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Friday, February 21, 2020

Doug Simpson played three sports in high school, a season in pro baseball, became fireman

Doug Simpson played three sports in high school, football, basketball and baseball, according to The Kentucky Advocate-Messenger.

But one of his coaches at Garrard County High School in Kentucky believed he knew what Simpson's post-high school sports career would center around, according to The Advocate-Messenger.

"He has a good arm in football and probably could play some small college football," the coach told The Advocate-Messenger. "He could-probably also play a second guard for a small college basketball team. But if you take a look at what he has the chance to be the most successful at it would have to be baseball. That's where his heart is, too."

Simpson went on from Garrard County to play in college, at Eastern Kentucky. He then went on to play baseball as a pro. His pro career, though, lasted a single campaign, one played at short-season Welland.

Simpson's pro career began and ended in 1990, taken by the Pirates in the 21st round of the draft out of Eastern Kentucky. Simpson was also credited by his given first name, Shelton Simpson.

At Garrard County, Simpson helped his football team to a win, throwing two passes for two touchdowns in an August 1984 game.

With the Pirates in 1990, Simpson took the field as a pitcher. He got into 18 games, starting one. He went 2-3, with a 2.77 ERA and one save to mark the extent of his career.

Simpson returned home to Garrard County become a fireman. He also returned to his old school and served for a time as the school's baseball coach, before leaving in 2012 to spend more time with his family.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,305
Made the Majors:1,186-35.9%
Never Made Majors:2,119-64.1%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 491
10+ Seasons in the Minors:286

Darin Kracl played over four seasons, made AA; Later admitted $4.7M in securities fraud

Originally published June 18, 2011
Starting against top-ranked Texas AandM, Brigham Young's Darin Kracl lasted just four outs in that late May 1989 game.

He stayed in long enough to give up 11 earned runs.

"Really, that was a counterfeit outing by Kracl," BYU coach Gary Pullins told The Deseret News afterward. "He was throwing the ball right down the middle, or walking them."

Oakland apparently decided that outing was also out of the norm for Kracl, selecting him that June in the fourth round of the draft. That started a professional career that lasted just three seasons, never getting to AA.

But Kracl would have other counterfeit outings, just not on the baseball diamond. He was charged in 2008 and later admitted to allegations stemming from securities fraud.

Investigators eventually determined he bilked from investors a total of $6.7 million, only $2 million of which had been recovered by 2009.

Back in 1989, though, none of that had happened. Kracl was a right-hander out of San Leandro, Ca., playing for BYU. He'd played baseball, football and basketball at San Leandro High, and even was struck on the mound by a line drive at a high school All-Star game. The resulting cut required 40 stitches to close, according to

His stats that year, his junior year, were 7-5 with a 6.55 ERA. In his first 27 innings, though, he had a 2.00 ERA. In April, he had a complete-game, five-hitter. In class, Kracl majored in recreational management administration.

As a pro, Kracl started at short-season Southern Oregon. In 15 starts, he posted an ERA of 3.69 and led the league with 10 wins to one defeat. He also faced Spokane in the playoffs, having beaten them soundly in one outing and got a no decision in a second.

"He was getting behind the hitters (last time), getting behind in the count," Spokane right fielder Jeff Barton told The Spokane Chronicle of his assessment of Kracl. "He was forced to come in with his fastball."

Coming off that year, Kracl moved on to have another stellar season at single-A Madison. He went 10-2, with a 1.98 ERA. A 12-game look at AA Huntsville that year, though, proved less than stellar. He went 4-6, with an ERA of 7.12.

His final season came in 1991, in the high-A California League. Between Modesto and independent Reno, Kracl went 3-8, with an ERA of 5.68.

Kracl went on to leave baseball, working for a time for Federal Express. When he returned for replacement ball in 1995, Kracl signed on with the Tigers. In one six-inning stretch, he didn't allow a run. The strike over, Kracl joined independent Corpus Christi for 14 final outings.

