Saturday, November 22, 2014

Miguel Mendez, At Third - 2443

Coming out of spring 1990, Miguel Mendez was expected to go to single-A Sumter.

The third-baseman had hit .288 in the Gulf Coast League in 1989. The Sumter Item had him penciled in at second base.

Mendez did go to Sumter in 1990, but he didn't play second. He played at third. He also played in only three games there. He got into other games back in the GCL, but it was his final season as a pro.

Mendez' career began in 1989, signed by the Braves as a free agent out of his native Dominican Republic.

Mendez played that first season in 1989 with the Braves' GCL team in Bradenton. He got into 28 games, hitting two home runs and knocking in 16. He also stole five bases.

Mendez then moved to Sumter to start 1990. But he got into just three games. He picked up one hit in nine at bats. He also stole one base.

Then it was back to the GCL. Mendez got into another 15 games there. He got nine hits in 50 at bats there for a .180 average. That marked the extent of Mendez' season and the extent of his career. He didn't return for a third year.
1990 CMC-Pro Cards Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:1,819
Made the Majors: 851 - 46.8%
Never Made Majors: 968-53.2%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 365
10+ Seasons in the Minors:214 

1990 San Bernardino Spirit

Fiscalini Field in San Bernardno in 2012. Fiscalini was home to the San Bernardino Spirit in 1990. (Greatest 21 Days)
Features on each member of the 1990 San Bernardino Spirit, high-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. Players featured are as included in that year's team set. Click on the player's name to read more.

San Bernardino Spirit (27)
1 - Fernando Arguelles, On Top
Fernando Arguelles helped Florida Southern to two titles. He played four seasons as a pro.
2 - Jim Bennett, Pitching Ahead

Jim Bennett's long coaching career now includes time in Australia.
3 - Keith Bodie, His Philosophy
Keith Bodie has tried to get players as good as they can be.
4 - Isaiah Clark, Mature Person
Isaiah Clark suffered a knee injury 15 games into his career. He made it back, but he never made the majors. 
5 - Roberto Del Pozo, Delivered It
Roberto Del Pozo delivered the go-ahead run in a June 1991 game. He played four seasons as a pro.
6 - Rich DeLucia, Of Relief
Rich DeLucia always wanted to play baseball. He played ten years in the bigs.
7 - David Evans, Played Hard
David Evans was carried off the field injured in college. He played a decade in the pros.
8 - Manuel Furcal, Long Save
Manuel Furcal picked up a long save in 1990. He played four seasons as a pro.
9 - Calvin Jones, Didn't Quit
Calvin Jones had a poor outing for the Mariners, but he didn't quit.
10 - Jeff Keitges, Home Run

Jeff Keitges helped his team to a win in 1990 with a home run. He played four seasons as a pro.
11 - Tyrone Kingwood, Raw Ability
Tyrone Kingwood had raw athletic ability. That's why the Expos took him. He didn't get to the bigs.
12 - Chuck Kniffin, With Strengths
Chuck Kniffin got his chance to coach in bigs with the Diamondbacks. He played in the minors with the Phillies.
13 - Pat Lennon, Raised Him
Pat Lennon didn't have control. He then changed he made the bigs.
14 - Bobby Magallanes, No Joke
Bobby Magallanes helped send players to the majors as a manager.
15 - Ellerton Maynard, His Wheels

Ellerton Maynard showed his wheels at single-A in 1990. He played six seasons, but not in the bigs. 
16 - Steve Murray, Big Difference
Steve Murray's hit turned a 1984 College World Series game, He played in eight pro seasons.
17 - Tim Newlin, Door Slammed
Jim Newlin helped Wichita State to the 1989 College World Series title. He played seven seasons as a pro. 
18 - Greg Pirkl, New Position
Greg Pirkl did well enough at his new position to make the Mariners. He then tried pitching.
19 - Scott Pitcher, Adjustment Made
Scott Pitcher improved with a minor adjustment. It wasn't enough for him to make the majors.
20 - Roger Salkeld, Through Injury

Roger Salkeld never lived up to his first-round status. He still made the bigs in three seasons.
21 - David Smith, First Pitch
David Smith made a first pitch a double in a 1989 game. He played just two seasons as a pro. 
22 - Tim Stargell, Team MVPs
Tim Stargell made team MVP in first three seasons. He only played in four.
23 - Scott Taylor, Much Fun
Scott Taylor held off on his pharmaceutical career, he then made the majors.
24 - Brian Turang, Motivated Him
Brian Turang wasn't a major league prospect. But he still made it to the majors.
25 - Johnny Wiggs, With Emotion
Johnny Wiggs pitched with emotion as a reliever. He played five seasons as a pro. 
26 - Ray Williams, Two Sports
Ray Williams played two sports in college. He tried both as a pro.
27 - Kerry Woodson, Big Butterflies
Kerry Woodson had big butterflies in his major league debut. He played in just eight games.

