half a century.

"Baseball is enthusiasm," Nottle told the children at the baseball clinic, a video of his talk posted on YouTube. "Baseball is love for the game. Baseball is caring about the game."

Nottle has been promoting the game in his own way, now going into his sixth decade. He's done it playing and persevering for years in the bush leagues, without playing a game in the majors.

He's done it in since the early 1970s as both a coach and a manager, all but one season in the minors and each year since 1993 in independent leagues. Along the way, Nottle ingratiated himself in with the minor league cities he managed in.

That one season not in the minors was spent as a bullpen coach for the Oakland Athletics in 1983.

He's also done it in other, more unconventional ways. He's earned the title of the "singing manager" for forays into night clubs and singing at charity events and even putting out a record titled "To Baseball With Love."

His story has become so ingrained with the story of baseball and the minor leagues that a production company is shopping a bio-pic on his life: "In a game played by the rules, one man plays by his own," the tagline reads.

Nottle's career in baseball began in 1959, when he was signed by the White Sox out of the Army. He spent nearly two decades pitching in the minors, including one call-up without a pitching appearance.

The last several years he served the dual role as a coach and as a player, including 1974 at single-A Gastonia. His first managing job came in 1978 in the Oakland system, at short-season Bend. Nottle was working with young players. In one late July game, that work didn't show too well. Nottle's Bend team made six errors.

"I hate games like this," Nottle told The Eugene Register-Guard after the game. "You can't learn anything when you're booting the ball."

Nottle moved up to AA Watertown in 1979, then AA West Haven in 1980. He made AAA Tacoma for 1981 and returned in 1982. That year in 1982, Nottle's team went 84-59 and won the Pacific Coast League championship.

His work managing in the minors was getting noticed. The top club considered him for the top job in Oakland, before he became the bullpen coach.

He returned to Tacoma for 1984, jumping to the Red Sox for 1985. He hit AAA Pawtucket in 1986, where he would stay through 1990. In between, he managed in the winter Senior Professional Baseball Association.

He also got consideration again for the top job, in July 1988 with Boston. The job went to Joe Morgan.

"Joe was supposed to be the interim manager but then he went on the winning streak," Nottle recalled later to The Gatehouse News Service. "Joe asked me to be on his staff and I should have taken it."

He was out of the Red Sox system after 1990. He returned in 1993, to independent ball at Sioux City with the Explorers. He stayed with Sioux City through 2000, becoming a fixture with the team. He returned in 2006 and 2007.

"Ed is someone I would call a friend and someone I truly admire for his hard work and dedication to the entire Siouxland community and to the game of baseball," Explorers GM Shane Tritz told upon Nottle's return in 2006.

Between his stints in Sioux City, Nottle managed one season at Duluth, then the other four at Brockton, winning the 2003 Northeast League championship.

Nottle joined Ottawa for 2008, but his stop there was short. A poor performance on the field led to him being let go mid-year. But he stayed on long enough to return to Brockton, another city where Nottle left a popular man. Brockton even honored him with a bobblehead night.

He returned to Brockton again in 2009 and 2010, again on the payroll as a coach.

"I'm a lifetime 'busher,'" Nottle told The Brockton Enterprise upon his return as a visitor in June 2008. "I came close to playing and managing in the big leagues, but I never did. The record doesn't show it, but the way I feel, I spent four years in the big leagues. Those were my four years in Brockton, Mass."

Read the August 2011 interview: Ed Nottle, Stayed in Baseball

Friday, October 20, 2017

Glen Raasch, College Prospect - 23

Glen Raasch's coach at Mt. San Antonio College assessed Raasch's pro chances in 1988 to The Los Angeles Times.

"He's a prospect," Art Mazmanian told The Times. "He has the size, strength and he works hard. He needs some work throwing the ball from behind the plate, but he has a chance."

Raasch took his chance to the pros a year later. He played in five seasons. He briefly made AA, but couldn't take his chance to the bigs.

Raasch's career began in 1989, taken by the Mariners in the 39th round of the draft out of Mt. San Antonio. Raasch's name has also been spelled Glenn Raasch.

At Mt. San Antonio in 1989, Raasch hit .303, with eight home runs and a second-team all-conference selection. He also played the summer of 1988 in Alaska with the Goldpanners.

He started with the Mariners in the rookie Arizona League. He hit .223 in 45 games. He then moved to short-season Bellingham and high-A Peninsula. He hit .177 in 52 games overall.

Raasch saw limited time in 1991 at Peninsula and high-A San Bernardino. He saw 22 games in all and hit .111. He then missed all of 1992.

He returned in 1993 with the Cubs at single-A Peoria and AA Orlando. He saw five games at Orlando and went 3 for 14.

Raasch saw his final pro time in 1994 at Peoria and in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He hit .234 in 27 games to end his career.

Raasch has since gone into baseball instruction with West Coast Baseball School in North Hollywood, Ca..
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,785
Made the Majors:1,060-38.1%
Never Made Majors:1,725-61.9%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 442
10+ Seasons in the Minors:265

Greg Hunter, Enjoyed It - 13

Greg Hunter described his job as director of minor league operations with the Mariners in 2006 to The Seattle Times as moving players, equipment and meeting with the media.

But the best part of his job, he told The Times, involved the players themselves.

"I enjoy watching players develop," Hunter told The Times, "and the more I get to do that, the more I enjoy it."

Hunter developed in the minors himself years earlier. He spent a total of four seasons on the field and developed enough to briefly make AA twice. He never made the majors.

Hunter's playing career began in 1990, taken by the Mariners in the 23rd round of the draft out of Washington State University. He went to Washington State out of Juanita High School in Kirkland, Wash.

Before hitting Juanita High, Hunter and his Kirkland team of Little Leaguers made the 1980 Little League World Series and came in third.

