Sunday, May 19, 2019

Ivan DeJesus, His Best - 29

Ivan DeJesus was a good shortstop for the Cubs in 1981, but he didn't get as much attention as other good players at that position, UPI wrote.

DeJesus was OK with that. He had his sights elsewhere, according to UPI.

"It doesn't matter, really. I'd like to be on an all-star team, a World Series winner, but I've got a job to do and I do it the best I can," DeJesus told UPI. "I want to win and I want to do the best I can."

DeJesus did his best over 15 major league seasons. He never made an all-star team, but he did make the World Series twice, with the Phillies in 1983 and the Cardinals in 1985.

He then went on to a long career as a minor league manager and coach. He also returned to the majors with the Cubs in 2007 as a coach.

DeJesus' long career in baseball began in 1969, signed by the Dodgers as an amateur free agent out of Puerto Rico.

He started with the Dodgers in 1970 at single-A Daytona Beach. He made AAA Albuquerque in 1974 and debuted in Los Angeles that September.

DeJesus got into three games for the Dodgers in 1974 and into 63 the next. He moved to the Cubs in 1977 and became a major league regular.

He hit .266 for the Cubs that year over 155 games. He then hit .278 and stole 41 bases over 160 games in 1978.

He continued with the Cubs through 1981, when he moved to the Phillies. In 1983, the Phillies made the World Series, but DeJesus made a costly error late that gave the game to Baltimore.

"No excuses," DeJesus told reporters afterward, according to The New York Times. "I'm supposed to catch the ball and I didn't. We lost the game because I made the error. He made the right pitch. I couldn't catch the ball and they won."

DeJesus saw his last extended play in 1985 with the Cardinals. He then played briefly in each of the next three seasons to end his playing career.

By 1990, DeJesus was back with the Dodgers, managing their Gulf Coast League entry at Kissimmee.

"This is the first time most of these young men have been away from home," DeJesus told The Orlando Sentinel that July, "so I'm trying to teach them what I know about the game - how to learn from their mistakes and be organized."

DeJesus continued on from that start to serve as a coach and manager for more than 20 years. He served as hitting coach at AA Jacksonville in 1993, manager at short-season Pittsfield in 2001 and made the Cubs as assistant coach in 2007.

He coached with the Cubs through 2011. In 2012, he served as manager at single-A Lexington.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,120
Made the Majors:1,139-36.5%-X
Never Made Majors:1,981-63.5%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 472
10+ Seasons in the Minors:282

Bobby Dickerson, Taught Him - 4

Originally published July 12, 2013
Speaking years later about his manager in the Yankees system, Bobby Dickerson credited that manager with helping him improve as both a player and a pro.

"He taught me to be professional, how to respect the game, and the effort that I was going to have to make," Dickerson told MLB.com in August 2010. "I know I got the most out of my talent. And our young players will get the most out of their abilities."

Dickerson was then manager at the Orioles' AAA team in Norfolk. He was speaking about his old manager at AA Albany Buck Showalter, then the newly named manager in Baltimore.

Three years later, Dickerson would be back serving under his old manager, named Orioles third base coach for 2013.

Dickerson's career in baseball began in 1987, taken by the Yankees in the 23rd round of the draft, out of Nicholls State University in Louisiana.

With the Yankees, Dickerson played his first season between short-season Oneonta and Showalter's single-A Fort Lauderdale. He hit .216 over 31 games.

For 1988, Dickerson returned to Showalter's Fort Lauderdale, hitting .246. He hit a bases-loaded double in a June contest. In an April game, he had three doubles, knocking in three.

In 1989, Dickerson split 45 games between AA Albany and AAA Columbus, then played 58 games at Albany in 1990. For 1991, Dickerson moved to the Orioles system, playing there through 1993, ending his playing career without making the bigs.

In his final year, Dickerson served as a player-coach. He then moved into other positions with the Orioles, including managing at rookie Bluefield for 1996 and 1997.

He moved to the Diamondbacks system for 1998, becoming manager at AA El Paso for 2000. He then moved to the Cubs system for 2002, managing at AA West Tennessee. In August 2002, Dickerson spoke to The New York Times about one of his players struggling with expectations.

"A lot of times they wear all those things that were written about them out on the field," Dickerson told The New York Times. "It's tough with all those expectations."

After a stint as a Cubs minor league coordinator, Dickerson became manager at AAA Iowa in 2009. He then moved to the Orioles and Newark for 2010.

For 2013, he was named third base coach in Baltimore, under Showalter. Dickerson had also just made the major leagues.