Dick Scott, Most Enjoyable - 103

Originally published March 28, 2012
Working as the Blue Jays director of player development in 2009, Dick Scott believed the toughest parts of his job were the budgets, and the business side, he told his hometown Bangor Daily News.

"The most enjoyable part of the job is working with the players," Scott told The Daily News, "being around and involved either in Toronto with the major leaguers and talking to [Blue Jays manager] Cito Gaston or brand-new guys in the farm leagues and seeing them develop."

Those players Scott was trying to develop, Scott was trying to get to the same place he got to, the majors. Scott, though, was trying to get them there for longer than he was there.

Scott made the majors in 1989 with Oakland, in his ninth season as a pro, for all of three games. He got two at bats, one RBI and no hits.

Scott's career in baseball began in 1981, taken by the Yankees in the 17th round of the draft, out of Ellsworth High School.

Scott started in the rookie Gulf Coast League, hitting .235 in 48 games. He moved to single-A Fort Lauderdale in 1982. he even got five games at AAA Columbus.

Scott, though, didn't make it above single-A for any extended period of time until 1985, at AA Albany-Colonie. There, Scott hit .214 with four home runs. Scott also helped Albany to the playoffs, but the playoff run was brief.

"That's what happens in the playoffs," Scott told The Schenectady Gazette. "A best-of-five or best-of-three playoff is tough. It's a situation where anything can happen and a hot team can win it all."

Scott got 58 games at AAA Columbus in 1986 and 51 in 1987. By 1988, Scott was back at Albany. For 1989, Scott signed with Oakland, the team that brought him to the majors.

Scott started at AAA Tacoma. Then, in May, Scott got his call up. He got into his first game May 19. He grounded out, but he also knocked in a run. In all, over his three games, Scott went 0 for 2. His final game came May 29.

Scott played out that year at Tacoma. He also played 21 games the next year back at AAA, also serving as a coach.

Scott has since gone on to be a manager in the minors, managing from rookie ball in Arizona to AA at Huntsville.

By 2001, Scott was the Blue Jays' director of player development. By 2011, and into 2012, Scott was Mets minor league field director. With the Mets in 2011, Scott was tasked with improving a minor league system ranked 20th overall, according to The Portland Press-Herald.

"We've got some work to do," Scott told The Press-Herald. But "I'm happy here. It's going to be good."

Friday, November 21, 2014

Calvin Jones, Didn't Quit - 2629

The Mariners needed a a reliever early and Calvin Jones was that guy.

It didn't work out as Jones had hoped - five runs in four innings - but Jones was ready to do what was needed, he told The Seattle Times afterward.

"They asked me and I told them I wanted to stay in," Jones told The Times. "It's been a tough year for me, but I'm not giving up, I'm not quitting."

Jones went on to get into 38 games for the Mariners that year, his second season in the majors. His major league career also ended that year, but Jones continued on. He didn't quit playing in the minors or independent ball until 2002.

Jones' career began in 1984, taken by the Mariners in the first round of the January draft out of the University of Calfornia-Riverside.

Jones played his first year at short-season Bellingham. He went 5-0, with a 2.41 ERA. He made single-A Wausau in 1985, then AA Chattanooga in 1987.

He only got into 10 games in 1989 between single-A San Bernardino and AA Williamsport. He returned to high-A San Bernardino for 1990. In 53 outings, he had a 2.96 ERA.

Jones then moved up quickly. He hit AAA Calgary in 1991. That June, he was in Seattle.

Jones got into 27 games in relief for the Mariners in 1991. He gave up 13 earned in 46.1 innings for a 2.53 ERA. He returned to the Mariners for another 38 games in 1992. He had a 3-5 record, ending with a 5.69 ERA.

