Thursday, January 18, 2018

John Jarvis, Good Start - 8

Originally published Jan. 17, 2015
John Jarvis helped his Prince William Cannons to a good start in this June 1991 game, according to The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star.

Jarvis knocked an RBI single in the first inning in a game Prince William went on to win by a score of 5-1, The Free Lance-Star wrote.

For Jarvis, that RBI was one of just seven he had for the team in 30 games on the year. Those RBI were also the last seven of his brief career. He played just three seasons, never making AA.

Jarvis' career began in 1989, taken by the Yankees in the 32nd round of the draft out of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

Jarvis played his first season with the Yankees in the rookie Gulf Coast League. The catcher got into 23 games there, hitting just .189. He also hit one home run.

He moved to single-A Greensboro in 1990. There, he got into 60 games on the year. He hit .247, with three home runs and 18 RBI.

For 1991, Jarvis made high-A Prince William, but his playing time was brief. He got into just 30 games and hit just .165. It was his final season as a pro.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Jesse Cross, Biggest Day - 6

After three seasons in the Blue Jays system where he made AA, Jesse Cross appeared in December 1991 to have his best chance yet at making the majors, according to The Fort Oglethorpe Press.

That's because the Twins selected him in the Rule 5 draft and with it came the potential of making a major league roster, The Press wrote.

"This is probably one of the biggest days of my baseball career," Cross told The Press. "I'm finding out a little more as time goes on, but it looks good, I mean real good. I just want to get in top shape and be ready when I get there."

Cross went to spring training with the Twins in 1992, but he didn't make the team. He also returned to the Blue Jays. In all, Cross played in six professional seasons. He made AAA, but not the bigs.

Cross' career began in 1989, having been taken by the Blue Jays in the 62nd round of the previous year's draft out of Middle Georgia College.

Cross started with the Blue Jays at single-A Myrtle Beach. He went 7-8, with a 3.51 ERA over 36 outings, 13 starts. He moved to high-A Dunedin for 1990, where he went 13-7, with a 3.29 ERA.

He made AA Knoxville 1991, where he ended with a 2.83 ERA and a 10-9 mark. He also caught the eye of the Twins.

Though Cross didn't make the Twins that spring, he did get to face Jose Canseco with the bases loaded. Cross struck him out, according to The Chattanooga Times Free Press years later.

"That was my highlight," Cross told The Times Free Press. "That's my best memory of playing pro baseball."

Cross played 1992 mostly back at Knoxville. He did get a four-game look at AAA Syracuse. He then returned to Syracuse for 1993 and 1994. He went 8-6 and 14-11 to end his career.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,879
Made the Majors:1,073-37.3%
Never Made Majors:1,806-62.7%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 444
10+ Seasons in the Minors:267

Jeff Hoffman, Lot of Class - 6

Originally published Sept. 7, 2011
The Albany-Colonie Yankees scored early in this Aug. 30, 1992 game, but the game entered extras tied at three.

It was a game that the AA Yankees needed, not so much for their playoff run, but to honor their teammate, Jeff Hoffman. Hoffman passed away just over 24 hours earlier, claimed by an undiagnosed heart ailment.

"I think I speak for the whole team, this is the best win I've ever experienced," A-C Yankee Russell Davis told The Schenectady Daily Gazette after singling home the winning run in the 10th. "I didn't want to play, but we told ourselves we had to go out there and suck it up because that's what Jeff would have wanted."

After a five-year career in the minors, Hoffman earned his way to AA Albany for 1992, serving a dual role as a starter and a reliever that year.

But he never had the chance to make the majors. On a road trip to Binghamton, Hoffman was found dead in his hotel room Aug. 29. Tests later revealed he passed away of an irregular heartbeat, brought on by a heart problem.

Hoffman was married, his wife three months pregnant.

Hoffman's career began in 1988, taken by the Yankees in the 14th round of the draft out of Vanderbilt. With the Yankees, Hoffman started at short-season Oneonta, giving up five earned runs in 12.2 innings of work.

Hoffman moved to single-A Fort Lauderdale in 1989, getting into 23 games in relief, posting an ERA of 5.19.

For 1990, though, Hoffman broke out with single-A Greensboro. Getting into 47 games, working 116 innings, Hoffman posted a sterling ERA of 1.47. He also struck out 93.

Hoffman kept it up in 1991, with high-A Prince William. Hoffman went 12-5, with a 2.87 ERA in a mixture of starts and relief appearances. He started 14 games.

It was as a starter that Hoffman preferred to be used, he told The Daily Gazette in May 1992. He'd been a starter at Vanderbilt. But he also knew he had to pitch however the team needed him to pitch, and that was as a reliever.

"You can talk to (management) but I don't think it does any good," Hoffman told The Daily Gazette that May. "Whatever they tell you, you've got to do."

Hoffman did just that, getting into 35 games for AA Albany-Colonie, starting 14 games and relieving in 21.

But, by the time the season was out, Hoffman was gone.

