Saturday, January 31, 2015

Steve Rolen, Offensively Carried - 2559

The Penn State Nittany Lions were preparing to play West Virginia in April 1989 and Penn State's Daily Collegian identified Steve Rolen as the player who carried the Mountaineers offensively.

Rolen led the team in average, home runs, RBI, hits and doubles, The Daily Collegian wrote. His .451 average was also best in the conference.

Rolen soon carried himself to the pros, but he could only do so for four seasons. He made high-A, but not AA.

Rolen's career began that year in 1989, taken by the Giants in the 25th round of the draft out of West Virginia.

At West Virginia, Rolen had a double and single in a May 1987 game. In 1989, he hit .425, scoring 46 runs and hitting 12 home runs, all conference highs.

His .425 average in 1989 is still good for fifth all-time at West Virginia. His career .380 average is seventh all-time. His slugging percentage of .828 in 1989 hasn't been beat.

With the Giants, Rolan started at rookie Pocatello. He picked up three hits in an August game. On the year, he hit .330 in 56 games.

He moved to single-A Clinton for 1990. His average, though, dropped to .237 over 77 games.

For 1991, Rolen moved to high-A San Jose. He played the full year there, hitting .255, with five home runs.

He returned to San Jose for 1992, but his season was brief. He played in just 23 games, hitting .282. It was his final season as a pro.
1990 CMC-Pro Cards Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:1,907
Made the Majors: 877 - 46.0%
Never Made Majors: 1,030-54.0%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 374
10+ Seasons in the Minors:218

Jon Pattin, Didn't Happen - 2552

Jon Pattin decided he wanted a more stable career. He had to finish  school, he told his hometown Lawrence Journal-World in May 1992.

That decision came after another spring where the son of ex-major leaguer Marty Pattin had been earmarked for single-A. It was time for him to move on, he told The Journal-World.

"I was born into baseball," Pattin told The Journal-World. "All my life I've wanted to play in the big leagues. You have to get a lot of breaks. You have to be in the right place at the right time. Unfortunately for me it didn't happen."

Pattin's career ended with time in three professional seasons. He never saw AA.

Pattin began with the Giants in 1989, taken by the Giants in the 49th round out of Johnson County Community College in Kansas.

Pattin went to Johnson County out of Lawrence, where he spent his summers playing American Legion ball. The catcher hit a two-run double in a June 1984 game for the Lawrence Legion Hawks. He hit a game-ending three-run shot in a May 1985 game. By that June, Pattin was hitting .512.

A Pattin grand slam in an August 1985 game led to a rain-shortened win for Lawrence.

"I haven't gotten a lot of pitches to pull this year," Pattin told The Journal-World after that game "When the ball's up and on the outside part of the plate, I try to go that way."

With the Giants, Pattin started with single-A Clinton. In 20 games that year, Pattin hit .279. He stayed at Clinton for 1990, getting into 46 games that year. His average dropped to .135.

For 1991, he moved to high-A San Jose, but his playing time was limited again. In 36 games, he turned in a .269 average. It was his final year as a pro.
1990 CMC-Pro Cards Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:1,906
Made the Majors: 877 - 46.0%
Never Made Majors: 1,029-54.0%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 374
10+ Seasons in the Minors:218

Tony Ariola, That Guy - 84

The Greatest 21 Days caught up with Tony Ariola in November 2011, read the two-part interview: Tony Ariola, Overcame Obstacles

Originally published Feb. 21, 2011
Playing in the Alaska Baseball League in 1987, Tony Ariola described himself to The Anchorage Daily News as a pitcher who hit the corners and let his defense get the outs.

To John Hughes, Ariola's opposing manager in one June game, Ariola was an unassuming pitcher who just beat him.

"He was one of those guys I sit there and say, 'We're gonna get him, we're gonna get him,'" Hughes told The Daily News after Ariola's 9-3 victory. "But we never did."

Ariola played in Alaska that summer, before his senior year at Northwestern. He went on to be drafted the next summer by the Athletics in the 26th round of the draft. But his time in the professional ranks would be brief, just four seasons. And it would end without him making the majors.

Ariola spent his first professional season at short-season Southern Oregon. There, he went 8-3, with a 2.63 ERA. One of those wins came in an August game, where he gave up three hits and no runs in seven innings against Bend. He also had a late-season 5-0 victory over Spokane. He gave up just two hits.

Ariola moved to single-A Madison, then AA Huntsville in 1989. At Madison that year, Ariola went 9-5, with a sterling ERA of 1.86 in 18 innings. At Huntsville, Ariola went 5-2 with a 3.41 ERA and earned a trip to AAA for 1990.

At AAA Tacoma in 1990, however, Ariola got into just six games, starting two. He didn't play at all in 1991.

