Monday, December 18, 2017

Jim Gibbs, Like This - 30

Originally published April 28, 2016
Jim Gibbs got the save in this June 1990 game and he worked for it, according to The Eugene Register Guard.

The Bend Bandit went the final three innings of the 6-3 Bend win, striking out seven, The Register-Guard wrote.

"They were a little frustrated I think," Gibbs told The Register-Guard afterward. "I'll have days like this and they'll have days like this, but I'm not better than anyone else."

Gibbs had that day in his second season as a pro. His days in pro ball, however, turned out to be numbered. He finished out that season and briefly played the next, marking the extent of his career.

Gibbs' career began in 1989, taken by the Athletics in the 38th round of the draft out of San Diego State University.

At San Diego State, Gibbs gave up a three-run home run in a March 1988 game. In April 1989, he helped his team to a seven-inning no-hitter. He came on in relief after two batters and finished out the game.

Gibbs started with the Athletics at short-season Southern Oregon. In 12 relief outings, he picked up a loss and a save and had a 5.40 ERA. He recorded a strikeout in a July game to hold a lead. Hethen had arm surgery.

He moved to short-season Bend and then single-A Madison in 1990. In 11 innings at Bend, he didn't give up a run and recorded two saves. He also drew praise from his manager Mike Bubalo after he recorded his second save of the year in that same June 1990 game, according to The Bend Bulletin.

"He has a good fastball that really moves," Bubalo told The Bulletin afterward.

At Madison, he got into 18 games in relief and had a 4.05 ERA. He also saved seven.

Gibbs moved to the Brewers system and single-A Beloit for 1991, but his stay was short-lived. He got into just two games, ending his career.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,851
Made the Majors:1,071-37.6%
Never Made Majors:1,780-62.4%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 444
10+ Seasons in the Minors:267

Rod Beck, Closer Mentality - 2

Originally published April 3, 2016
Giants closer Rod Beck got into trouble in this September 1992 game, as in bases loaded trouble, but Beck got himself out of it, according to The Associated Press.

With one out, and the tying run on first, Beck struck out the next two batters for his 14th save on the year

"Even when the bases get loaded, nothing seems to bother Rod Beck," manager Roger Craig told The AP after that game. "It doesn't seem to matter."

Beck was just getting started. He went on to become one of the game's top closers. He saved 48 games the next year and later a career high 51 in 1998.

By the time Beck was done, he'd seen time in 13 major league seasons, made three All-Star games and saved 286 big league contests.

Beck's career began in 1986, taken by the Athletics in the 13th round of the draft out of Grant High School in Van Nuys, Ca.

Beck started at short-season Medford. He made single-A Clinton in 1988, then AA Shreveport in 1989. He played 1990 between Shreveport and AAA Phoenix. The future major league closer actually pitched that early career largely as a starter.

In 1991, back at Phoenix, Beck made the transition to reliever. In 23 outings, five starts, he went 4-3 and picked up six saves. He also debuted with the Giants in May, getting 31 relief outings and a 3.78 ERA.

Beck then returned to the Giants for all of 1992, turning in a sterling 1.76 ERA over 65 outings while notching 17 saves. He then saved 48 in 1993, earning his first All-Star selection.

From 1993 to 1998, Beck saved at least 28 games each year. He remained the Giants closer through 1997, getting to the All-Star game twice more, in 1994 and 1997.

He moved to the Cubs for 1998, helping the club to the wild card, saving 51 games. He told The AP the next spring he looked for save percentage, not necessarily the number of saves, in judging success.

"What I start out every year in spring training is to get the best percentage of saves I can with the opportunities I'm given," Beck told The AP. "Other than that, the rest of it is out of my control."

Beck's career then went on a decline. He saved just 10 games in 1999, playing between the Cubs and the Red Sox. He got into 34 games for the Red Sox in 2000, then came back for 68 in 2001. He saved six games that year.

He missed 2002 to elbow surgery, then returned with the Padres in 2003, serving as a fill-in for Trevor Hoffman. He ended up saving 20 games for San Diego that year, with a 1.78 ERA over 36 outings. He returned for a final 10 outings in 2004

Beck also became a fan favorite, driving an RV around during his year off and then to AAA Iowa after he signed with the Cubs. He got into 21 games there, hanging out with fans after games.

"A guy like him comes around once in a lifetime," Padres reliever Kevin Walker told The AP of Beck in February 2004. "He's an awesome guy. He's very nice. And he's got a closer mentality, which is no fear. Before the game, during the game, he's all fun, but when it's time for him to get ready, he's serious."

Beck pitched his final games in 2004. Towards the end of his career, Beck fought drug addiction. An October 2007 ESPN article describes the last years of his life and his losing addiction battle. He passed away in June 2007 at the age of 38.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Gary Ross, In There - 26

Bend starter Gary Ross explained his strategy on the mound to The Bend Bulletin in June 1990.