By 2007, Kracl had signed on with the St. George Roadrunners of the Golden Baseball League as pitching coach. He also became a managing partner in the team when a new ownership group came in that May. He was ejected from an August game for arguing a trick play.

By 2008, he was under arrest. Before a July 2009 auction of a memorabilia collection Kracl had amassed, the Utah Attorney General's office described Kracl as "a con man who promised riches" to clients, but never delivered. He didn't even have a securities license.

Kracl claimed high profits, of as much as 200 percent, in foreign securities trading. The money, however, went into Kracl's own pocket. He purchased vehicles, sports memorabilia and even put it into a minor league baseball team, an apparent reference to the Roadrunners.

"This auction," Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said in a statement, "is a chance for Utahns to own a part of sports history and help make some fraud victims whole at the same time."

Kracl was ultimately sentenced to 90 days in jail and ordered to immediately began restitution payments upon his release. With $2 million recovered, the total restitution owed by Kracl then amounted to $4.7 million. If he breaks the terms of the agreement, Kracl could face up to 15 years in state prison.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Rusty Kilgo pitched awfully well to start 1988 College World Series; Made AAA as a pro

Originally published Dec.  14, 2013
Arizona State head coach Jim Brock made the decision to start left-hander Rusty Kilgo in that opening game of the 1988 College World Series and it paid off with Kilgo going eight innings and the Sun Devils taking the game 4-2.

It paid off despite that start being the reliever Kilgo's first start of the year, and despite Brock bypassing 17-game winner Linty Ingram for that start, The Associated Press wrote.

"Any time you've got an All-American who leads the nation in wins and you don't start him in the opening game of the College World Series, the guy you start better pitch awfully well," Brock told The AP. "Kilgo was brilliant."

Kilgo would continue to help the Sun Devils in that starter role, helping them to the championship game. But his luck - and his team's - would run out there.

From there, Kilgo went on to an eight-year career as a reliever in the pros, one where he made AAA, but never made the majors.

Kilgo's career began in 1989, taken by the Expos in the 22nd round of the draft, out of Arizona State.

At Arizona State, Kilgo helped his team to that 1988 College World Series as a reliever. He then became the unexpected star, as a starter.

After that win in the tournament opener, Kilgo went on to get three others. Then, in the championship game against Stanford, Kilgo got the start again. This time, though, he didn't get out of the first inning and Stanford went on to win the game and the title.

With the Expos, Kilgo started at short-season Jamestown, getting 30 outings, three starts. He posted an ERA of 1.39. He also saved eight games.

He moved to single-A Rockford for 1990, then high-A West Palm Beach and AA Harrisburg for 1991. Between West Palm Beach and Harrisburg, Kilgo had a 2.08 ERA and six saves.

Kilgo moved to the Reds system shortly into 1992, playing the year at AA Chattanooga and single-A Cedar Rapids. After another year at Chattanooga, Kilgo played all of 1994 at AAA Indianapolis. There, over  50 outings, Kilgo posted a 4.04 ERA.

He returned to Chattanooga again for most of 1995. He also became a closer. Over 54 outings, and a 2.52 ERA, Kilgo saved a total of 29 games. He didn't get his first save until early May. He got his 28th in a late-August outing, without allowing a base runner.

Kilgo's final season came in 1996, with the Padres at AA Memphis. Over 48 outings, he had a 3.65 ERA and two saves, ending his career.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Rich Robertson moved his fastball over over six major league seasons

Rich Robertson picked up his first major league win the previous week in September 1995, now this week, he picked up his first complete-game win, The Chicago Tribune wrote.

"I moved my fastball in and out, and my sinker was good," Robertson told Tribune after the 6-1 victory. "The key was I was keeping it down. I got a lot of first-pitch outs, and that really helped."

Robertson had seen time in two previous major league seasons, though not as a starter. He went on to pitch in a total of six. In two of them, he started 31 and 26 games each.

Robertson's career began in 1990, taken by the Pirates in the ninth round of the draft out of Texas AandM.