He returned for 1992 for just five more games. He started three at single-A Madison, then two more at AA Huntsville, going 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA between them. But they were Ariola's final games as a professional. His career ended without making the majors.

That year, Ariola's old high school coach spoke to The Chicago Tribune about the coach's more recent players. The coach compared that plaer to Ariola and another player.

Ariola was still fresh on Fenwick High School Coach Dave Hogan's mind. "Ariola," Hogan told The Tribune, "probably had the best fastball out of the group."

The Greatest 21 Days caught up with Tony Ariola in November 2011, read the two-part interview: Tony Ariola, Overcame Obstacles

Friday, January 30, 2015

Steve Callahan, Called Blazing - 2545

Steve Callahan's fastball was called blazing. That fastball helped his Lewis-Clark American Legion team be called state champions, according to The Spokane Spokesman-Review.

Callahan took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of this August 1985 Idaho State American Legion Baseball Tournament. Lewis-Clark ended up winning by a score of 11-4, The Spokesman-Review wrote.

Four years later Callahan would take that fastball to the pros. He couldn't take it to a long career. He played four seasons as a pro. He never made AA.

Callahan's pro career began in 1989, taken by the Giants in the 17th round of the draft out of Lewis-Clark State College in Idaho.

At Lewis-Clark State, Callahan made second-team NAIA All-American in 1988. That June, helped his team to another NAIA title, Callahan named series MVP.

With the Giants, Callahan started at short-season Everett. In 26 relief outings, he picked up six wins, six saves and a 2.25 ERA.

He moved to single-A Clinton in 1990. In 41 outings there, he had a 2.25 ERA. He got another 41 outings at high-A San Jose in 1991 and he had an even-better ERA of 2.09.

Callahan stayed in the California League for 1992, but switched to the Athletics system and high-A Modesto. He picked up nine wins in 49 outings, saving seven games. He ended with a 3.53 ERA. It was his final season as a pro.
1990 CMC-Pro Cards Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:1,905
Made the Majors: 877 - 46.1%
Never Made Majors: 1,028-53.9%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 374
10+ Seasons in the Minors:218

Jason McFarlin, Speedy Scout - 2563

Originally published Dec. 4, 2010
Writing about a young Mississippi high schooler, Jason McFarlin saw big things ahead.

McFarlin watched the teen first baseman as a guest scout at the All-American Pro Day Showcase. The youngster was fun to watch, McFarlin wrote in his report.

"This young man is very strong, and has the ability to win ball games with a single swing of the bat," McFarlin wrote in the report available at "He most impressed me in batting practice, he was hitting homers off his fist."

McFarlin wrote as someone who was once scouted himself and, at least one team thought highly enough of him to take him in the third round. The Giants selected McFarlin out of Pensacola High School.

McFarlin also wasn't as much of a power hitter as the player he was scouting at the showcase, McFarlin was notable for his speed, stealing as many as 73 bases in a season.

But in a professional career that spanned nine seasons, McFarlin never stole a spot in the majors.

After his selection by the Giants in 1989, McFarlin played at short-season Everett. In 37 games there, McFarlin hit no home runs and stole just seven bases, hitting .260.

He sped up for 1990, however. McFarlin hit at a slower clip with the single-A Clinton Giants, but picked up his speed. He hit .227, still without a home run. But he also swiped his career-best 73 bases.

McFarlin made it to high-A San Jose in 1991, swiping another 46 bags. He also hit two home runs. He made AA Shreveport for a time in 1992 and 1993, making Shreveport full time in 1994. That year, he hit .284 with five home runs and 21 stolen bases.

He returned to Shreveport for 1995, hitting a stellar .337. But his speed began to slow down. He stole just eight bases. It was his final season in the Giants system.

His next year was his last in affiliated ball. But he also got his only taste of AAA. He played most of the year with the Braves at AA Greenville. But he also played five games in the Rangers system, two at AA Tulsa and three at AAA Oklahoma City. In 12 at bats at AAA, McFarlin got two hits and no stolen bases.

McFarlin took one more look at professional ball, in 1998. He played 10 games for independent Sonoma County of the Western League.

These days, McFarlin is listed as a baseball scout for Sports Management WorldWide, based in his hometown of Pensacola.
1990 CMC-Pro Cards Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:1,904
Made the Majors: 877 - 46.1%
Never Made Majors: 1,027-53.9%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 374
10+ Seasons in the Minors:218

John Mizerock, Big Hit - 262

Originally published Sept. 1, 2011
Mike Scott got his 10th win in 1985 and credited with helping the Astros to that win was Scott's catcher, John Mizerock.

In just his second game of the season, Mizerock hit a three-run double and later scored.

"Mizerock's double was really the big hit of the game," Scott told UPI afterward. "It broke it wide open."

