Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Bobby Cuellar, What Happens - 26

Originally published Dec. 23, 2014
Expos pitching coach Bobby Cuellar had a couple new young arms to work with in 1998 and he explained his approach to The South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

"We allow them a chance to fail,'' Cuellar told The Sun-Sentinel, "and that's how we find out what they can do. We give them the ball and let them pitch. Then, we teach them and work with them and see what happens."

Cuellar's students this time were Carl Pavano and Marc Valdes. Cuellar had already been credited with helping Pedro Martinez become the pitcher he became.

Later, after joining the Twins system, Cuellar was credited with giving Johan Santana the final piece he needed to dominate, the changeup.

Cuellar's long career in baseball began as a player. He was taken by the Rangers in the 29th round of the draft out of the University of Texas at Austin.

Cueller the pitcher made AA San Antonio in 1976, then AAA Tucson in 1977. That September, Cuellar made Texas. He got into four games, gave up one earned over 6.2 innings pitched. It was his only time in the majors.

Cuellar continued to pitch in the minors through 1981. By 1983, he was a coach, serving at single-A Bakersfield. In 1986, he was managing at single-A Wausau.

He moved to AA Williamsport as pitching coach in 1989. He made AAA Calgary in 1994. Then, in 1995, Cuellar was in the majors as pitching coach for the Mariners.

In 1996, Cuellar and the Mariners benefited from a resurgent Bob Wells.

"The man came to spring training in great shape and ready to pitch," Cuellar told The Associated Press. "You can't ask for anything more than what he's done for us."

Cuellar spent two seasons as Mariners pitching coach. He then moved to the Expos, staying there as pitching coach for four seasons.

In 2002, Cuellar was serving as pitching coach at AAA Edmonton, coaching a young Johan Santana. With Cuellar's help, Santana went on to win two Cy Youngs.

"I told him to throw a changeup and to keep throwing it," Cuellar said in 2008, according to the Hartford Courant. "Next thing I know, he's in the big leagues and he wins the Cy Young. Next thing I know, he's telling everybody how much I helped him."

Cueller returned to the majors for two seasons with the Pirates in 2006 and 2007 as bullpen coach. He then served as Twins bullpen coach for 2013 and 2014.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Chip Duncan, Every Minute - 4

Chip Duncan spent a decade in the pros. He made AAA, played in Mexico and even had a stint in Taiwan. He never made the majors, but he still had a good time along the way, he told The Fort Myers News-Press years later.

"I enjoyed every minute of it," Duncan told The News-Press in 2004. "You get close, you think you're a phone call away. I was a few times, but you're not hot at the right time. It's all about a matter of timing and luck, and a little bit of talent mixed in there."

Duncan started his career in 1987, taken by the Pirates in the 12th round of the draft out of Columbus State University in Georgia.

Duncan began with the Pirates at short-season Watertown. He went 4-2 over 24 relief outings. He started the year with 22 strikeouts in 17 innings of work, while saving four.

He moved to single-A Salem for 1988 and stayed there for three seasons. He went 8-10 his first year there as a starter and 6-4 as a reliever there his last.

Duncan started 1991 at AA Carolina with the Pirates then moved to the Royals and AA Memphis. He returned to Memphis in 1992. He pitched in 33 mostly relief games, with a 4.66 ERA.

He soon moved to Taiwan that year and the next, then returned to the Phillies and AA Reading in 1994. He first saw AAA in 1995 with the Ranges and Brewers.

He last played in the minors in 1997 with the Twins at AAA Salt Lake and finished up his career with another stint in Taiwan.

Duncan has since returned to Fort Myers. In 2009, he was named head baseball coach at South Fort Myers High School.

"It will be fun. I'm excited," Duncan told The Naples Daily News that August. "I really enjoy working with the high school kids. You see results a little faster."
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,910
Made the Majors:1,084-37.3%
Never Made Majors:1,826-62.7%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 450
10+ Seasons in the Minors:270

Rich Morales, Full Potential - 25

Originally published Dec. 25, 2014
Others said Rich Morales couldn't play everyday. But Morales knew he just hadn't got the chance, he told The Associated Press.

This was May 1972 and Morales was in the midst of a season in which he would see time in 110 games for the White Sox.

"I've always had confidence in my ability," Morales told The AP. "But other people have been hesitant to use me. Sometimes it's hard to shed the labels."

Morales ultimately played in eight major league seasons. He then went on to a long career as a coach, helping to make sure others made it to their full potential.

Morales' career in baseball began in 1963, signed by the White Sox as an amateur free agent out of the College of San Mateo.

Morales started at single-A Clinton. He hit AA Lynchburg in 1965 and AAA Indianapolis in 1967. That August in 1967, Morales also debuted in Chicago.