Robertson started with the Pirates at short-season Welland. He went 3-4, with a 3.08 ERA. He made high-A Salem in 1991, then AA Carolina in 1992.

Then, in April 1993, he made Pittsburgh. Robertson saw nine games, giving up six earned in nine innings of work.

A few days before his major league debut, Robertson explained to The Buffalo News about his delivery, a hitch meant he had to pitch slower. Too rapid and he'd lose some control.

Later that month, ahead of Robertson's major league debut, Pirates manager Jim Leyland talked up Robertson to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"He's got a chance to develop into a good pitcher," Leyland told The Post-Gazette. "That's why we held onto him. We wanted to give him a chance to face some better hitters. We think he has a future."

His future, though, was largely elsewhere. He saw eight outings with the Pirates in 1994. He then moved to the Twins for 1995.

Robertson stayed with the Twins for three seasons. He saw 25 outings in 1995, then 36 in 1996. He went 7-17 for the Twins that year, with a 5.12 ERA.

He then got into 31 games, starting 26, in 1997. He went 8-12, with a 5.69 ERA. He moved to the Angels for 1998 and saw five final relief appearances there. He gave up 10 earned in 5.2 innings of work to end his major league career.

He played two more seasons, 1999 in affiliated ball and 2000 in independent ball to end his career.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,304
Made the Majors:1,186-35.9%-X
Never Made Majors:2,118-64.1%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 491-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:286

Steve Dunn liked batting cleanup, batted in majors in 19 games played over two seasons

Originally published Oct. 24, 2014
When the Salt Lake cleanup hitter got called up in July 1995, Steve Dunn stepped into his spot in the batting order, according to The Deseret News.

He also quickly made himself at home, going 2 for 4 in one game, knocking a home run.

"I like hitting (in the cleanup position),"  Dunn told The News. "It's definitely a big RBI spot and I wanted to see what I could do there."

Dunn had already had a shot to see what he could do in the majors, a year before in Minnesota. Later in 1995, he got another shot, five final major league appearances to round out his big league career.

Dunn's career began in 1988, taken by the Twins in the fourth round of the draft out of Robinson High School in Fairfax, Va.

Dunn started with the Twins at rookie Elizabethton. In 26 games, he hit .284. He played 1989 between Elizabethton and single-A Kenosha.

He returned to Kenosha for all of 1990, hitting .297, with 10 home runs and 72 RBI. He then played 1991 and 1992 at high-A Visalia. In his second season at Visalia, he hit a career-high 26 home runs.

Dunn made AA for the first time in 1993 at Nashville. He hit .262, with 14 home runs there. He then made AAA Salt Lake in 1994. In May 1994, he made the majors.

With the Twins in 1994, Dunn got into 14 games, picking up eight hits in 35 at bats. He also knocked in four runs.

Dunn returned to Salt Lake for 1995, hitting .316 in 109 games. That September, he got his call back to Minnesota. In five games, he got six at bats. He walked once but didn't get a hit.

One more season at AAA in the Indians organization and Dunn's career ended after nine seasons as a pro.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Brian Shouse saw 13 major league outings over his first 12 seasons, then his career took off

Brian Shouse worked as a left-handed specialist in 2007, coming on as his Brewers needed to get a crucial out, OnMilwaukee wrote.

Shouse expressed satisfaction in that, he told OnMilwauke.

"As a reliever, you don't get a lot of credit sometimes," Shouse told OnMilwaukee. "Any time you can do your job and keep somebody's runners on base, I take a lot of pride in that."

Shouse could take a lot of pride in a lot of things. Shouse played a full 12 seasons, from 1990 to 2001, and made the majors only twice for a total of 13 appearances.

But, starting in 2002, Shouse's career remarkably took off. He made the majors every year from 2002 to 2009 and those 13 major league games he had seen before turned into 467.

Shouse's road to that unusual career trajectory began in 1990, taken by the Pirates in the 13th round of the draft out of Bradley University in Illinois.

