Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Mike Search, Positive Energy - 3316

Originally published May 1, 2015
Mike Search pulled double duty for his Deerfield Beach area baseball team in 1986. He pitched and he hit. He also did both well, according to The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Search was 6-1 by the end of June, with a 2.05 ERA. At the plate, he was hitting .429, had three home runs and 12 RBI, The Sun Sentinel wrote.

"He's our spark," Deerfield Beach coach Lou Fisher told The Sun Sentinel. "Whether he realizes it or not, he's the guy who sparks us. He's full of positive energy."

Search went on from Deerfield Beach to turn pro three years later. His pro career, though, was brief. He played just two seasons.

Search's pro career began in 1989, signed by the Angels as an undrafted free agent. He's also credited by his formal name, Michael Search.

At Deerfield Beach in 1987, Search continued to pitch well. He took a loss in an April game, but he still struck out 12.

With the Angels in 1989, Search played at three different levels. He saw time in the rookie Arizona League, at single-A Quad City and at single-A Palm Springs. He got 15 relief outings between them, with a 2.25 ERA.

He started 1990 at high-A Palm Springs, moving later to short-season Boise. He got into 40 games overall that year and had a 3.33 ERA. It was his final season as a pro.
1990 Minor League Tally  
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,364
Made the Majors: 974-41.2%
Never Made Majors:1,390-58.8%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 407
10+ Seasons in the Minors:244

Melvin Nieves, Stuck With It - 15

Originally published Nov. 26, 2014
Melvin Nieves didn't have much luck in one April 1997 game batting right-handed, striking out twice with runners in scoring position, The Associated Press wrote.

The next night, though, the switch-hitting Nieves came back left-handed and hit a crucial double to help his Tigers to a win, The AP wrote.

"It was big for Melvin," Tigers manager Buddy Bell told The AP afterward. "Anytime you get a hit like that in that situation, especially after what happened last night you can give up, but Melvin stuck with it."

Nieves was in his sixth season in the majors that year - his third with significant time in the majors. By the time he was done, he had time in seven seasons and 458 major league games.

He also played two seasons in Japan and didn't stop playing somewhere until 2008.

Nieves' career began in 1988, signed by the Braves as a free agent out of his native Puerto Rico.

Nieves started in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He made single-A Sumter in 1990, then AA Greenville in 1992. He also made Atlanta in 1992.

Nieves debuted with Atlanta that September. He got into 12 games and got four hits. He then returned to the majors in 1993 and 1994 with the Padres, getting into 19 and 10 games respectively.

Nieves got his first significant time in the majors in 1995. He got into 98 games and hit .205. He then moved to the Tigers and got into more than 100 games in each of 1996 and 1997. He hit 24 home runs in 1996 and 20 in 1997.

In another April 1997 game, Nieves almost hit another home run, ending up with a bases-clearing double.

"I didn't get all of that one," Nieves told The AP afterward of that double. "I think (the center fielder) may have turned the wrong way. It came at a good time. I was hoping it was going to be a grand slam but I'll take it."

Nieves moved to the Reds in 1998. He got into 83 games and hit .252. Early that year, Nieves went through personal tragedy, losing his infant son to a heart defect.

"This whole situation helped me realize that no matter what happens in baseball - good or bad - my family is going to be there no matter what," Nieves told The AP after his son's passing. "If I lose the game tomorrow, my family is going to be there and we can do something else."

Nieves moved to Japan and Daiei for 1999 and 2000. He then returned stateside in 2001. He got brief looks at the Rockies system in 2001 and the Nationals system in 2005. In between, he played in independent ball and in Mexico. His last recorded time was in 2008 at Laguna in Mexico.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Jeff Ball, Relief Win - 3310

Jeff Ball gave up a few runs in this late-July 1990 game - none earned - but the runs didn't matter. Ball still picked up the win.

Ball gave up two hits over two innings of work, giving up three unearned, according to The Bend Bulletin. Ball's Boise Hawks went on to beat rival Bend 12-8 and Ball got credited for the win.

Ball picked up that win in his first season as a pro. It was also his final season as a pro. His 13 outings that year marked the extent of his professional career.

Ball's short career began that June, taken by the Angels in the 33rd round of the draft out of the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

At Hawaii, Ball picked up nine saves in 1989, still tied for seventh all-time at the school. His 14 career saves are good for sixth.