He also got one start for the Mariners in 1992. He went five innings, giving up two earned. He also picked up the loss.

"I tried to keep us in the game," Jones told The Associated Press afterward. "A couple times I didn't follow through and found myself standing straight up. When I don't follow through, that's when I get in trouble."

Jones moved to the Indians in 1993 and played the year at AA Canton-Akron. He then played the next three seasons at AAA in four separate systems, never making it back to the majors.

Jones isn't recorded as playing form 1997 to 1999. In 2000, he returned to play in Mexico. He then played to seasons in independent ball, ending his career.

Jones has since stayed in the game as a scout, spending time with the Twins and the Dodgers.
1990 CMC-Pro Cards Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:1,818
Made the Majors: 851 - 46.8%-X
Never Made Majors: 967-53.2%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 365
10+ Seasons in the Minors:214

Mike Magnante, Numbers Man - 64

Originally published June 24, 2011
A pitcher at UCLA, Mike Magnante took to the basketball court in late 1985 and promptly tore up his knee.

It was something he was angry at himself for doing, and it put his baseball goals aside until, that is, he could recover, he told The Los Angeles Times in 1988.

"During my recovery I wasn't banking my whole life on baseball," Magnante told The Times. "I had no thoughts at all about playing professional baseball. I just didn't think I was good enough. I wasn't good enough. I was just so angry at myself for getting hurt that I felt I had to make it back."

Magnante made it back, and he became good enough, good enough to be taken by the Royals in the 11th round of the 1988 draft. He also became good enough to pitch in a dozen major league seasons, recording a career ERA of 4.08.

It wouldn't end until late July 2002, and then on a pure numbers decision from Oakland's numbers man and general manager Billy Beane, a scene chronicled in the book Moneyball. The decision would leave Magnante days short of collecting a full pension.

Magnante's professional career began that year in 1988, playing with three different single-A teams. He moved to AA Memphis in 1989 and AAA Omaha in 1990.

It was in April 1991 that Magnante made his major league debut, a three-game stint where he gave up three earned runs in 4.1 innings. It was also a change from his usual role to that point of starter. A second stint, though, he did better, finishing with a 2.45 ERA in 38 outings.

"The second time up, I was much more prepared mentally. I was more confident in what I could do," Magnante told The New York Times in early July. "I know how to get ready quicker now. I have a better idea of what I want to do, and I've talked to the catchers about what I want to do."

Magnante returned in 1992 for another 44 outings, 12 of them starts. He went 4-9 with a 4.94 ERA. He moved to the starting rotation in May. But, by June, was in danger of moving back to the bullpen. A seven-inning, one-run effort June 3 helped stave off that move.

Magnante got six more starts in 1993, but after that was primarily used in relief. Magnante stayed with the Royals through 1996, getting at least 28 outings each season, except 1993.

For 1997, Magnante signed with the Astros, spending two seasons there, posting a 2.27 ERA his first season and a 4.88 mark his second.

He joined the Angels for 1999, the team he'd followed as a kid. He also did well, going 5-2 with a 3.38 ERA. The wins, though, were not necessarily something the relief pitcher wanted, Magnante told The Times in May.

"If you're getting wins, then something bad is happening somewhere along the way," Magnante told The Times. "Either you've come in and given up the lead or we were behind when you got in there."

Magnante joined Oakland in 2000, pitching his final three seasons there. In 2001, Magnante had a 2.77 ERA in 65 outings. In 2002, though, his ERA ballooned to 5.97 in 32 outings. By late July, the numbers no longer added up and Beane released him.

Magnante's release is outlined in the book Moneyball, in the chapter The Trading Desk.

"He thought of himself the way the market thought of him, as an asset to be bought and sold," Michael Lewis wrote in the book of Magnante after his release. "He'd long ago forgotten whatever it was he was meant to feel."

Magnante has since changed careers. The man whose career was done in by numbers is now teaching them. Magnante has served as a math teacher at Agoura High in California.

"I don't know who's doing who a favor,'' Magnante told The Los Angeles Daily News in May 2005. "Me teaching them, or them letting me have this great experience. It's so great to be able to give back and do something you love. I always wanted to teach. I'm lucky, I'm doing what I want."

