Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Joe Siwa, Great Things - 23

Originally published Oct. 12, 2014
Joe Siwa braced for impact in his July 1992 game with Orlando but the impact never came.

Instead, what came on this rainy night from his outfielder Rex De La Nuez was a clean out - one that closed out a 3-2 Orlando win, according to The Orlando Sentinel.

"I was hoping for a collision at home,'' Siwa told The Sentinel. ''But Rex just charged the ball aggressively, and his throw was perfect even though it was a wet baseball."

By that point, Siwa had nearly four seasons worth of home-plate collisions behind him as a catcher in the Twins organization. He few other opportunities as a pro. He never got an opportunity for a home-plate collision in the majors.

Siwa's career began in 1989, taken by the Twins in the 43rd round of the draft out of Auburn University. He went to Auburn out of Roncalli High School in Omaha, Neb.

At Auburn, Siwa knocked in a run in a May 1989 game. That same month, Siwa picked up three hits and two RBI in a 14-7 Auburn win in the NCAA regionals. The Tigers' overall effort, including Siwa's, drew praise from their head coach after that big win.

"We just pounded the baseball," Auburn coach Hal Baird told The Associated Press.

With the Twins, Siwa played his first season between rookie Elizabethton and single-A Kenosha. He hit .229 in 34 games.

In 1990, Siwa got into 67 games back at Kenosha. He also made the jump to AAA Portland, getting six games there. He picked up four hits in 21 at bats at Portland.

He played most of 1991 and 1992 at AA Orlando, but he got one game each year back at AAA Portland. His average didn't break .200 either year. His 1992 season ended up being his last as a pro.

Siwa soon found himself returning home to Omaha. He's also stayed involved in the game. HE serves as owner and general manager of The Strike Zone, a youth baseball instruction business there.

In March 2014 Siwa talked to Omaha Magazine about his new non-profit, MVP4Life aimed at offering programs, camps and clinics with the goal of keeping kids in school.

"Our job is to get these kids involved and teach them how to listen to instruction, take criticism, and gain a work ethic" Siwa told Omaha Magazine. "We want to put a desire into these kids…great things happen when you work hard."

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Marc Lipson, Got Recognized - 9

Originally published Oct. 5, 2014
One of Marc Lipson's players at Mount de Sales Academy committed to a local college in November 2011 and Lipson knew how important that was.

"This is a very big deal," Lipson told Georgia TV station WMAZ. "It's very difficult for kids to be recognized by colleges these days and to secure some kind of financial assistance to play the sport they love."

Lipson was recognized years earlier enough to play at the University of Georgia and in the pros. His pro career was one where he saw four seasons and made AA. But he never made the majors.

Lipson's pro career began in 1989, signed by the Twins as an undrafted free agent out of Georgia.

At the University of Georgia, Lipson went 9.2 innings in the May 1988 SEC tournament without giving up a run. He, along with teammate Steve Muh drew praise from their coach Steve Webber, according to The Gainesville Sun.

"The way Muh and Lipson were able to stop a strong hitting Kentucky team was the whole story," Webber told The Sun after the win.

That March, Lipson pitched three innings without giving up a run in a Georgia win.

With the Twins, Lipson played his first season between the rookie Gulf Coast League and Elizabethton. In 33 relief outings between them, Lipson had a 2.54 ERA and 10 saves.

He moved to single-A Kenosha and high-A Visalia for 1990. In 64 outings on the year, he had a 2.27 ERA.

Lipson returned to Visalia for 1991, getting 49 relief outings and a 3.64 ERA. He then split 1992 between high-A Fort Myers and AA Orlando. At Orlando, he had 31 relief outings and a 5.45 ERA. It was his final season as a pro.

Lipson has since gone on to be a teacher and a high school coach at Mount de Sales Academy in Macon, Ga.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Darren Musselwhite, Another Field - 28

Originally published Feb. 28, 2016
Local insurance agent Darren Musselwhite took on a new title in his hometown of Southaven, Miss., in 2013, that of mayor.

At a local Chamber of Commerce luncheon that August, he said why, according to The DeSoto Times-Tribune.

"I would like to move on with the good stuff about Southaven," Musselwhite told those at luncheon, according to The Times-Tribune. "I truly ran for mayor because number one, I love Southaven. I realized it was time to do something bigger and step out and help Southaven. I wanted to do something different. I wanted to challenge myself."

Musselwhite moved on to the challenges of insurance and the Southaven mayor's office after first facing challenges in another field, the baseball field.

Musselwhite's baseball challenge lasted three seasons. He made high-A, but didn't make it higher.

Musselwhite's baseball career began in 1989, taken by the Giants in the 40th round of the draft out of the University of Mississippi.

At Mississippi, Musselwhite threw a three-hit shutout in an April 1987 game. He threw 12 innings in a March 1987 game and picked up 10 wins in 1988.

With the Giants, Musselwhite played 1989 at rookie Pocatello. He went 4-5 over 28 outings, six starts. He had a good relief outing in one August game, and a win in another.

Musselwhite then moved to the Twins system for 1990, playing at single-A Kenosha. He went 6-5 over 42 outings, with a 3.12 ERA. For 1991, he played at high-A Visalia, going 7-8, with a 4.03, ending his career.

Musselwhite soon made his way back home to Southaven, becoming an insurance agent licensed in both Tennessee and Mississippi. In 2013, he got elected Southaven mayor, a post he continues to hold in 2016.

"I'm excited," Musselwhite said after being sworn in in June 2013, according to WREG.com. "I'm ready to get busy."