He got into eight games for the White Sox that year and 10 the next. He got into 55 games in 1969. In 1971, it was 84. He hit .243 that year.

Then, in 1972, he had his career year. In 110 games, he got 287 at bats. He hit .206. He moved to the Padres in 1973, getting into 97 games that year.

His final major league season came in 1974, with 54 games with San Diego and a .197 average.

By 1979, Morales was a manager in the minors, helming short-season Medford. Early that July, Morales was still trying to figure out what kind of club he had as his team won its third straight, according to The Eugene Register-Guard.

"We've played our best baseball of the season against them," Morales told The Register-Guard of Eugene. "I thought the difference has been beating them on their home field the first night. It gave us a lot of confidence - more than we've had all season - and we've played like it the past two nights."

Morales stayed managing in the minors through 1982. He then became a scout for the White Sox. In 1986, Morales served as a bullpen coach for the Braves.

In 1988, he was back in the minors as a manager at AA Vermont, then AAA Calgary in 1989. In 1990, he was at AA Williamsport watching over future major leaguer Rich DeLucia.

"He has quick feet and he knows what he's doing out there," Morales told The Reading Eagle of DeLucia that July. "He's definitely the best fielding relief pitcher in the Eastern League."

By 1994, he was hitting coach at rookie Ogden. He continued as a hitting coach at various places nearly straight through 2005. He's most recently recorded as a scout for the Orioles.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Keith Raisanen, Every Moment - 17

Keith Raisanen made it into his fourth professional season at high-A Salem. Then he took a fastball to his hand, The Anniston Star wrote years later.

Doctors tried to repair the nerve damage, The Star wrote, but it didn't work. Raisanen never hit again.

"I just enjoyed every moment of it," Raisanen told The Star in 2014. "I loved it. It just killed me that I couldn't play anymore."

Raisanen started his career in 1987, taken by the Pirates in the 25th round of the draft out of Birmingham-Southern College.

He started with the Pirates at short-season Watertown. He hit .217 in 41 games. He then moved to single-A Salem and Augusta for 1988. He hit .224 between them with six home runs.

Raisanen started to gain some traction in 1989 back at Augusta. He hit .263 on the season, with 15 home runs and 92 RBI. He even made the league all-star team.

By June 1989, he was hitting .275 and had 10 of his home runs. He also received praise from his manager Stan Cliburn.

"I knew the power was there ... it was just a matter of getting , him playing every day," Cliburn told The Pittsburgh Press that June. "He has a pure swing."

Raisanen then made it back to Salem to start 1990. He got into just 19 games before his hand injury ended his career.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,909
Made the Majors:1,084-37.3%
Never Made Majors:1,825-62.7%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 450
10+ Seasons in the Minors:270

Mark Wooden, Came Through - 24

Originally published Dec. 18, 2014
Mark Wooden was usually a reliever for Lewis-Clark State. When his team needed him, though, he started. And he came through.

With a spot in the 1986 NAIA national title game on the line, Wooden put his team on his back and threw a complete game in the 8-2 Lewis-Clark win.

He gave up 11 hits, but only two runs, no walks and he struck out 11 to eliminate Oklahoma City University, according to The Oklahoman.

Wooden went on from that performance to turn pro. He ultimately played in five seasons, but he never got a chance at such an outing in the majors. He never made it higher than AA.

Wooden's career began that year in 1986, taken by the Mariners in the seventh round out of Lewis-Clark. He went to Lewis-Clark after growing up in Windsor, Ont.

Wooden began with the Mariners as a starter at short-season Bellingham. He went 6-4, with a 3.77 ERA in 14 starts. He had a 14-inning scoreless streak in August, helped by his fifth win.

He split 1987 between single-A Wausau and AA Chattanooga. He also moved exclusively to relieving. In 48 outings on the year, he had a 3.47 ERA. He also saved 22.

Wooden then stayed at AA, playing 1988 at Vermont. He picked up eight wins and 21 saves. He secured his third save on the year by going two innings without giving up a run. He even made the all-star team as a replacement.

His 1989 season was spent at AA Williamsport. His ERA came in at 4.14 and he saved only five games and lost seven. His fifth loss came in a June start, one of four starts he had on the year. He still made another league all-star team.

Wooden returned to Williamsport for 1990, but his stay was brief. He got into just 10 games, posting an ERA of 2.30. It was his final time as a pro.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Ted Williams, Steal Bases - 23

Originally published Jan. 18, 2012
Not that they could really be confused, this Ted Williams explained to The Beaver County Times in spring 1995 the differences between him and the other Ted Williams.

