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Sunday, April 5, 2020

Francisco Alcantara proved a workhorse in second pro season, also his last pro season

Francisco Alcantara proved a work horse for independent Reno in 1991.

By mid-May, the reliever Alcantara had seen action in 20 of the team's first 36 games, to lead all the minor leagues in appearances, according to The Reno Gazette-Journal.

Alcantara went on to see time in 64 games that year. His time as a pro, however, proved limited. That season at Reno marked his second pro season and also his last.

Alcantara's career began in 1990, signed by the Tigers as a free agent out of his native Dominican Republic.

Alcantara started with the Tigers at short-season Niagara Falls. He got into 24 games, saved 10 and ended with a 1.70 ERA. He also saw high-A Lakeland for two outings. In two innings there, he gave up one hit and no runs.

At Niagara Falls, his card back identified Alcantara's favorite major leaguer as Pascual Perez, his favorite TV show as "The Arsinio Hall Show" and chicken and rice as foods he liked.

Alcantara moved to high-A Reno for 1991. In his 64 relief appearances, he went 6-3, with four saves and a 5.15 ERA to end his career.

1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,341
Made the Majors:1,193-35.7%
Never Made Majors:2,148-64.3%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 496
10+ Seasons in the Minors:289

Steve Allen looked to be consistent, healthy; Made AAA, not bigs

Originally published Jan. 1, 2016
Steve Allen readied to start his pro career in June 1988 and the pitcher told his hometown Nashua Telegraph he was ready for whatever the Rangers sent his way..

"I'm just looking to be consistent, stay healthy, and come out and look great whenever I get my chance," Allen told The Telegraph.

Allen made it to rookie Butte and ended up pitching poorly, but he came back the next year and went on to a pro career that lasted seven seasons. He made AAA, but he never made the majors.

Allen's career began that year in 1988, taken by the Rangers in the 37th round of the draft out of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Allen started with the Rangers at Butte. In 17 games, six starts, Allen had an expansive 9.32 ERA. He then moved to single-A Gastonia and turned full-time reliever. He picked up six wins, three saves and dropped his ERA to 2.02.

He made AA Tulsa for 1990, serving as a short reliever. He went 8-4, with a 3.83 ERA. He then moved to the Dodgers system for 1991 in a trade.

"We like (Allen's) arm and we like his forkball," Dodgers director of minor league operations Bill Schweppe told The Telegraph that January.

Allen played that year and the next at AA San Antonio. His 1991 campaign was limited to 12 outings, but he returned to a full slate of 43 in 1992, recording a 2.62 ERA.

He made AAA Albuquerque in 1993, playing there briefly before moving to the Rockies and AAA Colorado Springs early on. Overall, he had a 4.10 ERA.

His final season came in 1994, back at Colorado Springs. He went 2-5, with a 6.69 ERA, ending his career.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Mike Humphreys knew spring numbers didn't matter, season numbers did; Saw time in three ML campaigns

Mike Humphreys knew he played well in spring 1993 for the Yankees. But he knew those numbers were spring numbers, he told The South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

He wanted to put up regular season numbers, he told The Sun-Sentinel.

"It won't matter to me until I hear the national anthem in Cleveland on Opening Day, and I have No. 60 on my back," Humphreys told The Sun-Sentinel. "Then, it will count. Not before."

Humphreys did make the team - and that Cleveland series. He went on to appear in 25 games for the Yankees that year, in his third season with big league time. That season also proved his last with big league time.  He saw 54 total major league games.

Humphreys' career began in 1988, taken by the Padres in the 15th round of the draft out of Texas Tech University.

Humphreys started with the Padres at short-season Spokane. He hit .307 over 76 games. He then moved to single-A Riverside for 1989 and played most of 1990 at AA Wichita.

Humphreys also saw AAA Las Vegas in 1990, 12 games. He hit .238 there and .276 the rest of 1990 at Wichita.

For 1991, the Padres sent Humphreys to the Yankees. Humphreys started that year at AAA Columbus. In July, he made the Bronx. He got into 25 games and went 8 for 40. He knocked in three and stole two bases.

He returned for four games with the Yankees in 1992, where he went 1 for 10. He then got his final 25 games with the Yankees in 1993. He went 6 for 35. He also hit his only major league home run, an early June shot against Cleveland.

"I'd say it was a good day," Humphreys told The New York Times after his home run, grinning. "I got a little monkey off my back and I got some confidence back."