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Scott Kimball, New Season - 8

The Salem State College Vikings started a new season in 1986 and The NCAA News described returning right-hander Scott Kimball recording one of the best ERAs in the region the previous year.

Kimball turned in 7-1 record for the Vikings, along with his 1.90 ERA the previous year.

Kimball went on to earn All-American honors for Salem State and make the school's Hall of Fame.

He turned pro in 1989. His pro career lasted two seasons. He made it up to single-A Beloit, but didn't make it higher.

Kimball's career began in 1989, signed by the Brewers as an undrafted free agent. The team selected Kimball two years earlier in the 10th round, but he didn't sign.

At Salem State, Kimball made All-American in 1987. He went 21-7 over his career, losing his entire senior year to arm troubles.

He struck out 204 over 178 innings. He amassed 13 complete games, according to the school, including a no-hitter. He made the school's Hall of Fame in 1996.

With the Brewers, he started at rookie Helena. He got into 11 games, starting four. He went 1-3, with a 3.89 ERA.

Kimball moved to single-A Beloit for 1990. He went 5-8 that year, with a 2.88 ERA. That year marked his final as a pro.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,661
Made the Majors:1,027-38.6%
Never Made Majors:1,634-61.4%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 426
10+ Seasons in the Minors:261

Dan Fox, Took Him - 27

Originally published Feb. 9, 2016
Dan Fox' career helping players come back from injury started with is own injury suffered playing football in college, according to The Hudson Star Observer.

From that injury, Fox recalled to The Star Observer in 2006, came a career as a trainer that he loved.

"I don't know what else I would do," Fox told The Star Observer. "You can either fight it (injury) or go with it and let it take you where it takes you."

Fox' injury has taken him to well over a quarter century working with players both in the pros and at younger levels, helping to ensure they return from injury and stay healthy.

Fox started at the University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse, graduating from there and becoming a trainer in the minors.

He served as trainer with the Twins at single-A Kenosha in 1989 and 1990. He also served as a trainer for the Kalamazoo Wings minor league hockey team.

Fox stayed with the Twins as a trainer for the next decade. He then moved to Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne as head athletic trainer there into 2013. He's listed in 2016 as an athletic trainer with Ortho Northeast.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Rex De La Nuez, Perfect Throw - 8

Originally published Oct. 3, 2014
Rex De La Nuez used his arm to help save an Orlando win in July 1992, The Orlando Sentinel wrote.

In the bottom of the ninth, with two outs, De La Nuez threw out a runner at home to end the game. The ball arrived at catcher Joe Siwa on the fly, The Sentinel wrote.

''I was hoping for a collision at home,'' Siwa told The Sentinel. ''But Rex just charged the ball aggressively, and his throw was perfect even though it was a wet baseball.''

De La Nuez made that throw in his fourth season as a pro. He went on to play in 10 pro seasons. He never made the majors.

De La Nuez' playing career began in 1989, taken by the Twins in the 22nd round of the draft out of Cal State-Los Angeles. De La Nuez' name is sometimes spelled Rex Delanuez.

At Cal State-LA, De La Nuez hit a three-run home run to help his team win a March 1988 game.

With the Twins in 1989, De La Nuez played at rookie Elizabethton. He hit .321, with nine home runs in 55 games.

He moved to single-A Kenosha for 1990, then high-A Visalia for 1991. He then made AA Orlando for 1992. He hit .268 at Orlando, with 12 home runs.

De La Nuez stayed at AA for the Twins in 1993, playing at Nashville. It was his final season with the Twins organization.

He played 1994 in independent ball, then 1995 with the Tigers at AA Jacksonville. He then played in Mexico for two seasons and the independent Atlantic League for one, ending his career.

De La Nuez has since gone on to be a coach and a scout in the Reds organization. In 2011, De La Nuez told the blog Baseball by the Yard the best thing about being a scout.

"The best thing," De La Nuez told the site, "is probably making a kid's life-dream come true by signing him to his first pro contract and then seeing him make it all the way through to the Major Leagues."

Friday, June 23, 2017

Joe Andrzejewski, Some Days - 3

Joe Andrzejewski assessed his performances to The Baltimore Sun in August 1991.

In a word, those performances were erratic, he told The Sun.

"Some days, I go out there and pitch great," Andrzejewski told The Sun. "Other days, I go up there and I'll constantly be behind the hitters, and they won't really hit me hard. I'll just walk a lot of people. I commit suicide out there."

Andrzejewski pitched that year, his fourth year as a pro, with short-season Erie. That season also proved to be his last. Andrzejewski made it as high as single-A.

Andrzejewski's career began in 1988, taken by the Brewers in the third round of the draft out of Chesapeake High School in Maryland.

Andrzejewski started with the Brewers at rookie Helena. He got into a single game in 1988. He then returned to Helena the next year. In 11 games, 10 starts, Andrzejewski went 3-2, with a 6.13 ERA. In July, Andrzejewski combined with two relievers to strike out 16.

He moved to single-A Beloit for 1990. He got into 24 games that year, starting 19. He went 6-9, with a 5.61 ERA.

In one game that summer with Beloit, a sharp line drive to his face led Andrzejewski to be carted off the field. He even had the imprint of stitches on his face, William Albert Allard wrote in his book "Portraits of America." Checked out at the hospital, Andrzejewski returned to the team later that night.

Andrzejewski then moved to short-season co-op Erie for 1991. He got into 16 games, starting seven. He went 1-5, with a 7.02 ERA, ending his career.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,660
Made the Majors:1,027-38.6%
Never Made Majors:1,633-61.4%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 426
10+ Seasons in the Minors:261

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