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Friday, July 12, 2024

Rich Becker produced in 8 ML seasons: Baseball Profiles

Rich Becker 1990 Elizabethton Twins card

Rich Becker arrived with the Brewers for 1999 as team's fourth outfielder and he hoped to do his job, get his teammates rest, he told The Kenosha News that March.

"I just want to play hard when I get the opportunity," Becker told The News then. "When you're coming off the bench, you have to be ready at any time to go in there and produce."

Becker ultimately worked to stay ready in the majors over eight seasons, seeing more than 100 games in a season in five of those campaigns.

Becker's career began in 1990, taken by the Twins in the third round of the draft out of West Aurora High School in Illinois.

Becker started with the Twins at rookie Elizabethton. He made single-A Kenosha for 1991 and high-A Visalia for 1992. For 1993, he made AA Nashville. He hit .287 in 138 games at Nashville - and earned a September call up to Minnesota.

He saw three games that first year and 28 with the Twins in 1994. That March in 1994, he'd played well enough to get tagged the Twins' "center fielder of the future."

Becker first saw regular playing time in 1995, 106 games played for the Twins. He hit .237. A spot opened up for him that year when Twins outfielder Alex Cole broke his leg on a play, The Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote.

"You want to come up under better circumstances than somebody getting injured," Becker told The Star Tribune then. "But that's the way it is, and if that is the opportunity you have, you have to take advantage of it."

Becker returned for 148 games in 1996, where he hit .291, with 12 home runs. Becker had earlier been a switch hitter but, for 1996, he concentrated on hitting left-handed.

Becker looked to new teammate and future Hall of Famer Paul Molitor as someone he needed to emulate, The Star Tribune wrote.

"I'm not saying I'm anything like Paul Molitor," Becker told The Star Tribune. "But he's so short to the ball, and that's a good example of what I need to try to do."

Becker then saw 132 games in 1997, hitting .264. He moved to the Mets and Orioles for 1998, then the Brewers and Athletics for 1999 and the Athletics and Tigers for 2000. 

His 2000 season marked his last in the majors. He ended with 789 total games played, 45 home runs and a career .256 average.

Rich Becker 1990 Elizabethton Twins card


1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,396
Made the Majors:1,416-32.2-X
Never Made Majors:2,980-67.8%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:577-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:354

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Dave Bigham loved throwing every day: Baseball Profiles

Dave Bigham 1990 Elizabethton Twins card

Elizabethton Twins hurler Dave Bigham returned for his second stint with the team in 1990 and had quick success, The Johnson City Press wrote.

He appeared in eight of the team's first 12 games, including a 3.1-inning shutout effort in early July," The Press wrote.

"I love it," Bigham told The Press. "It has helped me a lot. I feel like I can go out and throw every day."

Bigham ultimately went out  and threw over eight pro seasons. He ended up topping out high-A.

Bigham's career began in 1989, taken by the Twins in the 39th round of the draft out of Mankato West High School in Minnesota.

Bigham started with the Twins at rookie Elizabethton. He saw nine games, two starts that first year. That August, The Johnson City Press noted his other skills, in hockey. He was still set to play college hockey at Minnesota and even likely would have been drafted by the NHL, had  he not signed with the Twins.

"I really haven't decided," Bigham told The Press of deciding on whether to continue baseball or hockey. "But (playing in Elizabethton) has been a great experience."

Bigham continued on in baseball. He returned for 29 relief appearances in 1990. He then played 1991 at single-A Kenosha and 1992 at high-A Visalia. He saw 53 relief outings at Visalia and went 4-2, with a 3.68 ERA. He also saved five.

Bigham played 1993 and 1994 at high-A Fort Myers, then moved to the White Sox at single-A South Bend for 1995. He last played in 1996, with the Orioles at high-A Frederick. He saw 29 outings, nine starts at Frederick to end his career.

Bigham soon returned home to Minnesota and became a realtor and was ultimately recognized in the top 1 percent nationally, The Mankato Free Press wrote. He passed away in February 2012 from a heart attack. He was 41.