At Washington State, he knocked in 153 runs over his career and scored 189 himself. He also knocked 263 hits, all top-ten all-time at the school.

With the Mariners, Hunter started at short-season Bellingham. He hit .213 over 56 games. He then moved to high-A San Bernardino for 1991. He hit .242 on the year with two home runs.

He hit his second home run of 1991 in August off an old Washington State teammate, The San Bernardino County Sun.

"I was blowing all the way down the first-base line, trying to get that thing out of here," Hunter told The Sun after that game. "He's gotten me out a lot more than I've hit him."

Hunter played at high-A Peninsula and San Bernardino in 1992 and got a brief look at AA Jacksonville. He hit .209 in 14 games at AA. After skipping 1993 and 1994, Hunter returned for six final games in 1995 at AA Hardware City with the Twins.

Hunter soon turned to a new career in baseball. By 1999, he was assistant director of player development with the Mariners. He later became director of minor league administration and director of minor league operations and director of player development.

In October 2008, Hunter talked up the benefits of winter ball in Venezuela to

Venezuela provides "better preparation for the Major Leagues, in the sense there is more of an urgency to win," Hunter told "The whole experience of going down there and playing in front of between 15,000 and 20,000 almost every game is different than anywhere else they can go."

Hunter has since become a scout. In 2012, he relayed a story to Baseball Cards Come to Life! involving himself, former major leaguer Jose Cruz and an autograph seeker.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,784
Made the Majors:1,060-38.1%
Never Made Majors:1,724-61.9%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 442
10+ Seasons in the Minors:265

Jeff Stone, That Job - 10

Originally published Oct. 17, 2012
Pressed into service in this May 1989 game, Jeff Stone delivered.

He delivered for the Rangers with a double, a triple and four runs batted in.

"I found out I was playing after I did about 100 pushups and laps in the outfield," Stone told The Associated Press after the game. "It was kind of strange, but I had a job to do."

Stone was in his seventh season that year of doing at least some of that job in the majors. He would go on to play in one more.

Stone started doing that job back in 1979, signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent out of North Pemiscot High School in Missouri.

Stone played his first games in 1980, at short-season Central Oregon. He hit .261, with 32 stolen bases. The next year, at single-A Spartanburg, Stone started to really show his speed, topping the century mark in stolen bases, swiping 123.

Over his 13-season career, Stone would steal 525 total bases in the minors and 75 in the majors. Years later, Ed Nottle, who managed Stone later in Stone's career, approvingly referenced Stone's speed in an interview with The Greatest 21 Days, saying Stone "ran like a God damn wild man."

Stone made AA Reading in 1983, then Philadelphia that September. He picked up three hits in four at bats. Two of those hits were triples, knocking in three in the Phillies finale.

Stone came back for 51 games with the Phillies in 1984, hitting .362 in 185 at bats. He also stole 27 bases, and even garnered some Rookie of the Year votes.

Going into 1985, Stone had himself a starting job, The AP wrote. The team also saw Stone as on his way up.

Stone "has a chance to be a tremendous offensive player," Phillies manager John Felske told The AP. "And we expect him to get better and better. Defensively, he gets to balls nobody else can."

Stone ended up getting into the most games that season than he would see in any other year. He hit .265 for the Phillies that year in 88 games. He also stole 15. He stayed with the Phillies through 1987, getting into 82 games in 1986, then 66 in 1987.

He then moved to the Orioles for 26 games in 1988, then got into 40 games between the Rangers and Red Sox in 1989. His final major league games came in 1990, 10 appearances with the Red Sox. He then played two more seasons in the minors, without making it back to the bigs.

In late September 1990, Stone used one of his few at bats to help put the Red Sox in first place with a ninth-inning RBI single, The AP wrote.

"This has to be the highlight of my career," Stone told The AP afterward. "I haven't faced live pitching since I've been up for 27 days. I didn't think about the situation, though. I just tried to be aggressive at the plate."

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Rob Callistro, His Faith - 10

The Amazon book synopsis traces Rob Callistro aspirations as a child to play in the major leagues to his time in the pros, but also the end of that career short of the majors.

That end came as Callistro's "whole identity" was wrapped up in the game, the synopsis to "The Reliever" continues. Then came his fall and rebirth.

"He seeks to deal with the disappointment and hurt through alcohol and drugs," the synopsis concludes. "But eventually he finds a greater high than he has ever known when he puts his faith and trust in Jesus Christ."

Callistro played a total of four seasons as a pro. He made it to high-A. He didn't make it to the bigs. He then set out on a path that led him to be a minister.

The subtitle of his book published in 2015 says simply that, "My journey from pitcher to preacher."

Callistro's pro career began in 1989, taken by the Mariners in the 43rd round of the draft out of Concord High School in California.

At Concord, Callistro won county honors. Nicknamed Bulldog, Callistro won all-East Bay in 1988. He also threw a no-hitter and earned team MVP.

With the Mariners, Callistro started in the rookie Arizona League. He went 5-2 there in 1989, with a 2.62 ERA. He made the league all-star team.

He moved to short-season Bellingham for 1990. He went 2-2 over 22 relief outings, with a 5.55 ERA.

Callistro played 1991 with co-op Pocatello. In nine outings, seven starts, he went 0-3 and turned in a 5.92 ERA.

Callistro didn't hit the field again until 1995 at high-A Prince William with the White Sox. He picked up his a loss in an April game. Overall, he went 1-1, with a 4.00 ERA over eight relief outings to end his career.

He then became a preacher, instructor and later an author. In 2016, he was interviewed on a YouTube episode of Outreach Connections.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,783
Made the Majors:1,060-38.1%
Never Made Majors:1,723-61.9%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 442
10+ Seasons in the Minors:265


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