"It’s just an honor," Dickerson told The Baltimore Sun after his selection. "I'm like a lot of guys in the minor leagues, I've paid my dues. I've tried to do it the right way, the best I could. ... To be chosen, it's just a very nice gesture. And, again, at this time I know we have to go win and it's going to be a big responsibility and I am ready for it."

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Bob Zeihen, Took Advantage - 23

Originally published July 11, 2013
Bob Zeihen's Albany Yankees up by one in this May 1990 game, Zeihen appeared to hit into an inning-ending double play, The Schenectady Gazette wrote. But then a balk was called.

Back at the plate, Zeihen took that break and knocked a single, The Gazette wrote, extending the Yankee lead to two as the Yankees soon tacked on two more.

"On the balk, we got a break and we capitalized on it by hitting the ball," Albany manager Rick Down told The Gazette. "We took advantage of it."

Zeihen took advantage of that situation in his third pro season. It was also his last pro season, his career ending at season's end.

Zeihen's pro career began in 1988, taken by the Yankees in the 23rd round of the draft out of Indiana State University.

At Indiana State, Zeihen holds the school's all-time record for games played at 235, runs scored at 234, hits at 290 and triples at 32, according to the school's record book. He also led his team in stolen bases as a freshman in 1985.

With the Yankees, Zeihen started at short-season Oneonta, also getting playing time at single-A Prince William. Between the two, he hit .299 with 27 RBI. In an August win with Prince William, Zeihen doubled and scored.

For 1989, Zeihen moved to single-A Fort Lauderdale, playing there the entire season. He hit .252, with 46 RBI. That May, Zeihen tripled and scored in a Yankees win, picking up three hits in another game. In August, Zeihen drove in the tying run with a double, then scored the winning run.

Zeihen moved to AA Albany full time for 1990, hitting .248 over 92 games, picking up three hits in a late-April contest. In August, Zeihen got promoted to AAA Columbus, playing 10 games there, hitting .265. But it was his final season as a pro.

In 1993, Zeihen is listed as being named as a coach at rookie league Butte.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Javier Puchales, Two Hits - 23

The Gulf Coast League Dodgers charged to the league title in 1990 and Javier Puchales helped get them there, according to The Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

The GCL Dodgers took the championship with a 9-4 decision over the GCL Expos. Puchales knocked two hits in the game, The Herald-Tribune wrote.

Puchales knocked those two hits in his second professional season. He saw time in four more campaigns. He never saw AAA.

Puchales' career began in 1989, taken by the Dodgers in the 25th round of the draft out of his native Puerto Rico.

Puchales started with the Dodgers in the GCL. The outfielder got into 41 games there in 1989 and hit .333. He returned to the GCL for 1990. He saw 29 games that year and hit .200.

He played at Great Falls in 1991. In 41 games there, his average went back up to .357.

After not being recorded as playing in 1992, Puchales returned to the field in 1993 at high-A Vero Beach. He hit .337 in 77 games there, while  knocking in 27.

He made AA San Antonio for 1994 and 1995, but saw only brief time. He played in 20 games there in 1994 and 31 there in 1995 to end his career.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,119
Made the Majors:1,138-36.5%
Never Made Majors:1,981-63.5%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 472
10+ Seasons in the Minors:282

Ramon Manon, Few Adjustments - 10

Originally published July 7, 2013
Ramon Manon's manager at AA Albany Rick Down knew the pitcher would be all right, Down told The Schenectady Daily Gazette in May 1990.

It was just that Manon, in the majors the previous month with the Rangers, Down told The Daily Gazette.

"He had a few adjustments to make," Down told The Daily Gazette. "He'd been a starter and now he was a reliever. And he'd been in the major leagues, flying to games. All of a sudden, he's back riding a bus. It took a couple days to get adjusted."

Actually, Manon had little time to get adjusted during his stint in the majors. He got all of one appearance, a two-inning outing where he gave up three earned runs. He also never got another chance to get adjusted to the bigs. His big league career was limited to that single appearance.

Manon's pro career began in 1985, signed by the Yankees as an undrafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic.

With the Yankees, Manon started on the field in 1986, in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He moved to single-A Prince William for 1987, then a shortened season at single-A Fort Lauderdale in 1988.

In his first three seasons, Manon served as a reliever. For 1989, back at Fort Lauderdale, Manon turned starter. In 22 starts that year, Manon went 7-9, with a 3.53 ERA.

In a May 1989 contest, Manon struck out 10 in a complete-game win, one where he gave up two hits. That August, Manon spoke to The South Florida Sun-Sentinel about his team's fans.

