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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Mike Lehman hoped slot would open at AAA, made it, but briefly; Saw six seasons, missed bigs

Looking ahead to the final 1992 team assignments, Orioles minor leaguer and catcher Mike Lehman rooted for a fellow player to make the bigs, he told The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

But it wasn't all for the the other player, Jeff Tackett's benefit, he told The Democrat and Chronicle.

"I'm pulling for Tackett to make the big-league team," Lehman told The Democrat and Chronicle. "That will better my chances to go to (AAA) Rochester and play."

Lehman did make Rochester that year, but briefly, for eight games. In six seasons, he never made the majors himself.

Lehman's career began in 1986, taken by the Orioles in the third round of the draft out of Vallivue High School in Idaho.

Lehman started with the Orioles at rookie Bluefield. He hit .214 in 28 games. He then played 1987 at short-season Newark. He saw 40 games and hit .237.

After not being credited as playing in 1988, Lehman returned in 1989 at single-A Frederick. He hit .241 in 71 games. He then played at Frederick at high-A in 1990 and saw 105 games and a .260 average.

After injuries, Lehman even got to play some at third base in 1990. "I was excited; every catcher dreams of going into the infield," Lehman told The Baltimore Evening Sun that July.

That August, he knocked in three runs on a home run and a single in a Frederick win, The Durham Sun wrote.

"We've been playing good ball lately, and we knew this was a big series," Lehman told The Durham Sun then.

Lehman made AA Hagerstown for 1991. He saw 97 games and hit .281. Then came 1992. He saw those eight games at Rochester and 14 more at Hagerstown to end his career.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,119
Made the Majors:1,364-33.1%
Never Made Majors:2,755-66.9%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:556
10+ Seasons in the Minors:336

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Ed Horowitz saw four Opening Days as a pro, made AA; Later turned to communications

Frederick Key Ed Horowitz took in Opening Day for a local Little League in April 1990 and spoke to The Baltimore Sun about his own Opening Day experiences in Little League and higher.

"This is what it's all about," Horowitz told The Sun then. "It gets a lot more serious when you move up to high school and then pro ball."

Horowitz by then was starting his second pro season. He went on to see two more. He topped out at AA.

Horowitz' career began in 1989, taken by the Orioles in the 15th round out of Rider University.

At Rider, Horowitz won Conference Scholar Athlete honors for baseball three times and he made the regional All-Tournament team as a sophomore. He made the Rider Hall of Fame in 2006.

Horowitz started with the Orioles at short-season Erie. He saw 40 games and hit .222.

He then moved to high-A Frederick for 1990. The catcher got into 55 games and hit .315. That August, he picked up three hits and two RBIs, including a home run in a win, The Durham Sun wrote.

"That was a curveball, and I guess I got all of it," Horowitz told The Durham Sun of the home run.

Horowitz returned to Frederick for 64 games in 1991. He then made AA Hagerstown to start 1992. He saw 11 games there and went 7 for 31. He finished out the year and is career with the Padres at high-A High Desert. He hit .260 in 46 games.

Horowitz has since gone on to a new career in communications and consulting. In 2023, Horowitz is listed as the founder of Commogma, which works to improve business performance and strategy.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,118
Made the Majors:1,364-33.1%
Never Made Majors:2,754-66.9%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:556
10+ Seasons in the Minors:336

Paris Hayden played five seasons, made AA; Later had success as American Legion coach

Originally published April 5, 2013
Paris Hayden's American Legion team got a second chance and took advantage, all the way to the 2004 American Legion World Series.

Having just swept the regional that August, Hayden, coach of DeLand's Post 6 squad, could only marvel to The Orlando Sentinel at his team's success.

"The baseball gods are smiling on us," Hayden told The Sentinel. "You hear everybody say this, but this has been a complete team effort. Everybody came through in one or another."

Hayden spoke having had the baseball gods smile on him long enough to have a professional career that lasted five seasons, getting him as high AA. But those baseball gods couldn't get him to the majors.

Hayden's professional career began in 1986, taken by the Orioles in the first round of the June secondary draft, out of Indian River Community College.

With the Orioles, Hayden started at rookie Bluefield, hitting .303 in 62 games. He also hit eight home runs and stole nine bases.

For 1988, Hayden moved to short-season Erie. He hit .240 with five home runs over 50 games. In 1989, he made single-A Frederick, but hit just .208.