Humphreys returned to AAA Columbus for 1994, then saw AAA Buffalo and AAA Tacoma for 1995 with the Mariners and Indians. He then finished out his career in 1996 at independent Rhode Island.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,340
Made the Majors:1,193-35.7%-X
Never Made Majors:2,147-64.3%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 496
10+ Seasons in the Minors:289

Bert Heffernan showed toughness on the field; Played in 11 pro seasons, saw bigs for eight games

Originally published Jan. 13, 2019
Bert Heffernan's old college coach remembered Heffernan as the toughest he'd seen, according to the book "Clemson; Where the Tigers Play."

The former Clemson catcher had been well known for his tough play and dirty uniforms, according to the book.

"There are three things that make Heffernan stand out from any other player I've ever seen anywhere," Heffernan's coach at Clemson Bill Willhelm said, according to the book. "One, he's not afraid of getting dirty and two, he's not afraid of getting hurt, and most importantly, he's not afraid of embarrassing himself. He has a good time playing this game."

Heffernan went on from Clemson to a long career in the pros. In one of those seasons, he stood out enough to make the majors. He saw eight games in 1992 with the Mariners, marking the extent of his big league career.

Heffernan's career began in 1988, taken by the Brewers in the ninth round of the draft out of Clemson. Heffernan started with the Brewers between rookie Helena and single-A Beloit. He hit .276 over 70 games.

He played all of 1989 at Beloit, then moved to AA El Paso for 1990. That April, he spoke to The El Paso Times about his reputation as an all-out player. That's just the way he was, he told The Times.

"People have always told me 'you're gonna get tired, you're gonna get tired.' Well, bull on that. I'm just gonna keep on bustin' my butt," Heffernan told The Times.

Heffernan hit .279 that year with El Paso that year. Traded to the Dodgers in December, he played 1991 with AAA Albuquerque. He hit .330 in 67 games.

He arrived with the Mariners for 1992 by way of the minor league draft. He debuted in Seattle May 13 and played his final big league game June 4. He got to the plate 11 times in eight games and picked up a single hit. He also picked up an RBI.

Heffernan moved to the Giants system for 1993. Then, after not being recorded as playing in 1994, played 1996 and 1996 at AAA Ottawa for the Expos to end his playing career.

He then returned in 2000 as a player/coach with independent Long Island.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Greg Coppeta made his college's Hall of Fame; Played four pro seasons, topped out at AA

Greg Coppeta had a good career at the University of Southern Maine, but a tough inning this day in May 1990, according to The Bangor Daily News.

He'd gone 8-0 on the year and 21-1 on his career at Southern Maine, but he gave up seven runs in the fourth inning of this game, including a grand slam, The Daily News wrote.

"It was a fastball as far inside as it could be and still be a strike," Coppeta recalled to The Daily News of the grand slam pitch, whose record slipped to 8-1 and 21-2 in his career.

Coppeta ended his three-year run at Southern Maine with a 23-2 record and a 3.36 ERA. He also ended it as a pro. His pro career lasted four seasons. He topped out at AA.

Coppeta's career began that year in 1990, taken by the Tigers in the ninth round of the draft out of Southern Maine.

At Southern Maine, Coppeta won All-American honors twice and helped the school to its first Division III College World Series birth in 1989 as he went 9-1, with a 2.48 ERA. He made the school's Hall of Fame in 2001.

Coppeta started with the Tigers at short-season Niagara Falls. He went 5-7 over 14 starts, with a 3.21 ERA. He walked in a run in an August loss against Pittsfield.

He moved to single-A Fayetteville for 1991. He went 11-10, with a 5.14 ERA over 27 starts. He then saw AA London for half of 1992. He went 1-1 there over 19 relief outings, with a 2.31 ERA.

Coppeta played the rest of 1992 and all of 1993 at high-A Lakeland. He went 3-4 over 36 outings, three starts, at Lakeland in 1993, with a 2.41 ERA. His 1993 season at Lakeland turned out to be his last as a pro.

Coppeta soon returned home to Maine. In 2019, Coppeta served as head coach of a summer collegiate league team, the Patriots. After a July 2019 win, Coppeta assessed to The American Journal why his team won.

"We played a pretty clean game defensively," Coppeta told The American Journal. "It was a good team game. These guys are good kids; they like playing baseball. It makes it real fun."
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,339
Made the Majors:1,192-35.7%
Never Made Majors:2,147-64.3%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 496
10+ Seasons in the Minors:289

Dave Osteen followed his father to the pros as a pitcher; Made AAA, but not the bigs.