He appeared in 35 games in 1989, second best. His follow up saw him in 30 games, tied for fourth best at the school. He helped finish off a one-hitter against Notre Dame in February 1990.

With the Angels, Ball started and ended at short-season Boise. He got into 13 games in relief. He won two games, struck out 12 batters in 14.1 innings and turned in a 5.02 ERA. He didn't return for a second season.
1990 Minor League Tally  
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,364
Made the Majors: 974-41.2%
Never Made Majors:1,390-58.8%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 407
10+ Seasons in the Minors:244

Jose Olmeda, Those Guys - 16

Originally published Nov. 24, 2014
Sumter Braves manager Ned Yost talked to The Sumter Item about his team's first-half success in 1990. He named five players, including Jose Olmeda, as being key to that success and who moved up mid-season.

"If we had kept those guys here all year there's no doubt in my mind that we would be 10 games up right now," Yost told The Item.

Of the players Yost mentioned, three of them made the majors. Olmeda was one of the two who didn't.

Olmeda did, however, go on to a career that spanned 12 seasons. He made AAA in five of those seasons, he just never made the bigs.

Olmeda's career began in 1989, taken by the Braves in the 23rd round of the draft out of Oklahoma Baptist University.

At Oklahoma Baptist, Olmeda scored 78 runs in 1989. It was a school record not eclipsed until 2008. He scored one of those on a two-run home run in the NAIA World Series that May.

With the Braves, Olmeda started at rookie Idaho Falls, hitting .248. He moved to single-A Sumter to start 1990. In 103 games there, he hit .253, with seven home runs. He also got moved to single-A Burlington and saw two games at AA Greenville.

He knocked a double in the 1990 season-opener for Sumter. A few games later, he hit a home run in a Sumter win. In May, Sumter hitting coach Ralph Rowe described Olmeda to The Item as having "a nice, short stroke."

"I'd rather see him hit .330 with no homers," Rowe told The Item, "but I know he has the power to get the ball through the alleys and that's what you have to have to be a good hitter in the big leagues."

Olmeda split 1991 between single-A Macon and AA Greenville. In 1992, it was mostly Greenville. He hit .246 in 106 games there.

Olmeda's first look at AAA came in 1994 at Richmond. He played the entire season there, hitting .230 in 109 games. A June Olmeda double proved the difference in a Richmond win.

He split time between Greenville and Richmond in 1995. He hit a home run in a May Richmond win.

Olmeda then moved to the Marlins system for 1996 and 1997. He hit .320 at AAA Charlotte in 1996, but he didn't see Miami. He returned to Charlotte for 1997.

After playing 1998 back with the Braves at Richmond, Olmeda isn't recorded as playing in 1999. He then played two seasons in independent ball, ending his career.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Louis Pakele, Threw Strikes - 3309

Louis Pakele pitched deep into this July 1990 game for Boise, scattering three hits over seven innings, while giving up a single earned run, according to The Eugene Register-Guard.

Pakele explained his success to The Register-Guard later.

"I'm not an overpowering pitcher," Pakele told told the paper. "I just try to throw strikes."

Pakele pitched his first season as a pro that year for Boise. He returned for another in 1991 for high-A Palm Springs. But those two seasons marked the extent of his pro career. He never made AA.

Pakele's career began in 1990, taken by the Angels in the 31st round of the draft out of the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Pakele has also been identified as Louie Pakele.

At Hilo, Pakele went seven innings, giving up three hits in a March 1989 victory. He then turned in a complete-game win in a March 1990 game.

Pakele then started with the Angels at short-season Boise. He got into 15 games, starting 13. He went 5-3, with a 2.78 ERA. He went four innings in a late-July game, getting ejected with others after a brawl.

Pakele then moved to Palm Springs for 1991. He started 26 games there, going 7-11. He also turned in a 4.65 ERA, marking the end of his career.
1990 Minor League Tally  
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,363
Made the Majors: 974-41.2%
Never Made Majors:1,389-58.8%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 407
10+ Seasons in the Minors:244

Eddie Perez, Clutch Situations - 17

Originally published Nov. 23, 2014
The crowd at Turner Field in Atlanta had every reason to be chanting Eddie Perez' name. And they did, according to The Associated Press, chanting "Ed-die!, Ed-die!"

They chanted after the catcher who replaced the injured Javy Lopez mid-season hit his second home run of the 1999 NLCS and helped send the Braves to a 2-0 series lead over the Mets, The AP wrote.