His strategy included challenging the hitters, rather than striking them out, he told The Bulletin after he went seven and gave up three earned in his first start of the year.

"I just try to get ground balls," Ross told The Bulletin. "I just lay it in there and try to make them hit it on the ground."

Ross ended up laying it in there over three pro seasons. He made single-A, but he didn't make it higher.

Ross' career began in 1989, taken by the Athletics in the 50th round of the draft out of Grossmont College in California.

He graduated high school from San Dieguito High in Encinitas. He threw a two-hitter there in an April 1987 game, according to The Los Angeles Times. The Times also noted that Ross is the son of former major leaguer Gary Ross.

At Grossmont, Ross picked up a February 1988 win as he went eight innings and gave up three earned.

The younger Ross started with the Athletics in the rookie Arizona League. He got into three games, starting two. He gave up five earned in five innings of work.

He then moved to co-op, short-season Bend in 1990. He went 5-7 there, with a 5.61 ERA. He then played 1991 at single-A Madison. He got into 10 games, all in relief. He gave up 24 earned runs in just 15.1 innings of work to end his career.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,851
Made the Majors:1,071-37.6%
Never Made Majors:1,780-62.4%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 444
10+ Seasons in the Minors:267

1990 Yakima Bears

Features on each member of the 1990 Yakima Bears, short-season affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Yakima Bears (37)
1 - Tony Arnold, Lucky Enough, 11/19/17
2 - Pedro Astacio, Eyes Opened, 11/19/17
3 - Garrett Beard, Great Experience, 11/22/17
4 - Craig Bishop, Finished Out, 12/12/17
5 - Eric Blackwell, Big Smile, 12/5/17
6 - Helms Bohringer, Work Ethic, 11/21/17
7 - Paul Branconier, His Cool, 11/28/17
8 - Jeff Brummer, Moved On, 11/17/17
9 - Ken Burroughs, Turned Two, 11/23/17
10 - Juan Bustabad, Moved On, 12/1/17
11 - Jorge Cantres, Five Outs, 11/25/17
12 - Daniel Cardinas, Bright Spot, 11/18/17
13 - Javier De La Hoya, Tough Going, 11/26/17
14 - Scott Doffek, All Climates, 12/2/17
15 - Scott Faurot, Outside Pitch, 11/22/17
16 - Steve Ford, Dodger Way, 11/16/17
17 - Yale Fowler, Towering Shot, 12/11/17
18 - Scott Freeman, Staff Lead, 11/20/17
19 - Mike Galle, No Idea, 12/16/17
20 - Joe Kelly, Versatile Pitcher, 12/9/17
21 - Billy Lott, Stacked Team, 12/16/17
22 - Erik Madsen, More Control, 11/20/17
23 - Steve Mintz, The Job, 11/25/17
24 - Eric Moen, His Future, 11/23/17
25 - Ben O'Connor, Strike Zone, 12/10/17
26 - Kurt Olson, Rejuvenated Team, 12/13/17
27 - Hector Ortiz, Every Opportunity, 12/3/17
28 - Tim Patrick, Rough Start, 11/26/17
29 - Jose Perez, Lead Off, 11/24/17
30 - Pedro Perez, Ninth Inning, 12/7/17
31 - Rafael Rijo, Play Ball, 12/15/17
32 - Jerry Royster, Good Baseball, 11/18/17
33 - Mike Sampson, Final Out, 12/4/17
34 - Sean Sena, Home Run, 11/21/17
35 - Fausto Tatis, Comeback Stopped, 12/13/17
36 - Nolberto Troncoso, Two Runs, 12/6/17
37 - Craig White, College Honors, 11/24/17

Bill Evers, Worked For - 25

Originally published March 27, 2016
Yankees AA manager Bill Evers didn't believe this young Bronx prospect needed to be rushed, Evers told The Schenectady Daily Gazette in July 1994.

The prospect, one Derek Jeter, needed to get his feet wet at AA before the club considered a major league call up, Evers told The Daily Gazette.

"He's adjusting to how pitchers are pitching him," Evers told The Daily Gazette the year before Jeter would make his big league debut. "He's got a pretty good approach at the plate. He's a big reason why we've been winning."

Evers watched over Jeter at AA Albany-Colonie in 1994 a decade into his post-playing career as a minor coordinator and manager. He's gone on to a long career since, including making the majors as a coach and briefly standing in as manager.

He's had his long post-playing career after a playing career that lasted four seasons. He made AAA, but never made the majors.

Evers began in baseball in 1976, taken by the Cubs in the sixth round of the June secondary phase draft. Evers is also sometimes credited as Billy Evers.

Evers started with the Cubs in the rookie Gulf Coast League, moving to single-A Pompano Beach for 1977. He hit .245 at Pompano Beach that year, with five home runs. He hit a three-run shot in one April game and another home run in a late-April win.