Shouse started with the Pirates at short-season Welland. He went 4-3, with a 5.22 ERA over 17 outings. His Welland card back included his "career attitude," or his approach to the game, "Throw hard and hope for the best."

He then made AA Carolina in 1992 and then AAA Buffalo and Pittsburgh in 1993.

Shouse's first run in the majors consisted of six outings in July and August. He gave up four earned runs in four innings of work.

He then didn't return to the majors for five years, until 1998 with the Red Sox, when he saw seven games in Boston in April and May. He gave up five earned in eight innings of work.

Shuose's full-time return to the majors then came in 2002, with the Royals. He got into 23 games that year and then moved to the Rangers for 2003 and became a regular.

Shouse's delivery to the plate got him his spot, specifically his left-handed, side-arm delivery, Brewers bullpen coach Bill Castro told The  Decatur Herald and Review in 2007.

"He'll come in and pound the strike zone," Castro told The Herald and Review. "He comes with a couple different arm angles, and he doesn't get behind in the count. He's durable."

In his 62 games with the Rangers in 2003, the 34-year-old Shouse posted a 3.10 ERA. He did even better in 2004, a 2.23 ERA over 53 outings.

Shouse went on to see more than 60 outings in a season four times. He saw more than 70 once, that year in 2007 with the Brewers. His final major league time came in 2009, with the Rays. His final game came that Oct. 1, weeks after he'd turned 41.

Shouse has gone on to continue in baseball, as a minor league pitching coach. He coached at AA Frisco in 2016 and 2017, and then at AAA Round Rock in 2018 and AAA Nashville in 2019.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,303
Made the Majors:1,185-35.9%-X
Never Made Majors:2,118-64.1%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 490-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:286

Roger Miller didn't get a huge signing bonus, but he got a chance to play; Played seven seasons, made AAA

Originally published Jan. 19, 2015
Roger Miller had been turning heads on the baseball field since he was at least 14 and he kept doing so through college, according to The Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

So, when the pros came calling in 1989, Miller was ready, according to The Herald-Tribune.

"He's very excited about it," Miller's mother Mary Miller told The Herald-Tribune that June. "He didn't get a huge signing bonus, but he has a chance to play. I think he's going to do fine. I keep telling him he's going to make it."

Miller took that chance to a pro career that lasted seven seasons and he eventually made it to AAA. Miller, though, never made the majors.

Miller's career began that year in 1989, taken by the Giants in the 14th round of the draft out of the University of Georgia.

At the age of 14, Miller helped his team of 15-year-old Babe Ruth players to the state championship, The Herald-Tribune wrote. His coach Sloan had nothing but good things to say about Miller.

"He's a fantastic ballplayer," Sloan told The Herald-Tribune. "Roger's a team player from the word go, not an individualist."

Miller went on to play at Georgia. He also excelled. By May 1989, he'd become the SEC's all-time leader in hits. He also held multiple team records, including in home runs, according to The Gainesville Sun.

With the Giants, Miller started at rookie Pocatello. In 57 games, he hit .332. He then moved to single-A Clinton in 1990. In his first full season, Miller hit .264, with 43 RBI. The catcher also made the league all-star team.

In the all-star game, Miller actually played first base, filling in after an injury, according to The Quad City Times. He also got the game-winning hit.

"I don't think I had played first all season for Clinton," Miller told The Times years later, "but I wanted to play so badly I raised my hand and ended up playing the entire game."

Miller moved to high-A San Jose in 1991. Then, after not being recorded as playing in 1992, he played 1993 at Clinton and AA Shreveport.

Miller continued with the Giants through 1995, making it to AAA Phoenix for 43 games in 1995. He played his final season in 1996 with the Rockies at AA New Haven and AAA Colorado Springs.

Miller has since returned to Sarasota and become a coach. In 2013, he coached a travel team called the Sarasota Salty Dawgs.

"The kids we have are friends outside of here," Miller told The Herald-Tribune of his team that year, "go to school together, the parents are friends and have team parties together . . . Our chemistry is great."
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