Hayden got his first look at AA in 1990 at Hagerstown. In 47 games, he hit .233. He then got 27 other games back at Frederick, hitting .296. It was his last season with the Orioles.

For 1991, Hayden moved to high-A Miami, an independent team. Over the season, he hit .229. That July, though, he picked up three hits, helping Miami to a 5-4 win.

Hayden went on to return to his hometown of DeLand, coaching his local American Legion team, coaching his team to that 2004 World Series appearance.

On DeLand's 2004 run, they getting past Spartanburg to win a birth in the regional finals. Hayden told The Spartanburg Herald-Journal how fortunate his team was to be there. That second chance came after his team came in fourth in the state tournament, but the teams above them couldn't go to the regionals.

"We've come from not even being supposed to be here, to being in the finals," Hayden told The Herald-Journal. "I told them before we left Florida to make the best of it because this situation only comes up once in a lifetime."

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,117
Made the Majors:1,364-33.1%
Never Made Majors:2,753-66.9%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:556
10+ Seasons in the Minors:336

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Tony Beasley played over nine seasons, made AAA; Then tried out coaching, made bigs

After spending the better parts of five seasons as a player at AA with the Pirates, Tony Beasley tried something new in 1998. He tried coaching, The Raleigh News and Observer wrote.

"This year is kind of a trial to see if it's something I'm interested in," Beasley told The News and Observer that April. "It's going to seem weird not playing, but it's something I really need to think about and find out if this is what I want to do, another way to stay in the game."

As it turned out, Beasley was interested. He's gone on to a long career as a coach and manager in the minors - and coach in the majors. In 2022, he even served as interim major league manager with the Rangers.

Beasley's career in baseball began in 1989, taken by the Orioles in the 19th round of the draft out of Liberty University. 

Beasley started with the Orioles at short-season Erie. He saw 65 games and hit .279. That August, he spoke to The Richmond Times-Dispatch after he had a slow start, but picked up the pace.

"I tried to think positive," Beasley told The Times-Dispatch of his slow start. "I have strong Christian beliefs and kept faith. I knew He didn't put me here for nothing."

Beasley moved to high-A Frederick for 1990 and returned there for 1991. He hit .251 and .248.

For 1992, he moved to the Pirates system and split time between high-A Salem and AA Carolina. He saw AAA Buffalo for 30 games in 1993 and hit .190. 

He saw AAA again at Calgary in 1997, 75 games. He hit .273. Otherwise, he played at Carolina. He played his final six games at Carolina in 1998 as a player coach.

He turned hitting coach in the Gulf Coast League in 1999, then manager at short-season Williamsport in 2001. In 2006, he moved up to the majors as third base coach with the Nationals.

Beasley held the same third base coaching job with the Pirates in Pittsburgh from 2007 to 2009. He arrived with the Rangers as third base coach in 2015 and has remained in that role into 2022. He is to return to the staff in 2023.

In mid-2022, Beasley also stepped into the Rangers' interim manager role. He went 17-31 and earned an interview for the permanent job that ultimately went to Bruce Bochy, The Dallas Morning-News wrote.

"I'm glad that I'm going to be back," Beasley told The Morning News in October 2022. "But not being part of this organization was never a thought in my mind. I've been here eight years; I want to be part of getting this right."

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,117
Made the Majors:1,364-33.1%
Never Made Majors:2,753-66.9%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:556
10+ Seasons in the Minors:336

Friday, January 27, 2023

Doug Reynolds had enough tools, talent and performance to turn pro, make high-A; Later turned scout

Doug Reynolds explained the heart of his post-playing career as a scout to his hometown Tallahassee Democrat in 2015.

"Tools, talent and performance, that will never change," Reynolds told The Democrat of a scout's checklist.

By then, Reynolds had been a scout with the Brewers for years. Before that, he showed enough on that checkless to play professionally himself. He saw three seasons with the Orioles. He made high-A.

Reynolds' career began in 1989, taken by the Orioles in the 33rd round of the draft out of Liberty University.

Reynolds also played at North Florida Christian. Reynolds, a junior, initially refused to sign. his North Florida coach told The Democrat then. But the Orioles offered more money and schooling.  

Reynolds, a catcher, started with the Orioles at short-season Erie. He saw 35 games and hit .189. He hit a home run in a July win. He hit four on the year.

He moved to high-A Frederick for 1990. He saw 55 games there and hit .246. He then returned to Frederick and saw single-A Kane County. He hit .232 over 86 games that year to end his career.