He returned to Pompano Beach for 1978, getting time at AA Midland and AAA Wichita that year. He then rounded out his playing career with brief stints back at Midland and Wichita for 1979.

Soon after, Evers started his coaching career, serving as minor league catching coordinator for the Cubs in 1980 and then with the Yankees through 1985. His first coaching position came in 1986 with the Giants at single-A Clinton, managing the club the next year.

He managed at AA Shreveport from 1989 to 1991, then AAA Phoenix in 1992. He jumped back to the Yankees system in 1993 at single-A Greensboro, then to the Tampa Bay system in 1996 in the rookie Gulf Coast League.

Evers made AAA Durham as manager in 1998, helming the team to the 2002 league title. In September 2003, Evers spoke to The St. Petersburg Times about his own career in the minors and wait for the bigs.

"For me, there's disappointment at times. Just like there is for a player," Evers told The Times. "I tell them that all the time. There are lots of disappointments in this game, times when you get smacked in the face and have to rebound. You have to stand up and work hard and good things will happen."

Evers stayed with Durham through 2005. Then, for 2006, he made Tampa Bay himself as bench coach. In May 2006, he briefly filled in for Joe Maddon as manager.

"This is what you work for; to be in the Major Leagues," Evers told then, "and the magnification of how important the game is not only to you, but to all the other people involved, the amount of media and scrutiny you're under, it's going to be a lot of fun."

Evers returned as bench coach in 2007 then is recorded as serving as a scout in 2008, then as minor league field coordinator in 2010 and 2011. His son Billy Evers had a brief minor league career of his own.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Billy Lott, Stacked Team - 18

Mike Piazza recounted his minor league career and his third pro season, his season at high-A Bakersfield, stuck out for the quality of his teammates, he wrote in his book "Long Shot."

He mentioned some obvious high-profile teammates - and one not-so-obvious, Billy Lott.

"We had a stacked team that year," Piazza wrote. "Billy Lott was on it, but most of the hype was over Raul Mondesi and Pedro Martinez."

While Piazza, Mondesi and Martinez went on to long careers in the majors - Piazza and Martinez to the Hall of Fame - Lott's career went a different path. Lott played nine pro seasons. He never made the majors.

Lott's career began in 1989, taken by the Dodgers in the second round of the draft out of Petal High School in Mississippi.

Lott came from a pro sports background, his father Billy Lott played in the AFL for the Giants, Raiders and Patriots.

With the Dodgers, Lott started in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He made short-season Yakima and high-A Bakersfield in 1990. The outfielder hit .249 on the year.

He returned to Bakersfield for all of 1991. He threw out a runner in an April game and also walked and scored. He hit .223.

Lott made high-A Vero Beach for 1993 and AA San Antonio in 1993. He picked up three hits in a July game for San Antonio.

Lott returned to San Antonio for 1994. He singled and scored in a May game and knocked an RBI double and single in another game that month.

Lott hit AAA in 1995 at Albuquerque and again in 1996, but he didn't see Los Angeles. He then played one more season at AAA with the Pirates and Expos to end his career short of the bigs.
  • Long Shot, Mike Piazza, 2014: Page 74
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,850
Made the Majors:1,071-37.6%
Never Made Majors:1,779-62.4%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 444
10+ Seasons in the Minors:267

Mike Galle, No Idea - 26

Purdue hitters Mike Galle and Tom Kitchel had a field day against Evansville Ace Andy Benes in 1988, Kitchel recalled years later to Purdue Sports.

Galle and Kitchel each hit two home runs, Kitchel recalled, off the Evansville hurler who, weeks later, would be taken No. 1 overall in the draft.

"Coach Alexander to this day still chuckles about the postgame interviews Mike and I did with the media," Kitchel recalled to Purdue Sports. "We had no idea Benes was so highly regarded, so when asked about the game we both just kind of shrugged it off as no big deal in our 'country bumpkin way.'"

While Benes went on to be a top pick and make the bigs, Galle and Kitchel didn't fare as well. Kitchel never turned pro. Galle made the pros in 1989. He only stayed two seasons.

Galle was taken by the Dodgers in the 21st round of the 1989 draft out of Purdue.

For Purdue, Galley won the school's Mackey Award in 1988 for student-athletes. He also won team MVP and All-Big Ten in 1988 and 1989. He hit .379 in 1989, knocked in 59 in 1988 and 53 in 1989.

Galle started on the field with the Dodgers in 1990 at short-season Yakima and high-A Vero Beach. He got into 65 games at Yakima and nine at Vero Beach. He hit .298 overall, with four home runs and 46 RBI.

Galle returned for 1991 at high-A Bakersfield. But his season ended up brief. He played in just three games, when 3 for 10, with 3 RBI. Those three games marked the end of his career.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,849
Made the Majors:1,071-37.6%
Never Made Majors:1,778-62.4%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 444
10+ Seasons in the Minors:267


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