"That's the easiest name for them to say," a realistic Perez told The AP afterward. "Next year they're going to forget about me because Javy will be playing everyday."

The next year, Perez would be back to his limited role. But he continued playing. By the time he was done six seasons later, Perez had amassed a total of 564 major league games played over 11 major league seasons.

He also ended with a total of 40 regular season home runs, in addition to those two big postseason shots in 1999. His first major league hit was a home run.

Perez' career began back in 1987, signed by the Braves as a free agent out of his native Venezuela. He is also sometimes referred to by his given name, Eduardo Perez.

Perez started with the Braves that year in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He made single-A Burlington in 1988 and high-A Durham in 1990.

It took Perez until 1994 to make AAA Richmond. Then, in 1995, his ninth season as a pro, Perez debuted in Atlanta.

Perez got into seven games for the Braves that year, going 4 for 13. His first hit came Sept. 15 - a home run. The next year, he got into 68 games, hitting .256.

He also became Greg Maddux' personal catcher as the Braves pushed for a return to the post-season in 1996. Perez' work with Maddux was noted in Game 6 of the NLCS when the defensive catcher was lifted for the hot-hitting Lopez, The AP wrote.

Perez stayed with the Braves and he got significant through that 1999, getting into at least 61 games each year. Then, when Lopez went down in 1999, Perez became the regular starter.

"I have to show what I can do," Perez told The Rome News-Tribune that July after Lopez got hurt. "I don't have this chance too much, so I have to do the best I can."

Perez hit .249 with the Braves that year, with seven home runs and 30 RBI. He hit .341 that post-season, helping Atlanta return to the World Series.

Perez stayed with the Braves through 2002, but he got limited time, seven games in 2000 and five in 2001. He moved to the Indians in 2002 and got into 42 games with the Indians.

Then, in 2003, Perez arrived with the Brewers and got into 107 games. By that July, Perez was hitting over .300.

"I've always said that Eddie might not get a lot of hits, but the hits he does get are in clutch situations," Milwaukee manager Ned Yost told The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "Eddie has proved me wrong this season. He's getting hits in all situations."

Perez ended with a .271 average. He also hit 11 home runs. He returned to the Braves in 2004, getting into 74 games. He then got into 16 final games in 2005, ending his major league career.

Perez has since stayed on with the Braves as bullpen coach, a job he continued in 2014.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Ken Edenfield, His Dream - 3308

Ken Edenfield called many places home on his way to the majors. His wife Toni did, too.

Talking to Baseball Weekly in 1996, Toni Edenfield recounted the sacrifices that came with being a baseball wife, including putting her own career on hold for her husband's.

"I was giving up something," Toni Edenfield told Baseball Weekly, "but I didn't mind because this was Ken's dream ever since he was a kid."

The couple's sacrifices paid off first in 1995 as Edenfield made the majors with the Angels. They paid off again with a brief return trip in 1996. In all, Edenfield pitched in nine games for California, marking the extent of his major league career.

Edenfield's career began in 1990, taken by the Angels in the 21st round of the draft out of Western Kentucky University.

Edenfield started with the Angels at short-season Boise. He got into 31 games in relief, picking up eight wins and a 1.65 ERA. He saved nine. He pitched two scoreless in a July game for his fourth save.

He moved to single-A Quad City for 1991, then high-A Palm Springs and AA Midland for 1992. He made AAA Vancouver briefly in 1993 and full-time in 1994.

Edenfield picked up nine relief wins for Vancouver in 1994, posting a 3.39 ERA. He went 4.1 innings in a September game, giving up a single run.

In 1995, Edenfield got his first shot at the majors. He got into seven games, debuting in June. He gave up six earned in 12.2 innings of work.

Edenfield took part in a spring no-hitter the next year. He pitched an inning of a March 16 no-hitter against the Giants. He then started the year with the Angels. He got into two games, giving up a two-run home run to Frank Thomas in his second.

That second game of 1996 for Edenfield also turned out to be his last in the majors. He played out the year at AAA, sent mid-year to the Yankees and AAA Columbus. He then returned to Columbus for 1997, getting into just nine game, ending his career.
1990 Minor League Tally  
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,362
Made the Majors: 974-41.2%-X
Never Made Majors:1,388-58.8%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 407
10+ Seasons in the Minors:244
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