Saturday, March 23, 2019

Everett Cunningham, Could Pitch - 6

Everett Cunningham started 1989 at single-A Gastonia rough, to the point that the pitcher got pulled from the rotation, The Chicago Tribune wrote.

Then the organization gave him some time to get his confidence back, The Tribune wrote.

"He never looked back," Rangers minor league director Marty Scott told The Tribune. "Right then, you had to say, 'Wow, this guy could pitch in the big leagues."

Cunningham finished that campaign, his second in the pros, with a 9-5 record and a 2.52 ERA. He went on to play just two more seasons. He never made the bigs.

Cunningham's career began in 1988, taken by the Rangers in the fourth round of the draft out of Northwestern University.

Cunningham started with the Rangers at rookie Butte. He went 6-4 over 14 starts, with a 6.01 ERA. He then moved to Gastonia and turned in the 2.52 ERA over 27 outings, 20 starts.

He split 1990 between AA Tulsa and high-A Port Charlotte. Cunningham went 13-5 between them, with a 3.27 ERA. He pitched a perfect inning of an April Tulsa no-hitter.

Cunningham then started 1991 back at Tulsa. He got into 21 games and had a 6.97 ERA. He then moved to the Padres and AA Wichita. In 16 relief outings there, he amassed a 8.17 ERA to end his career.

Cunningham has since gone into the health care industry. He is listed in 2019 as senior vice president for commercial sales and marketing with Quest Diagnostics.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,087
Made the Majors:1,130-36.6%
Never Made Majors:1,957-63.4%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 469
10+ Seasons in the Minors:281

Donald Harris, Run Down - 10

Originally published Feb. 11, 2012
Donald Harris saw the ball come off the White Sox bat, at first he just sat there, he told The Chicago Tribune. Then he took off.

The first-place White Sox looked to clinch the division. Harris catching that bloop would help prevent that, at least preventing them from doing it against Harris' Rangers. Harris ran it down.

"Just hearing of the words from those guys over there, about how they wanted to win (the division) in front of the second-place team, gave me the determination to get there," Harris told The Tribune afterward. "There was no way we wanted to let them win it here against us."

Harris was in his third season with time running down fly balls in the majors, balls the opposing team didn't want him to catch.

It was a skill that not only helped Harris in baseball, but it also helped him on the football field, as a defensive back at Texas Tech and a brief training camp signee with the Cowboys.

While Harris' baseball career with the Rangers would be a bit longer than his football career with the Cowboys. His big league career, though, still lasted through parts of only three seasons, ending days after that game-saving catch against the White Sox.

Harris' career began out of college, taken by the Rangers in the first round of the 1989 draft out of Texas Tech. Harris was taken two spots ahead of Frank Thomas.

At Texas Tech, Harris played both baseball and football. In baseball, he hit over .300 in both 1988 and 1989.

In October 1987, Harris contributed to a 42-0 win over Tulsa - a city in which he would later play baseball - by intercepting a Tulsa pass on their first possession, running it back 64 yards to set up Texas Tech's first touchdown.

Signing with the Rangers, Harris played 1989 at rookie league Butte, hitting .284, with six home runs. His second year, though, saw Harris' batting average dropping below .200, between AA Tulsa and single-A Gastonia. He also hit four home runs between them.

Harris returned to Tulsa for 1991. He still hit just .227, but he did win a September call up to Texas. He got into 18 games, again mostly on defense. His plate appearance totaled nine, but he did get three hits.

For 1992, Harris returned to Tulsa to start the year. By July, he was back in Texas. He got into 12 games that month, getting three hits in 21 at bats.

Then he turned to his old game, football. He signed a two-year deal with Dallas, joining the team on its trip that year to Japan.

"He's not crossing off baseball," his agent Jordan Woy told The Associated Press, "but he wants to see if he can be among the select few to play both sports."

Harris, though, was cut before August was out. It'd been too long since he last played. But he answered a question for himself, Harris told The AP.

"When I first came out, I was wondering if I could play the game," Harris told The AP. "Now, I realize that if I'd have come straight out of college, I would've definitely been able to play the game."

Harris returned to the Rangers. In September, he returned to the majors. He got into 12 more games, getting three more hits.

He then got his 40 games in 1993. But he still just got 15 hits in 76 at bats, for a .197 average. It was his final season in the majors.

Harris, though, continued playing into 2000. He played in the Rangers system into 1995, then moved to the independent leagues, playing at Bend, Lubbock, Madison and elsewhere, ending his career.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Nathanael Felix, His Name - 7

Nathanael Felix' signed with the Yankees out of his native Dominican Republic, likely hoping to make his name in the United States.

His career didn't end up that way. He played a single season as a pro. His career also left behind some question over his name itself, or at least the spelling.