Dave Bigham 1990 Elizabethton Twins card


1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,395
Made the Majors:1,415-32.2
Never Made Majors:2,980-67.8%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:576
10+ Seasons in the Minors:354

Jon Henry got on pro roll, made AAA: Baseball Profiles

Jon Henry 1990 Elizabethton Twins card

Elizabethton Twins starter Jon Henry went on a hot streak in July 1990, The Johnson City Press wrote.

Henry went 20-straight innings without giving up a run, The Press wrote.

"I'm starting to feel like I did in college," Henry told The Press then. "I'm getting on a roll and I don't want it to end."

Henry went on from there to see time in seven pro seasons. He topped out at AAA.

Henry's career began that year in 1990, taken by the Twins in the 15th round of the draft out of the University of Central Florida.

Henry started with the Twins at rookie Elizabethton. He saw 14 outings, 13 starts. He went 7-2, with an overall 3.61 ERA.

In another July 1990 game, Henry took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and picked up the three-hit win, The Press wrote.

"I lost (the no-hitter), but I still finished strong," Henry told The Press. "Mainly tonight I was trying to throw inside a lot, and I relied on my fastball."

Henry moved to high-A Visalia for 1991. He went 8-13, with a 4.48 ERA. He then moved to AA Orlando for 1992, where he went 10-9, with a 4.12 ERA.

Henry played 1993 between AA Nashville and AAA Portland. He went 6-5, with a 5.70 ERA over 26 outings, 13 starts at Portland

He split 1994 again between AA and AAA, Nashville and Salt Lake. In on July outing for Nashville, Henry went seven innings, giving up one run.

"I didn't try to mess around," Henry told The Orlando Sentinel. "I went after guys and used a sinking fastball and let my defense take care of the rest."

Henry returned to Salt Lake for three outings in 1995, then saw 10 final outings with independent Aberdeen in 1996 to end his career.

Jon Henry 1990 Elizabethton Twins card


1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,394
Made the Majors:1,415-32.2
Never Made Majors:2,979-67.8%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:576
10+ Seasons in the Minors:354

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Matt Brown saw five pro seasons, AA: Baseball Profiles

Matt Brown 1990 Elizabethton Twins card

Elizabethton Twins catcher Matt Brown came up in two key spots in this August 1990 game and he came through both times, The Elizabethton Star wrote.

He first cut the deficit to one with a two-run single, then extended his team's lead later with another two-run single, The Star wrote.

"Sometimes you get lucky," Brown told The Star. "I came up in two good situations to hit. With the bases loaded, they've got to come at you. There was nowhere to put me. I hit the ball hard, and I'm glad of that. But, I just had good situations to hit in."

Brown hit in those situations in his first season as a pro. He went on to see time in five campaigns. He topped out at AA.

Brown's career began that year in 1990, taken by the Twins in the 40th round of the draft out of San Jose State University.

Brown started with the Twins at rookie Elizabethton. He saw 28 games and hit .233. He went 3 for 4 in on early contest, The Star wrote.

"The first two times I didn't swing the bat well, but I was able to get a hit," Brown told The Star. "Finally, I hit the ball hard the last two times up."

Brown moved to high-A Visalia for 1991 and stayed there for 1992. He hit .222 in 61 games there in 1991 and .267 in 37 games there in 1992.

Brown played 1993 at high-A Fort Myers. He hit .164 in 60 games. He then played 22 games with independent Mason City in 1994 and four at AA Trenton with the Red Sox in 1995 to end his career.

Matt Brown 1990 Elizabethton Twins card


1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,393
Made the Majors:1,415-32.2
Never Made Majors:2,978-67.8%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:576
10+ Seasons in the Minors:354

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Chris Wallgren played briefly as pro: Baseball Profiles

Chris Wallgren 1990 Elizabethton Twins card

A year out of high school, Sacramento City College catcher Chris Wallgren felt he could look forward, to the pros, The Sacramento Bee wrote in April 1989.

A solid freshman season helped him do that, The Bee wrote.

"I'd like to play one more year here, but I really don't want to play at a four-year school," Wallgren told The Bee. "I'd like to get drafted. I really think it's a realistic goal. I wasn't last year because I was just a kid out of high school."

Wallgren did play there another year and he did get drafted. His pro career, though, proved brief. He played a single season.

Wallgren's career began in 1990, taken by the Twins in the 49th round of the draft out of Sacramento City College. Wallgren was also credited as Charles Wallgren.