Mizerock went on to hit three more doubles for the Astros in 15 appearances in 1985. He got only five others through his major league career, playing parts of four seasons and 103 total games in the bigs.

Since his professional career ended, Mizerock has gone on to a long managerial and coaching career, including one brief stint managing in the major leagues with the Royals.

Mizerock's career began in 1979, taken by the Astros in the first round, eighth overall, out of Punxatawnie High in Pennsylvania.

Mizerock started that year at single-A Daytona Beach, returning there for 1980. He hit .257 his first year and .211 his second, hitting five home runs between them. One of those home runs was a grand slam in August 1980.

Mizerock made AA Columbus briefly in 1981, then all of 1982. The catcher hit .229 with 12 home runs that year for Columbus.

In 1983, he hit major league Houston, debuting in April then coming back in June and in August. In August, Mizerock hit his first major league home run, along with his third major league double.

In that first season, Mizerock got into 33 games for Houston, getting 13 hits in 85 at bats, good for a .153 average.

He didn't return to Houston until 1985, getting into 15 more games and nine more hits. In 1986, he got into the most games he would get into in a season, 44. He hit .185.

After 1986, Mizerock was released. For 1987, Mizerock signed with the Braves. He played that year and the next two at AAA Richmond. In 1989, the veteran catcher worked with young Braves pitcher Tommy Greene.

"He's got a little better curve this year," Mizerock told The Newport News Daily Press that April. "But the big thing is that he's making the pitch he has to with men on base now."

He made his final run in the majors as a September call up in 1989. He got into 11 final games, hitting .222.

One more season in the Braves organization and Mizerock's playing career ended. By 1993, the former catcher was a manager, at short-season Eugene. As manager of Eugene, Mizerock told The Eugene Register-Guard his philosophy of winning.

"What you try to do is put everybody in a situation where they can be successful," Mizerock told The Register-Guard. "That's where you have your best chance to win."

Mizerock managed at Rockford in 1994, then Wilmington in 1995 and Wichita in 1998. In 2000, he hit AAA Omaha as manager. He moved up to Kansas City in 2002 as bullpen coach.

When Royals manager Tony Muser was fired, Mizerock took over as manager for 17 total games.

"I'm a kid in a candy store now, however long it is, it's going to be great," Mizerock told The Associated Press after being named interim manager in late April. "I'm perfectly fine with the interim being in front of my name. I don't deserve anything other than that."

It also took him seven games to get his first win. Mizerock went on to return to coaching for the Royals, as a third base coach and bullpen coach. For 2011, Mizerock joined the Phillies as hitting coach at single-A Clearwater.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Carl Hanselman, Good Athlete - 2540

Carl Hanselman was his high school team's ace. And as such, was given all the tough games, his coach Gerald Hodgin told The Orlando Sentinel in May 1988.

Hanselman responded by throwing five no-hitters over his high school career.

"He has all the tools to be one of the best pitchers ever to come out of this area," Hodgin, the head coach at Florida's Merritt Island High School, told The Sentinel. "He's a good athlete with a super arm and he is a competitor that wants to win.''

Hanselman soon went directly from Merritt Island to the pros. He ultimately played professionally for eight seasons. He made AAA, but he never made the majors.

Hanselman's career began that June, taken by the Giants in the fourth round of the draft out of Merritt.

Hanselman started with the Giants at rookie Pocatello. In 12 outings, 11 starts, Hanselman went 1-8, with a 8.34 ERA.

His season got off to a poor start after a blister formed in his first game and gave up several runs on eight hits in his second, The Sentinel wrote.

''I was throwing the ball really good and really hard, but it's one of those things," Hanselman told The Sentinel. "They hit a lot of base hits to the right side and only three were hit hard, but they were all falling.''

Hanselman started 1989 at single-A Clinton, moving to short-season Everett mid-year. He had a 4.86 ERA on the year and a 3-15 record.

He returned to Clinton for 1990, improving his record to 9-10, with a 3.23 mark. His best years record-wise came in 1991 and 1992. He went 13-7 at high-A San Jose in 1991, then 14-9 between San Jose and AA Shreveport in 1992.

Hanselman made AAA Phoenix in 1993. In 21 outings, 13 starts, he went 2-6, with a 5.98 ERA. It was his final season in the Giants system.

For 1994, Hanselman moved to independent ball and Beaumont. He got 31 outings mostly in relief, iwth a 4.22 ERA. He also returned to affiliated ball for one more season, with the Phillies at AA Reading, ending his career.
1990 CMC-Pro Cards Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:1,904
Made the Majors: 877 - 46.1%
Never Made Majors: 1,027-53.9%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 374
10+ Seasons in the Minors:218
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