Felix was fortunate to get his own baseball card, a rarity when a player's only season is in the rookie Gulf Coast League. But he is listed on his one card, his 1990 Diamond Gulf Coast League Yankees card, under the name Nathanael Felix, both front and back.

Baseball Reference and The Baseball Cube, however, have him under the more-standard spelling Nathaniel Felix.

An outside source for his name could not be found, leaving the spelling unclear. What is clear is that Felix' career lasted all 42 games. He saw time at second base and at shortstop, but he didn't return for a second campaign.

Felix' brief career started and ended in 1990, having been signed by the Yankees as a free agent out of Santo Domingo.

Once in Florida, the Yankees assigned him to the GCL. He got into those 42 games and hit .226. He picked up one triple. He knocked in 11 runners. He also stole seven bases. Those numbers marked the extent of his career.

1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,086
Made the Majors:1,130-36.6%
Never Made Majors:1,956-63.4%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 469
10+ Seasons in the Minors:281

Monty Fariss, Some Advantages - 7

Originally published April 23, 2010
While it might not have been as unusual as a left-handed second basemen, Monty Fariss still got some looks at his chosen position of shortstop, according to The South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Listed at up to 6 feet, 5 inches tall, Fariss was a rare tall fielder at short, something Fariss was unconcerned about talking to The Sun-Sentinel in 1991.

"Shortstop has felt like my natural position ever since I first started playing as a kid. Being big has never bothered me, or hurt my play," Fariss told The Sun-Sentinel. "Being a big shortstop gives me some advantages. I can cover as much or more ground than anyone going from side to side, and offensively I can hit with some power."

"A big shortstop has the ability to field and really produce at the plate," he told The Sun-Sentinel. "That's a great combination."

Fariss spoke to The Sun-Sentinel as he was fighting for a spot that spring on the Rangers' roster. He wouldn't make it that spring, but he did make Texas as a September call-up.

He never really produced at the plate. And he never made it as a shortstop.

Fariss was taken by the Rangers in the first round of the 1988 draft, the sixth pick overall. The Oklahoma State product was sent almost directly to AA Tulsa, where he stayed into 1990. He made AAA Oklahoma City that year.

He got the callup to Dallas in September 1991, playing in 19 games that month. He hit .258 and had one home run. He also played outfield and second base, no short.

He played 67 more games with Texas in 1992 posting just a .217 batting average before being selected by the Marlins in the expansion draft. Eighteen games with Florida in 1993 with a .173 batting average and Fariss' major league career was done.

Fariss stayed on with Florida at AAA for 1994 and returned briefly with the Cubs at AAA Iowa in 1995 and Fariss was done.

But in spring training 1992, the tall non-shortstop battled for a Rangers starting job. Julio Franco was injured, and there was talk of Fariss starting the opener.

"I don't know," Fariss told The Sarasota Herald-Tribune about starting. "I hope so. If he (Franco) is ready to go, then he'll be the second baseman. I think it's just a matter of me being ready to go in case he's not. I just want to take advantage of the opportunity."

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Brian Faw, Pro Ball - 6

Brian Faw nearly pitched a no-hitter for Greensboro in this May 1991 game. A single up the middle in the fourth proved the only hit he'd give up, according to The Greensboro News & Record.

Faw, though, was fine with the outcome, he told The News & Record afterward.

"The only other time I've pitched a no-hitter was in high school," Faw told The News & Record. "I had it on my mind, but I'm just as happy with a one-hitter, especially since it came in pro ball."

Faw's pro ball near-no-hitter came in his second professional season. He went on to see three more. He never saw AAA.

Faw's career began in 1990, taken by the Yankees in the 17th round of the draft out of Clemson University.

Faw signed with the Yankees on their third attempt at getting him. They drafted him twice before, in 1987 and 1988, but he didn't sign.

After his first selection in 1987, Faw told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he'd go to college if the money wasn't enough. But he was still happy to be taken by the Yankees.

"I was glad they drafted me," Faw told The Journal-Constitution. "It shows that they're interested in me and that I've been doing well It's nice to know that all the hard work pays off."

When he eventually did sign in 1990, Faw played his first year between the rookie Gulf Coast League and short-season Oneonta. He started 12 games in the GCL and pitched in one at Oneonta. Overall, he went 7-5, with a 2.38 ERA.

He moved to single-A Greensboro for 1991, where he went 11-7, with a 2.13 ERA. He took some time out in August to meet with some day campers.