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Scott Pitcher, Adjustment Made - 2631

It was a minor adjustment for Mariners minor leaguer Scott Pitcher, but it seemed to be working, according to The Newport News Daily Press.

It had to do with where he started his pitching motion - at his chest, instead of his belt, The Daily Press wrote.

"He was all tied up," Pitcher's pitching coach at high-A Peninsula Paul Lindblad told The Daily Press. "It's a matter of getting your hands away from your body so you can get good arm circle. ... He's a lot more confident now in making adjustments while he's out there."

Pitcher was in his fifth season as a pro that year. He soon found himself at AA, but the adjustments he made never got him to the majors.

Pitcher's career started in 1987, taken by the Mariners in the 34th round of the draft out of Hillsborough Community College in Florida.

At Hillsborough, Pitcher was involved in a legendary game and gave a legendary pitching performance. It was a 32-inning game against Manatee Community College and Pitcher pitched 20 of them. He got the win and struck out 19.

With the Mariners, Pitcher started at short-season Bellingham. In 32 outings, he had a 5.19 ERA. He moved to single-A Wausau in 1989 and had a much better ERA, 2.45 over 49 appearances.

Pitcher made high-A San Bernardino in 1990 and then split 1991 between San Bernardino and Peninsula. He also tried his hand at starting that year. In 17 starts at Peninsula, he had a 4.65 ERA and a 3-8 record.

In 15 relief outings back at Peninsula in 1992, he gave up just two earned in 26 innings. He then got his first time at AA, getting 23 outings, six starts at Jacksonville. He had a 3.41 ERA there.

Pitcher then played parts of two more seasons with the Brewers at AA and Expos at high-A, ending his career.
1990 CMC-Pro Cards Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:1,817
Made the Majors: 850 - 46.8%
Never Made Majors: 967-53.2%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 365
10+ Seasons in the Minors:214

Keith Bodie, His Philosophy - 2649

The Astros let AA Corpus Christi manager Keith Bodie go after the 2014 season citing philosophical differences, Bodie told The Houston Chronicle in September.

It was a determination that Bodie didn't understand, he told The Chronicle.

"I don't know where that stems from," Bodie told The Chronicle. "Because my philosophy was to get each and every player as good as they can be according to their individual skills, and hopefully that would take them to the next level and ultimately to the big leagues."

Bodie took that philosophy through a minor league coaching and managing career that has now spanned three decades. That came after a 10-season playing career. He hasn't seen the majors himself.

Bodie's career in baseball began in 1974, taken by the Mets in the third round of the draft out of South Shore High School in Brooklyn.

Bodie played his first two seasons at rookie Marion. He made AA Jackson in 1977 and stayed there for three seasons. He moved to the Astros system and AA Columbus in 1980. He then hit AAA Tucson in 1981. By 1982, though, he was done as a player.

By 1984, he had started his new career as a minor league coach and manager. He started that year at short-season Auburn. He returned to Columbus as a coach in 1985. In 1986, he got his first managerial job back at Auburn.

In 1988, he was manager at single-A Osceola. By that July, one of his players Trent Hubbard had stolen home six times, according to The Orlando Sentinel.

"Stealing home is the most exciting play in baseball," Bodie told The Sentinel. "Once you realize how improbable it is with the pitcher 60 feet away and the runner 90, it's something to behold."

By 1989, Bodie was with the Mariners at high-A San Bernardino. He then returned to AAA, with Calgary in 1991.

Bodie managed AAA Phoenix in 1995, then high-A Bakersfield in 1997. In 2000, he moved to the Royals and AA Wichita.

In 2003, still with Wichita, Bodie watched over Royals prospect and future Cy Young winner Zack Greinke.

"All I keep hearing is how special he is," Bodie told The Wichita Eagle of Greinke then. "You keep hearing the same thing about a kid over and over, you tend to believe it."

He joined the Astros in 2007. In 2013, Bodie was the one who sent Cody Clark on to the majors for the first time - in Clark's 11th season as a pro. Bodie broke the news, according to

"I broke down," Clark said, according to, "and said, 'Thank you.'"

Read more here:

1990 CMC-Pro Cards Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:1,816
Made the Majors: 850 - 46.8%
Never Made Majors: 966-53.2%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 365
10+ Seasons in the Minors:214-X
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