Originally published April 26, 2011
Dave Osteen came in for spring training early in 1988. A local high school pitcher in Melbourne, Fla. was the beneficiary, The Orlando Sentinel wrote.

Osteen worked out with the team before spring training began, and taught Eau Gallie High School pitcher Rex Havens a changeup, The Sentinel wrote.

''He was watching me on the side one day, and he asked me what type of pitches I threw,'' Havens told The Sentinel. ''I told him a fastball and a curve, and he asked if I wanted to learn how to throw the change. I had learned how to throw different changeups but not with control. But I worked with him, and after a while it came pretty natural.''

Osteen, going into his third professional season, taught the high school pitcher having learned much from another pitcher, his father Claude Osteen.

The son followed his father into professional baseball, going to that spring training in 1988. He never could follow his father to the majors, though, but he did later follow his father into coaching.

Following them both would be Osteen's younger brother Gavin Osteen, who himself went on to a long playing career, but also couldn't crack the majors.

Dave Osteen's professional career began in 1986 with the Cardinals at rookie-league Johnson City. He started off well, going 9-2 with a 2.26 ERA.

He moved to St. Petersburg for 1987 and kept up his efforts, going 10-3, with an ERA of 3.20. In late July, Osteen picked up a complete game win.

Going into that spring training in 1988, Osteen was poised to move to AA Arkansas. There, Osteen went 9-8, with a 3.46 ERA. The next year, he had an almost identical ERA of 3.49, but his record was markedly better - 15-5.

By May 1990, Osteen was in AAA, at Louisville. He got into 13 games there, going 5-2 with an ERA of 3.42. He got his first win April 19, against Iowa. But he also returned to Arkansas for another 13 games that year, going 5-5 with a 3.01 mark.

For 1991, Osteen moved to mainly relief, playing at AAA Louisville. His ERA ballooned to 6.41. It was his final year playing.

Osteen went on to coach for several years. In 1996 and 1997, he was with the Dodgers at short-season Yakima. He also coached in the Australian Baseball League, with the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League and at Gulf Coast Community College in Florida.

With the Bluefish in 1999, Osteen was credited with helping veteran pitcher Al Sontag with his delivery, resulting in a Sontag complete-game win.

"Dave noticed something in my mechanics where I was rushing to the plate and needed to sit back a little longer so there was more pause in my windup," Sontag told The Norwalk Hour, "That's really proven to be the key."

In 2000, he was named Purdue's pitching coach. By 2002, he was back in the pros, serving as coach with the Brewers at High Desert, his last recorded coaching stint. Coming to Purdue, head coach Doug Schreiber praised Osteen.

"Dave has tremendous experience and is very knowledgeable," Schreiber said upon the hire, "not only from a pitching standpoint, but in the entire game of baseball."

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Greg David learned realities of the pros over eight seasons; Made AA, not bigs

His first professional season under his belt, Blue Jays 1985 first-rounder Greg David knew he still had much to do, he told his hometown Fort Myers News-Press.

That showed in his numbers - he hit .235 over 50 games at rookie Medicine Hat.

"Things didn't click in the beginning. I just wasn't patient," David told The News-Press. "You can be hot one week and cold the next. It's hard to deal with, but you just have to learn to live with it. That's the way it is in baseball."

David went on to learn a lot over eight seasons as a pro, but he didn't get the chance to learn anything in the majors. He made AA over three seasons, but he didn't make the bigs.

David's career began that year in 1985, taken by the Blue Jays 25th overall in the draft out of Barron Collier High in Naples, Fla.

Coming out of high school, David thought he might get drafted early, but it still came as a shock, he told The News-Press that June. His high school resume included being named the regional player of the year by the paper.

"It didn't really matter to me what team took me, but Toronto is a good organization," David told The News-Press. "There are a lot of young players in the organization and a lot of older ones on the major league team. I just wanted to be picked by someone who would give me an opportunity."

He played that first season at Medicine Hat, then moved to single-A Florence for 1986. He hit .241 there, with 11 home runs over 112 games. He also saw catching duties both seasons and into his 1987 campaign at single-A Dunedin.

He made single-A Myrtle Beach for 1988 and 1989 and turned infielder. He hit .225 his first year there, and .221 his second.

David moved to the Padres system and AA Wichita for 1990. He hit .296, with 13 home runs and made the Texas League All-Star team.

He returned to Wichita for 1991, then played 1992 with the Royals at AA Memphis. His 1992 campaign proved his last as a pro.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,338
Made the Majors:1,192-35.7%
Never Made Majors:2,146-64.3%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 496
10+ Seasons in the Minors:289
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