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Monday, October 3, 2022

1990 Quad City Angels, single-A affiliate of the California Angels


Features on each member of the 1990 Quad City Angels, single-A affiliate of the California Angels, as included in that year's team set. 

Quad City Angels (30)

  1. Dave Adams worked to keep them off stride over four pro seasons; Topped out at AA, 9/26/22
  2. Erik Bennett had enough funkiness to make bigs in two seasons, later coach in minors, 9/4/22
  3. Mick Billmeyer spent nine seasons in the minors, made AAA; Then made the bigs as a bullpen catcher, 10/2/22
  4. Roberto Castillo earned praise from manager in 1990 start; Saw three seasons, Mexico, Venezuela, 9/3/22
  5. Chad Curtis played in 10 ML seasons; He then went to prison for criminal sexual conduct related to three teenage girls, 9/9/22
  6. Damion Easley stayed healthy, showed what he could do; Played in 17 ML seasons, 10/1/22
  7. Jeff Gay returned to pros and found new start at single-A Reno; He saw six seasons, made AA, 9/16/22
  8. Joe Georger played, then coached with satisfaction of watching players do well, move up, 9/20/22
  9. Larry Gonzales achieved 'unbelievable feeling' of ML call-up; Saw two games, got a hit, 9/30/22
  10. Les Haffner got his opportunity after broken hand, then turned pro; Saw three seasons, made high-A, 9/13/22
  11. Rick Hirtensteiner did his job over six pro seasons as player, many since as college coach at alma mater, 9/23/22
  12. Mike Hook worked to make most of opportunities; Played seven seasons, made AA, 9/2/22
  13. Robert Horowitz didn't want to be stuck in an office, then found athletic training, 9/3/22
  14. Bobby Jones turned around single-A slump with Joe Maddon's help; Saw four seasons, made AA, 9/15/22
  15. Corey Kapano took late draft selection to 12-season career; Made AAA, Taiwan, missed bigs, 9/14/22
  16. Steve King worked for the Department of Defense, then resumed playing career in minors; Made AA, 9/24/22
  17. Don Long played, but he liked teaching the game more; Later became ML coach for three teams, 9/10/22
  18. John Marchese proved versatile in college; Saw three pro seasons as reliever, made single-A, 9/8/22
  19. Justin Martin liked relieving, showed what he could do; Saw four seasons, made single-A, 10/1/22
  20. Fili Martinez finished a college shutout; Later hoped to finish by making bigs, never made it, 10/2/22
  21. Ray Martinez played over two decades in U.S., Mexico, made AAA; Later turned coach, manager, 9/25/22
  22. Marcus Moore played a decade, made bigs in three seasons; Third came after serious allegations, 9/18/22
  23. Dave Neal pitched well in single-A loss; Saw four seasons then had elbow surgery, 9/7/22
  24. Ronnie Ortegon had brief pro career, then turned to coaching and instruction, wrote hitting book, 9/11/22
  25. Edgar Rodriguez signed as outfielder, then tried catching; Saw six seasons, made high-A, 9/5/22
  26. Mitch Seoane played in minors, then managed there with respect from his players, 9/17/22
  27. Chris Threadgill used his speed over three pro seasons; Topped out at single-A, played alongside brother, 10/1/22
  28. Henry Threadgill had brief career, but had career night in August 1990; Made single-A, 9/6/22
  29. Bruce Vegely continued to pitch from college to the pros; Saw four seasons, made high-A, turned HS coach, 9/29/22
  30. Reggie Williams worked to make the most of his big league opportunities; Saw time in four seasons, 9/27/22

    Sunday, October 2, 2022

    Mick Billmeyer spent nine seasons in the minors, made AAA; Then made the bigs as a bullpen catcher


    Mick Billmeyer didn't make the majors the way he'd originally hoped - or played nearly a decade to achieve, The Quad-City Times wrote.

    But, in 1995, he still made it - as as the Angels' bullpen catcher.

    "It's allowed me to live out what I dreamed about for years," Billmeyer told The Times, calling the season one he'd never forget. "I'm in the big leagues. It's a great job."

    Billmeyer soon got used to that role, serving in a major league bullpen for well over a decade with three different clubs, the Angels, Phillies and Tigers.

    Before that, Billmeyer played. His playing career spanned nine seasons. He briefly made AAA.

    Billmeyer's career in baseball began in 1985, taken by the Orioles in the second round of the June secondary draft. Billmeyer was also credited as Mickey Billmeyer and by his given name, Michael Billmeyer.