Wallgren played with the Twins at rookie Elizabethton. He saw 23 games, 21 at catcher. He hit .263. But an old shoulder injury flared up, bothering him, The Bee wrote later.

Wallgren returned for spring 1991, but his shoulder didn't get better and his standing with the club didn't either. He chose instead to move on, he told The Bee in May 1991.

"Sure, it was a tough decision," Wallgren told The Bee then. "I feel like I've broken some kind of rule or committed a baseball sin. I know this is everyone's dream when they're little kids ... I'm not bitter about what happened."

Chris Wallgren 1990 Elizabethton Twins card


1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,392
Made the Majors:1,415-32.2
Never Made Majors:2,977-67.8%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:576
10+ Seasons in the Minors:354

Monday, July 8, 2024

John Gumpf hit grand slam at Kenosha: Baseball Profiles

John Gumpf 1990 Elizabethton Twins card

Kenosha Twin John Gumpf came up with the bases loaded in this May 1991 game and he promptly hit a grand slam, The Kenosha News wrote.

Gumpf's big hit came off a letter-high fastball, The News wrote

"I'm always looking (for the fastball)," Gumpf told The News afterward. "In the first three games they challenged our hitters. I was thinking fastballs."

Gumpf hit that grand slam in his third season as a pro. He went on to see just one more. He topped out at high-A.

Gumpf's career began in 1989, taken by the Twins in the second round of the draft out of Riverside Polytechnic High in California.

Gumpf started with the Twins in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He saw 48 games and hit 204. He moved to rookie Elizabethton for 1990. He hit .236 there, in 51 games.

He arrived at Kenosha for 1991. In 114 games, he hit .208. That August, a foul ball off his bat struck a fan, knocking out six of the fan's teeth and causing other injuries, The Wisconsin State Journal. The fan just wanted an autographed ball from Gumpf.

"He's a really nice guy," the fan told The Journal. "Some day maybe I'll see him in the major leagues."

Gumpf then played 1992 at high-A Fort Myers. He saw 78 games and hit .247. That season proved his last as a pro.

Gumpf went on to settle in the South Bend, Ind., area, and become a coach. He volunteered for Notre Dame baseball and softball teams. He also served for 14 seasons as head coach at Saint Joseph's High School. He also served as assistant athletic director at the school. He retired as baseball coach there in 2020.

John Gumpf 1990 Elizabethton Twins card


1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,391
Made the Majors:1,415-32.2
Never Made Majors:2,976-67.8%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:576
10+ Seasons in the Minors:354

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Kurt Pfeffer helped rookie league team: Baseball Profiles

Kurt Pfeffer 1990 Elizabethton Twins card

Kurt Pfeffer's Elizabethton Twins held on to win this night in August 1990, narrowing their magic number to clinch the playoffs to three, The Johnson City Press wrote.

Pfeffer, who did his part with three hits and two RBI, looked forward to the team finally clinching, despite then-recent troubles, The Press wrote.

"It's a good feeling to know you're so close to winning it, but the way we've been playing lately, we better be close," Pfeffer told The Press. "It's like in Kingsport the other night, we fell apart with the lead, and tonight we had to get the big hit to win."

Pfeffer spoke to The Press that year in his first year as a pro. He played in just one more. He topped out at single-A.

Pfeffer's career began that year in 1990, taken by the Twins in the 34th round of the draft out of the College of Marin.

He went to the College of Marin out of the San Francisco-area's Drake High School. He won one game there 10-4, despite having a ripped knee on his pants, The San Francisco Examiner noted.

With the Twins, he started at rookie Elizabethton. He saw 29 games and hit .281.

In one July game, he was credited with "outstanding defensive plays in right field." He hit a home run in a late-July contest, one of two he hit on the year. He hit his other home run in an August game.

Pfeffer moved to single-A Kenosha and saw the rookie Gulf Coast League for 1991, but his season proved brief. He saw 13 games at Kenosha and three in the GCL to end his career.

Kurt Pfeffer 1990 Elizabethton Twins card


1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,390
Made the Majors:1,415-32.2
Never Made Majors:2,975-67.8%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:576
10+ Seasons in the Minors:354