The A-C Yankees made the playoffs, but the games took place with the backdrop of mourning.

The team wore Hoffman's initials on their left sleeves and his number 38 on the back of their caps, The Daily Gazette wrote. His uniform also had an honored spot in the dugout. The New York Yankees flew the team to Michigan for Hoffman's funeral, which took place on a playoff travel day.

Albany ended up losing in the first round to Canton, three games to none.

"I would have liked to have won. It would have been a fairy tale ending," A-C Yankees manager Dan Radison told The Daily Gazette after the playoff series loss. "It was a real emotional time, and this team showed a lot of class."

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Bill Monbouquette, Pitching Teacher - 27

Oneonta coach Bill Monbouquette spotted rival Lowell hitter Hanley Ramirez in 2002 and heaped praise on the young man.

"He’s got a chance to be a franchise player, and I don’t use that term lightly," Monbouquette told Baseball America. "When I say franchise player, I’m talking like a Garciaparra, a Ken Griffey before he got hurt, a Bonds maybe without as many home runs."

Monbouquette's assessment of the future All-Star Ramirez came from experience, more than four decades of it as both a coach and as a player.

As a player, Monbouquette spent 11 seasons in the bigs, made three All-Star teams himself and, for one night in 1962, was nearly perfect as he threw a no-hitter for the Red Sox.

As a coach, Monbouquette served as a coach in the major leagues with the Mets and the Yankees before embarking on a minor league coaching career that took him through the Blue Jays and Tigers systems.

Monbouquette's long career in baseball began in 1955, signed by the Red Sox out of Medford High School in Massachusetts.

He played his first season at Class D Corning and Bluefield. He made Class B Greensboro and Class A Albany in 1957. In 1958, he made Boston.

Monbouquette got into 10 games there his first year and 34 in his second. In his third, he made the All-Star team. He went 14-11 that year, with a 3.64 ERA.

He made his second Mid-Summer Classic in 1962, then he threw his no-hitter. That August, he beat the White Sox 1-0, without giving up a hit.

"I knew it all the way," Monbouquette told UPI afterward. "Nobody on the bench said anything about it."

He saw another possible no-hitter evaporate in September 1964 on a Zoilo Versalles home run.

Monbouquette played eight seasons for the Red Sox and became a fan favorite in the process. His best season may have been 1963, when he went 20-10.

He last played in 1968, finishing out his 11-season career with the Tigers, Yankees and Giants.

He then turned to coaching and scouting. He served as manager at rookie Johnson City in 1969, then Wausau in 1976 and Mets minor league pitching instructor. In 1982, he moved up to Queens as Mets pitching coach.

"It is a great pleasure to add Bill Monbouquette to our coaching staff," Mets GM Frank Cashen told UPI. "He brings with him a multitude of strengths. He is a first class instructor. He knows our personnel, having worked with most of them in our minor league system and his past success as a major league pitcher speaks for itself."

He moved to the Yankees as major league pitching coach in 1985. He arrived with the Blue Jays in 1988 as coach at single-A Myrtle Beach. He then coached at high-A Dunedin in 1989.

He arrived at short-season Oneonta for 2000 and stayed for five seasons. He made the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2000, as well. He passed away in 2015 at the age of 78.

"He was a gutsy guy, straightforward," former Red Sox teammate Ted Lepcio told The Boston Globe after Monbouquette's passing, "and not only a very good pitcher, but an excellent teacher of pitching, and we remained friends ever since our playing days."
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,878
Made the Majors:1,073-37.3%-X
Never Made Majors:1,805-62.7%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 444
10+ Seasons in the Minors:267

Sterling Hitchcock, Great Way - 5

Originally published Jan. 23, 2012
The Yankees were within striking distance of the division lead in late-August 1993 and they turned to their young left hander Sterling Hitchock to keep it that way.

Hitchcock responded by throwing seven scoreless and picking up the win, his first in the majors.

"It's a lot of fun to look around, see the guys excited, and know the importance of what's going on here," Hitchcock told The Associated Press. "A win is a win, but a win in the middle of a pennant race - it's a great way to get your first one."

Hitchcock would go on to get 73 other major league wins in a career that spanned 13 seasons. He would also get some of the biggest wins in San Diego's limited playoff history.

Hitchcock's career began in 1989, taken by the Yankees in the ninth round of the draft out of Seffner High School in Florida.

He played that first season in the rookie Gulf Coast League, going 9-1, with a 1.64 ERA. He moved to single-A Greensboro for 1990. He made AA Albany-Colonie by 1992.

That September in 1992, Hitchcock also debuted in The Bronx. He started three games for the Yankees, going 0-2, with an 8.31 ERA. In his debut, though, he went six innings, giving up just one earned run and getting a no-decision.

"I was impressed with his stuff," Yankees Manager Buck Showalter told The New York Times afterward. "He didn't seem in awe or intimidated by the situation. He could easily have come out of the outing without giving up any runs."