    He started with the Orioles at rookie Bluefield. He hit .321 in 27 games. He then made single-A Hagerstown for 1986, and then stayed at single-A over four more seasons.

    Billmeyer moved to the Rangers system for 1987, 1988 and 1989, then the Angels at single-A Quad City for 1990.

    He saw 76 total games in 1991 between high-A Palm Springs and AA Midland. That May, Billmeyer had his second of two brushes with major league pitching, catching Fernando Valenzuela in a rehab game. He'd earlier caught Nolan Ryan in a spring 1989 game.

    "This is great, something you'll always remember," Billmeyer told The Los Angeles Daily News after catching Valenzuela. "I can tell my son about it."

    Billmeyer made his one brief appearance at AAA in 1992, nine games at AAA Edmonton. He went six for 25. Billmeyer then rounded out his career in 1993, with independent Rochester.

    By 1994, he'd started his new career as a bullpen catcher with the Angels. He stayed in that role through at least 1996. He moved to the Phillies in 2000 as minor league catching coordinator and moved up to bullpen catcher in 2004 and then to the Tigers in 2014. He's last credited with the Tigers in 2017.

    In 2008, The Allentown Morning Call featured Billmeyer and his style of encouraging words and a positive attitude. Humor, too.

    "You could be having your worst day or your best day and he treats us the same," pitcher Mike Zagurski told The Morning Call of Billmeyer. "He's always in a good mood."

    1990 Minor League Tally 
    Players/Coaches Featured:4,041
    Made the Majors:1,342-33.2%
    Never Made Majors:2,699-66.8%-X
    5+ Seasons in the Majors:547
    10+ Seasons in the Minors:333

    Fili Martinez finished a college shutout; Later hoped to finish by making bigs, never made it


    Originally published March 1, 2020
    Cal State Northridge's Fili Martinez picked up a loss in his previous outing against the club, but, in this April 1988 contest, Martinez did his best to ensure the win, according to The Los Angeles Times.

    He did so by throwing a four-hit shutout, The Times wrote.

    "I was getting a little tired in the last inning again today," Martinez told The Times afterward. "But there was no way I was not going to finish."

    By the time Martinez fished his collegiate career, he was off to the pros. He then continued as long as he could there, including extending his career in Mexico, as he attempted to make the majors, but he never made the bigs.

    Martinez' career began that year in 1989, taken by the Angels in the ninth round out of Cal State Northridge.

    Martinez threw another complete game, a five-hitter, for Northridge in March 1989, against USC. USC Mike Gillespie later praised Martinez' ability to fool batters, according to The Times.

    "He forever managed to be inside the skulls of our hitters and kept them from knowing what was coming next," Gillespie told The Times. "We've seen a lot of good pitchers this year and he's as good as there is."

    Martinez started with the Angels at short-season Bend. He saw 12 starts there and ended with a 6-4 record and a 4.52 ERA.

    Martinez moved to single-A Quad City for 1990. He went 12-7 over 26 starts, with a 2.57 ERA. He also struck out 195 and made the league all-star team.

    For 1991, he saw five starts at high-A Palm Springs and 15 at AA Midland. He went 6-6 overall, with a 5.27 ERA. He threw a no-hitter in May with Palm Springs.

    Arm problems, though, led to Martinez' release in 1992. He then landed in Mexico, where he worked  to extend his career. He played four seasons there, getting a four-game look with the Dodgers at AAA Albuquerque in 1993.

    He also later saw eight appearances with independent Palm Springs in 1996 to end his career.

    In August 1996, as he played for Saltillo in Mexico, Martinez told The Times why he continued to pitch despite constant pain in his throwing shoulder.

    "I want to be able to look in the mirror and say, 'You know what? I gave it my best shot. And I was not able to reach the level I wanted to reach because I’m just not good enough,' " Martinez told The Times. "That’s what I want to be able to say. I just wasn't good enough."

    1990 Minor League Tally 
    Players/Coaches Featured:4,040
    Made the Majors:1,342-33.2%
    Never Made Majors:2,698-66.8%
    5+ Seasons in the Majors:547
    10+ Seasons in the Minors:333

    Saturday, October 1, 2022

    Justin Martin liked relieving, showed what he could do; Saw four seasons, made single-A

    Justin Martin wasn't used to relieving, but he warmed up to it over his first professional season in 1988, his hometown Salem Statesman Journal wrote.