Faw played 1993 with single-A Fort Lauderdale, then 1993 with AA Albany-Colonie. He went 9-5 in mostly relief work there, with a 5.23 ERA. He returned to Albany-Colonie for one more season in 1994. He went 4-6, with a 5.62 ERA to end his career.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,085
Made the Majors:1,130-36.6%
Never Made Majors:1,955-63.4%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 469
10+ Seasons in the Minors:281

Felipe Castillo, Too Much - 5

Originally published Feb. 26, 2012
Joined by their roots, Rangers minor leaguers Sammy Sosa, Juan Gonzalez, Ray Sanchez and Felipe Castillo spent much time together in 1986 as players in the rookie Gulf Coast League, Sosa wrote in his autobiography.

They also spent time eating together, to the eventual dismay of a local restaurant owner, Sosa wrote.

"During extended spring training, Sunday was our only day off," Sosa wrote, according to John Morrison's book on the slugger, "so we would always go there ... I remember the owner couldn't believe how much we could eat. And after a while, he'd see us coming and yell, 'No, no! No ballplayers! You eat too much!"

Unlike the others at that restaurant table, who would make the majors, Castillo would not. In a career where he is recorded playing as late as 2001, Castillo made it to AAA, but never made the bigs.

Castillo's career began in 1986, signed by the Rangers as an undrafted free agent out of his native Dominican Republic.

Castillo spent that first year getting into 13 games in relief for the rookie league team. In 14.2 innings of work, he gave up 13 earned runs and picked up a loss.

He moved to single-A Gastonia in 1987, turning starter. He went 7-8, with a 4.36 ERA. He played the next season largely back at Gastonia, with four games in the Florida State League at Port Charlotte. In 27 total starts, he went 7-11, but had a 3.00 ERA.

Castillo made it to AA Tulsa for 1989, going 8-12, with a 4.42 ERA. It was back to Tulsa to start 1990, but Castillo eventually got promoted to AAA Oklahoma City. At Oklahoma City, Castillo got into 20 games, mostly in relief, posting a 3.45 ERA.

Castillo is not recorded playing in the U.S. again until 1995, but, in 1994, he spent time playing in Taiwan, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Castillo returned to Tulsa in 1995 for 14 games in relief. Castillo isn't recorded by Baseball Reference as playing again until 2001, with independent Fort Worth. He played five games there and five games with Cordoba, marking the extent of his recorded playing career.

  • The Great Hispanic Heritage: Sammy Sosa, John Morrison, 2006: Page 32

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Carl Everett, Played Hard - 5

Traded from the Ranges to the White Sox mid-2003, Carl Everett explained to The Associated Press the kid of player he'd be in Chicago.

He also hoped to help his new club win.

"I'm going to go there and play the game I always play," Everett told The AP. "I play hard and I play to win. It feels good that a team like that thinks that I'm one of the missing pieces to their team."

Everett moved to the White Sox as a two-time All-Star, having had a decade in the majors already behind him. He went on to play in three more seasons - and, after a brief detour  help those same White Sox to the 2005 World Series title.

Everett also gained a reputation over his 14 seasons in the majors as being controversial.

Everett's career began in 1990, taken by the Yankees 10th overall in the draft out of Hillsborough High School in Florida.

Everett started with the Yankees in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He hit .259 in 48 games. He made high-A with the Yankees in 1992, then, left unprotected, the Marlins selected him in the expansion draft.

Everett made AAA Edmonton that year. He also got an 11-game look in Florida. He saw another 16 games n 1994, before being traded to the Mets for 1995.

Everett made 79 games with the Mets in 1995 and hit .260, with 12 home runs. Everett then played that off-season in Venezuela. He got into an argument with an umpire in one game and then went into the stands. The incident got him banned from the league, The New York Times wrote.

"I don't think I have a history of this, but people have labeled me as having an attitude problem because I'm not verbal," Everett, who apologized, told The Times. "But when I do talk, I tend to say things that offend people when I'm angry."

Everett returned to the Mets for 199 and 1997. He hit .240 and .248.  He then played 1998 and 1999 with the Astros and he arrived in Boston for 2000.

In 2000, Everett hit .300, with 34 home runs and 108 RBI. He also won is first All-Star nod.

Of signing Everett, Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette pointed to newfound success Everett showed the previous year, according to Sports Illustrated.

"His numbers from the second half of last season showed he learned how to hit with power," Duquette told SI. "Plus, I believe Carl has matured as far as understanding what he has to do to be an elite ballplayer."

Everett played one more season with Boston, but his relationship with the club eventually soured.

He played 2002 with the Rangers and moved mid-2003 to the White Sox. He hit .301 down the stretch that year. After moving to the Expos to start 2004, he was traded back to the White Sox, where he remained through 2005.

In the 2005 World Series, Everett went 3 for 7 in the first two games and scored a run. He then finished out his career with the Mariners in 2006.

Everett then continued in the independent Atlantic League for four more seasons, before ending his career in 2010.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,084
Made the Majors:1,130-36.6%-X
Never Made Majors:1,954-63.4%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 469-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:281

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