Hitchcock got six starts, including that first win, in 1993. In 1994, Hitchcock got 23 outings while experimenting as a reliever.

Over the next five seasons Hitchcock returned to starting. He also got no fewer than 27 starts in a season. In 1995, his last year with the Yankees, Hitchcock went 11-10, with a 4.70 ERA.

Traded to the Mariners for 1996 in the Tino Martinez deal, Hitchcock went 13-9, with a 5.35 ERA. Hitchcock then got traded again, to the Padres.

He went 10-11 in 1997, then 9-7 in 1998. But it was the 1998 post-season where Hitchcock made his name with the Padres. He picked up a win in the NLDS, then two in the NLCS. In the NLCS, Hitchcock pitched in 10 innings, giving up one earned run. He also won series MVP honors.

"I can't explain it," Hitchcock told The AP as the Padres prepared for the World Series. "I was able to kick it up a notch with my intensity. It really isn't anything that I've done, but this whole team battling and playing well together."

In the World Series, though, both Hitchcock and the Padres went without a win. Hitchcock, though, would get his World Series win three years later, back with the team that drafted him, the Yankees. Hitchcock picked up the win in Game 5 of the 2001 World Series.

Hitchcock played in three more seasons, finishing in 2004 with the Padres again. Injuries, though, forced him out that September.

"This is not the way you want to go out, obviously," Hitchcock told The AP after announcing his retirement. "There are very few who get to choose the way they want to go out."

Monday, January 15, 2018

1990 Bend Bucks

Features on each member of the 1990 Bend Bucks, short-season Northwest League co-op team.

Bend Bucks (32)
1 - Kelly Ahrens, Family Decision, 12/28/17
2 - Steve Avent, Game Winner, 1/10/18
3 - Bob Blankenship, Unusual Situation, 12/30/17
4 - Mike Bubalo, Unique Perspective, 1/7/18
5 - Bucky, Next Chicken, 1/4/18
6 - Bonell Chevalier, Improved Confidence, 12/26/17
7 - Gene Dusan, Something Different, 12/29/17
8 - Pedro Frias, Learned From, 12/20/17
9 - Jim Gibbs, Like This, 12/18/17
10 - Dan Henrikson, In Command, 12/23/17
11 - Shannon Hunt, Many Levels, 1/2/18
12 - Marty Hunter, His Approach, 12/21/17
13 - Mickey Hyde, In Play, 12/24/17
14 - Joe Klonoski, Praise Heaped, 12/19/17
15 - Sean Krokroskia, Top Competitor, 12/25/17
16 - Jason Lundgren, Bat Boys, 1/14/18
17 - Mario Lyons, Picked Off, 1/13/17
18 - Glenn McCormick, Early Success, 1/3/18
19 - Audy Mesa, His Tools, 1/12/18
20 - Russ Miller, Hurt Him, 1/14/18
21 - Lonnie Potter, Playoff Win, 1/9/18
22 - Amner Reyes, Let Him, 12/31/17
23 - Jose Reyes, Starting Adjustment, 12/27/17
24 - Pedro Roa, Run Scored, 1/8/18
25 - Gary Ross, In There, 12/17/17
26 - Matt Russell, Bat Boys, 1/14/18
27 - Todd Russell, Good Stuff, 12/18/17
28 - Lee Sammons, Played Ball, 1/11/18
29 - Doug Twitty, Prepared To, 1/13/18
30 - Dan Varnell, Came Through, 12/29/17
31 - Darrell Wagner, Unexpected Curves, 1/1/18
32 - Chuck Wanke, That Doubt, 12/22/17

Jim Haller, Double Play - 4

Originally published Jan. 16, 2015
Jim Haller's Albany-Colonie Yankees lost this July 1993 game, but Haller did his best to keep them in the contest, according to The Schenectady Daily Gazette.

Coming on in the sixth inning, Haller finished out the game, giving up only one unearned run. In the sixth, he also got out of a bases loaded jam by inducing an inning-ending double play, The Daily Gazette wrote.

"He did a great job," AA Yankees manager Bill Evers told The Daily Gazette. "He got the big double play."

Haller pitched well that day, but his days pitching professionally didn't last much longer. That season was his fifth as a pro. It was also his last.

Haller's career began in 1989, taken by the Yankees in the 24th round of the draft out of Kansas State University.

Haller played his first season in the rookie Gulf Coast League. In 24 relief outings, he posted a 2.36 ERA and saved eight games.

He moved to single-A Greensboro, getting into 52 games. He had a 2.99 ERA and he saved 14 games.

In 1991, it was high-A Prince William. He also had an even better ERA, 1.95. In 1992, it was high-A Fort Lauderdale. He had a 3.06 ERA in 41 outings there.

Haller got promoted to AA Albany-Colonie in 1993. He pitched a scoreless inning in May. Two scoreless innings of work in a June game got him a win. Overall, he had a 3.99 ERA and a 2-2 record. It was his final year as a pro.

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