    In fact, he enjoyed it, Martin told The Statesman Journal.

    "I get more opportunities to show what I can do," Martin told The Statesman Journal. "And I've been getting a lot more innings lately."

    Martin ended up showing what he could do over four professional seasons. He topped out at single-A.

    Martin's career began that year in 1988, signed by the Angels after being taken in the 35th round of the draft out of Salem's McKay High School the previous year.

    After being drafted, Martin recalled to The Statesman Journal being unsure early on if he'd garnered enough interest to be taken.

    "Early in the season I was thinking about being drafted," Martin told The Statesman Journal. "But I got worried because at one game there were two scouts with radar guns, and they left after two innings. I said, 'There goes my chance.'"

    Martin, however, didn't sign until right before the 1988 draft. He played that year at short-season Bend. He went 6-1 over 31 relief appearances, with a 4.22 ERA.

    He played 1989 between Bend, single-A Quad City and the rookie Arizona League. He went 2-12 over 23 outings, 18 starts overall, with a 6.73 ERA.

    He returned to Quad City for an abbreviated 1990, eight relief appearances. Ligament damage in his throwing elbow cut short that season. But he returned for 1991.

    "It's nice just to be able to go out and pitch again," Martin told The Quad-City Times in May 1991. "I don't have to worry about things and I'm feeling comfortable on the mound again."

    Martin saw 27 outings, 18 starts. He went 8-9, with a 3.89 ERA. That season proved his last as a pro.

    Martin went on to get his Masters in public administration from Harvard, after getting his bachelors from Western Oregon University. In 2022, he heads Perseverance Strategies, a government relations firm in Salem.

    1990 Minor League Tally 
    Players/Coaches Featured:4,040
    Made the Majors:1,342-33.2%
    Never Made Majors:2,698-66.8%-X
    5+ Seasons in the Majors:547
    10+ Seasons in the Minors:333

    Chris Threadgill used his speed over three pro seasons; Topped out at single-A, played alongside brother


    The Quad City Angels readied for the 1988 season and The Quad-City Times noted the team's speed, including newcomer Chris Threadgill.

    "That's the type of team you've got to have in this league," Quad City manager Eddie Rodriguez told The Times. "I believe that you've got to put some pressure on the defense, force them to make some mistakes. We're definitely going to be looking to manufacture some runs."

    Threadgill worked to manufacture runs over the three seasons. Those seasons marked the extent of his pro career. He topped out at single-A.

    Threadgill's career began in 1988, taken by the Angels the previous year in the third round of the draft out of Whiteville High School in North Carolina.

    In Whiteville, Threadgill also played for the local American Legion post, along with his brother Henry Threadgill

    In August 1985, Chris Threadgill tripled and hit a fielder's choice to score the winning run in the state championship game. In 1986, he hit .375 by the end of July.

    That August in 1986, The Rocky Mount Telegram described the Rocky Mount team hitting the ball hard in one game, but "either it went directly to a player or speedy Chris Threadgill ran it down in the outfield."

    With the Angels, Threadgill played his first season in 1988 between Quad City and short-season Bend. He saw 97 games and stole 18 total bases. He hit .222.

    He moved to single-A Palm Springs for 1989. He saw 62 games there, but hit .159.

    For 1990, he returned to Quad City. He also got to play alongside his brother Henry Threadgill, also with the Angels. 

    That April, Henry Threadgill spoke to The Moline Dispatch about playing with his brother Chris.

    "Brother or friend, when you have a bad day it's nice to have someone who knows you," Henry Threadgill told The Dispatch. "I have that in my brother and you have it in someone you've played the game with before."

    Chris Threadgill, however, saw 44 games. He hit .167 and was released at the end of June, ending his career.

    1990 Minor League Tally 
    Players/Coaches Featured:4,039
    Made the Majors:1,342-33.2%
    Never Made Majors:2,697-66.8%-X
    5+ Seasons in the Majors:547
    10+ Seasons in the Minors:333

    Damion Easley stayed healthy, showed what he could do; Played in 17 ML seasons


    Originally published Feb. 15, 2020

    In the midst of his seventh major league season in 1998, Damion Easley had himself a breakout year. He hit .271, with 27 home runs and 100 RBI and made the All-Star team.

    That June, teammates talked him up to Bloomberg News Service, noting prior injuries had held him back.

    "People close to baseball have always known what he's capable of," teammate Brian Hunter told Bloomberg News. "He's just always had injuries. You get a man on third base with less than two outs, he's in guaranteed. Damion's that kind of player. He's clutch."