"Everyone is really nice here," Manon told The Sun-Sentinel. "You notice them. It helps."

After that season, the Rangers saw something in Manon, taking him in the Rule 5 draft. He also made it through the lockout-abbreviated spring training, to the expanded Rangers roster.

Manon did that having not previously played above single-A. He ended up getting into one game, April 19, giving up those three earned runs in his two innings of work. His major league career then ended.

Manon returned then was taken back by the Yankees, getting into just nine games, three starts, at Albany.

For the next three seasons, Manon never got above AA, spending his final year with the White Sox at AA Birmingham. Manon then came back for one final season in 1995, with independent Minnesota, ending his career.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Domingo Mota, Worked Hard - 18

Domingo Mota and his father longtime major leaguer Manny Mota often talked, the son told Scripps Howard News Service in May 1992.

Much of the the conversations would focus on encouragement, the father encouraging the son, the member of the AA Memphis Chicks told the news service.

"When I talk to him, and I'm feeling down, he says to go out there, play hard, hustle, listen to the coaches and don't worry," Domingo Mota told Scripps. "It's always, `Work hard and things will turn around.' "

Domingo Mota worked hard throughout his career, but his work couldn't get him to the majors like his father - or siblings. Domingo played six pro seasons. He never made AAA.

Mota's career began in 1990, taken by the Dodgers in the 31st round of the draft out of Cal State Fullerton.

At Fullerton, Mota helped his club to the College World Series. Prior to the 1990 draft, Mota spoke to The New York Times about growing up in a baseball family.

"My dad was always an inspiration to me," Domingo Mota told The Times. "He was always talking hitting. I used to go to Dodger Stadium and hit with him all the time."

Mota started with the Dodgers in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He hit .343 in 61 games. He picked up two hits, including an RBI double, the GCL Dodgers took the league title.

Mota moved to high-A Bakersfield for 1991. He hit .275 there, with 37 stolen bases. He arrived in the Royals system for 1992, playing at Memphis. He hit .265 there.

He returned to Memphis for part of 1993 and 48 games in 1994.  He then played five final games in 1995 with the Reds at AA Chattanooga to end his career.

In 1997, Mota ran an academy for youth across Los Angeles through his father's foundation and the city. Mota had loftier goals for the participants than baseball, he told The Los Angeles Times.

"I can teach them baseball," Mota told The LA Times, "but what makes the difference is that they leave here as better people."
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,118
Made the Majors:1,138-36.5%
Never Made Majors:1,980-63.5%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 472
10+ Seasons in the Minors:282

Mark Shiflett, Strong Pitching - 27

Originally published Oct. 6, 2015
Fort Lauderdale pitching coach Mark Shiflett explained to The South Florida Sun-Sentinel his organization's approach to prospects in April 1992.

The topic: The top overall selection in the 1991 draft, the Yankees' Brien Taylor.

"The Yankee philosophy is don't rush these kids -- let them have success and enjoy where they are," Shiflett told The Sun-Sentinel. "Brien Taylor's going to be successful here, and he's going to learn a lot. For a kid who hasn't had any college experience, he's got some games to get under his belt."

Shiflett watched over a pre-injury Taylor early on in his career as a minor league coach. Shiflett had his own career as a player. He got into six seasons and made AA. His coaching career spanned a decade, Shiflett spending much of that time at high-A.

Shiflett's pro career began in 1981, taken by the Yankees in the 27th round out of Auburn University.

Shiflett started with the Yankees at short-season Oneonta. The hurler got into 12 games, starting seven. He had a 4.15 ERA. He moved to single-A Greensboro for 1982 and improved his ERA to 2.42.

He made AA Nashville in 1983, staying there for 1984. He had a complete-game win for Nashville in August 1984.

Shiflett moved to the Tigers and AA Birmingham for 1985, throwing a shutout on three hits that June. His final time as a player came in 1987 with the Royals at AA Memphis.

Shiflett returned to the game in 1990 at the spot where he started as a player. Shiflett served that year as pitching coach at Oneonta. He moved to single-A Greensboro for 1991.

Shiflett coached at Fort Lauderdale in 1992 and then high-A Prince William for 1993. That April, Shiflett liked what he saw in his young pitchers, according to The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star.

"We're loaded," Shiflett told The Free Lance-Star in the preview of a season that included a young Andy Pettitte. "This is a very strong pitching staff."

Shiflett's final recorded coaching time came at high-A Tampa from 1996 to 1998.

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