"I'm a different kind of Ted Williams," Williams told The Times that March, "Ted Williams was probably the greatest hitter of all time. Had the greatest vision of any hitter and his record speaks for itself. I'll never be close to being in his class as a hitter. But I do one thing he didn't, and that's steal bases."

In a career that spanned a decade, the base stealer Williams stole a total of 368 bases, including topping 70 in a season twice.

But, while the other Williams focused more on hitting than stealing, the other Williams still stole more in the majors. This Ted Williams never stole a base in the bigs.

Williams' minor league career began in 1986, taken by the Mariners in the 8th round, out of the University of Alabama.

Williams played that first year at short-season Bellingham, hitting .246 and stealing 51 bases. He stole one of those bases in an August game, knocking in one.

Williams moved to single-A Wausau in 1987 then single-A San Bernardino for 1988. He stole 74 bases at Wausau, then followed that with 71 at San Bernardino. In the California League All-Star game that year, though, Williams showed some power, hitting a three-run home run.

Williams made AA Williamsport in 1989, his stolen bases dropping to 37. He got his first look at AAA the next season, with 43 games at Calgary. He didn't get a full year at AAA until 1992, his last in the Mariners system.

After a year with the Tigers at AA and AAA, Williams moved to independent Duluth and Winnipeg for 1994.

For 1995, Williams returned for replacement ball with the Pirates, traded toward the end to the Royals.

"This could be a good opportunity for me," Williams told The Associated Press after the trade. "I appreciate the Pirates giving me a chance."

Williams' career, though, ended that year. He played one game with the Royals at AA Wichita and played out the year at independent Moose Jaw.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Mike Pomeranz, Different Perspective - 16

On a cloudless day in September 2001, New York's CBS2 broke into normal programming for a breaking announcement.

"Good morning, Michael Pomeranz, along with Lisa Hill, some breaking news to report," the announcer Pomeranz tells viewers as the camera shifts from the studio to a live shot of lower Manhattan, "you're looking at a live picture of the World Trade Center. We have just received word that a plane apparently has crashed into the tower, one of the two towers."

With those words, Pomeranz opened his station's coverage of that horrific day, Sept. 11, 2001. He stayed on the air for hours afterward, helping to keep a city informed of the unfolding disaster and terror attack.

Years later, after he moved from news a new career in baseball, as a broadcaster for the San Diego Padres, Pomeranz recalled the events of that day to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

"It gives us all a different perspective in life going forward," Pomeranz told The Union-Tribune on the 13th anniversary of the attacks. "I'm no different than anybody else in that way."

Years earlier, CBS2's morning anchor on Sept. 11, 2001, had gotten his start in baseball - as a player. Pomerantz played four seasons in the minors before an shoulder injury ended his career.

He started his news career by 1994 and he quickly worked his way up to the nation's top media market in New York.

Pomerantz' baseball career started in 1988, taken by the Twins in the 13th round of the draft out of Clemson University.

He started with the Twins at rookie Elizabethton. He went 2-6, with a 5.07 ERA. He moved to single-A Kenosha for 1989, where he went 4-5, with four saves and a 4.54 ERA.

That off-season, Pomerantz returned to his old high school, South Broward in Florida, to serve as a volunteer assistant coach, according to The South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

"A lot of people helped me. It's the least I can do," Pomeranz told The Sun-Sentinel. "I try to teach them something we didn't get when we were in high school."

After a trade, Pomerantz played the 1990 season with the Pirates at high-A Salem. In 35 games, three starts, he went 3-7, with a 6.90 ERA.

He isn't recorded as playing in 1991. He returned with the Orioles for one last season in 1992, at single-A Kane County. He got into five games there to end his career.

Pomerantz soon earned a new degree, from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. He then took anchor jobs in Knoxville, Colorado Springs and in Chicago. He then arrived in New York.

After the South Tower collapsed the morning of Sept. 11, Pomerantz updated the viewers on the enormity of what they were seeing. "No word right now on the extent of the casualties," Pomerantz told viewers, "but clearly, they are substantial."

Pomerantz stayed in New York into 2005, when he made the move to Minneapolis and the evening. He signed on with KARE to anchor their 5, 6 and 10 newscasts.

"Michael fits KARE's style perfectly," KARE vice president news director Tom Lindner said in a release upon the hire. "He helps make every story clear with a straightforward style and a comfortable, natural presence."

He joined the Padres in 2012 as a broadcaster and he remains there in 2018. In March 2014, he sat down for an interview with the newest Padre Eric Hosmer.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,908
Made the Majors:1,084-37.3%
Never Made Majors:1,824-62.7%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 450
10+ Seasons in the Minors:270


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