    Easley went on to play in a total of 17 major league campaigns for six different organizations. Through all that time, though, Easley never saw the postseason.

    Easley's career began in 1988, taken by the Angels in the 30th round of the draft out of Long Beach City College.

    Easley hit the field for the Angels in 1989, at short-season Bend. He then moved to single-A Quad City for 1990 and AA Midland for 1991.

    Easley then debuted in Anaheim in August 1992. He saw 47 games and hit .258. The 1993 season came with the prospect of changing positions, The Los Angeles Times wrote. Easley readily accepted.

    "I’m just trying to progress as far as I can," Easley told The Times. "You never stop learning in this game. Hopefully, I'll progress to the level that everybody dreams of."

    Easley stayed with the Angels into the 1996 campaign, seeing time at second, third and shortstop. He saw a high of 114 games played in 1995, a year he hit .288.

    He moved to the Tigers in mid-1996 and stayed with the club through 2002. He also showed his durability. He got into at least 150 games in four of his first five full seasons in Detroit and and saw 126 in the other.

    Easley played with Tampa Bay in 2003 and Florida in 2004 and 2005. He then finished out his career with a season in Arizona in 2006 and two with the Mets, in 2007 and 2008.

    As the 2008 season came to a close, and his Mets just missed out on a playoff spot, Easley spoke to The New York Times about his lack of postseason experience. He then led the list of active players who hadn't seen the playoffs.

    "It’s always in the back of my mind," Easley told The NY Times. "I am not playing for the career numbers, I am playing because I love to play the game, I love to compete and I want to get into the postseason and appreciate that journey."

    Easley has since moved into coaching. By 2012, he was with the Padres. He served as a coach and rehab hitting coach with the club in Arizona. For 2019, he moved up to San Diego as an assistant hitting coach and infield coach.

    1990 Minor League Tally 
    Players/Coaches Featured:4,038
    Made the Majors:1,342-33.2%
    Never Made Majors:2,696-66.8%
    5+ Seasons in the Majors:547
    10+ Seasons in the Minors:333

    Friday, September 30, 2022

    Larry Gonzales achieved 'unbelievable feeling' of ML call-up; Saw two games, got a hit


    Into his sixth pro season, Larry Gonzales got his big league chance in June 1993. A catcher went down on the major league roster, and he got the call from AAA Vancouver, The Pasadena Star-News wrote.

    "It's a great feeling, an unbelievable feeling," Gonzales told The Star-News of his call-up. "I can't describe it. It's what I've worked for my entire life."

    For Gonzales, however, that feeling would prove brief - but at least he got to feel it. He debuted June 13 and played his final game - his second in the bigs - four days later. He got to the plate three times and picked up a single hit. 

    Gonzales' career began in 1988, taken by the Angels in the 22nd round of the draft out of the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

    Gonzales started with the Angels at single-A Palm Springs. He hit .200 in 35 games. He then moved to single-A Quad City for 1989. He hit .195 in 69 games there.

    Gonzales returned to Quad City for 1990 and improved his average all the way to .307 in 99 games, enough to see AA Midland in  1991. 

    At Midland, he got into 78 games and hit .319. He also saw two games at AAA Edmonton. At Midland that August, Gonzales hit a three-run home run and knocked in six runs over a double-header, The El Paso Times wrote.

    "I was just trying to do the same thing I always do," Gonzales told The Times after that game. "That's to hit something hard. Today, I just did it a little better."

    Gonzales made Edmonton for all of 1992 and hit .328 over 80 games. He then started 1993 at AAA Vancouver. That June, me made Anaheim.

    The catcher's debut came June 13 as a late defensive replacement. He didn't get to bat - he was on deck when the final out came. He described the experience to The Star-News.

    "The first couple of pitches I was a little nervous," Gonzales told The Star-News. "Then I settled down a little bit."

    Gonzales then got into the June 17 game in the fifth inning. He promptly singled in a run in the bottom of the fifth, his first time to the plate. He then rounded out the game with a walk and a groundout. That game concluded his big league career.

    Gonzales then returned to the minors. He saw one more season, 1994. He saw 25 games between Midland and the rookie Arizona League to end his career.

    1990 Minor League Tally 
    Players/Coaches Featured:4,038
    Made the Majors:1,342-33.2%-X
    Never Made Majors:2,696-66.8%
    5+ Seasons in the Majors:547
    10+ Seasons in the Minors:333