He then soon turned scout with the Brewers and eventually became the organization's East Coast Crosschecker.

Among the players he signed was Lorenzo Cain. In 2014, as Cain played in the World Series with his new team, the Royals, Reynolds described to The New York Post signing Cain, who didn't play organized baseball until age 16. 

"I'd like to know if there’s anybody that’s played at his level and didn’t play baseball until that late," Reynolds told The Post. "You had guys where you’d say he was a football guy and maybe he crossed over. But we're talking about a non-athlete at any level."

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,116
Made the Majors:1,364-33.1%
Never Made Majors:2,752-66.9%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:556
10+ Seasons in the Minors:336

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Anthony Telford showed poise and savvy in ML debut; Saw time in nine majors seasons

Originally published June 1, 2018
Anthony Telford pitched well enough this day in 1990 to gain praise from his manager, Hall of Famer Frank Robinson. 

He also pitched well enough - one hit over seven innings - to beat the defending World Series champion Oakland Athletics and do so in his major league debut.

"It was a tremendous effort," Robinson told reporters afterward. "He showed a lot of poise and savvy--he made some pitches when he had to make them. He kept them off balance. That's what pitching is all about."

Telford went on to see time in nine big league seasons, but he didn't become a major league regular until seven years after that Oakland game. He did so as a reliever with the Expos.

Telford's career began in 1987, taken by the Orioles in the third round of the draft out of San Jose State University. Telford was also credited as Tony Telford.

Telford played his first season with the Orioles between short-season Newark, single-A Hagerstown and a single game at AAA Rochester. He played 1988 back at Hagerstown and 1989 at single-A Frederick.

He started 1990 at Frederick, hit AA Hagerstown and then got his call up to Baltimore that August.

Telford got eight starts for the Orioles that year. He went 3-3, with a 4.95 ERA. He nine outings for Baltimore the next year, one start. He then saw only three more major league relief outings through 1996.

He went through the Braves, Indians and Athletics systems before he landed with the Expos. He returned to the majors with 65 relief appearances for Montreal in 1997, then 77 the next.

He talked up his team after a June 1998 outing where he went 1.2 scoreless.

"No matter what everybody says about our club, we've got some good ballplayers," Telford told reporters. "We've got guys with a lot of heart."

Telford stayed with the Expos through 2001. He then played his final season with the Rangers in 2002.

Years later, Telford cited his faith as central to his career in a talk given at a university banquet.

"I was a believer but also a fierce competitor," Telford told the Campbellsville University players. "That's what pushed me into having a successful major league career and being able to provide for my family."

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,115
Made the Majors:1,364-33.2%
Never Made Majors:2,751-66.8%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:556
10+ Seasons in the Minors:336

Monday, January 23, 2023

Mike Pazik worked hard, impressed as player; Then turned minors - and majors - coach

Mike Pazik started his playing career with high hopes, as the Yankees first round pick. He did get to the bigs, but not in New York, for three short stints with the Twins. Then injuries suffered a car crash ultimately ended his hopes for more, The Boston Globe wrote to start 1980.

But, with that, The Globe wrote, came the opportunity for a new career - as a coach and manager with the White Sox.

"When he played for us at Knoxville, he impressed everyone with his hard work," the White Sox' Dave Dombrowski told The Globe of the White Sox' new AA manager Pazik. "He helped Tony LaRussa, the manager, a lot with the young kids."

Pazik went on to help a lot of young players over a long post-playing career as a coach and manager in the minors - and then as a major league coach in the late 1990s with the White Sox in Chicago.

Pazik's long career in baseball began in 1971, taken by the Yankees 13th overall out of the College of Holy Cross in Massachusetts.

Pazik started with the Yankees between single-A Fort Lauderdale and AAA Syracuse. He went 5-5, with a 2.49 ERA between them. 

He returned to Syracuse for 1972 and stayed into 1974. He arrived with the Twins at AAA Tacoma early in 1974 and debuted in Minnesota in May 1975.

Pazik saw five outings with the Twins that year and five more in 1976. He got three final starts in 1977 and threw his last pitches in the minors in 1979.

He then started his post-playing career with the White Sox at Glens Falls in 1980. He coached at AAA Edmonton in 1981 and at single-A Appleton in 1982.

By 1989, he was with the Orioles at single-A Frederick. That August, he sized up the Orioles' Ben McDonald to The Baltimore Evening Sun.

"I can't give you enough accolades about this guy," Pazik told The Evening Sun. "We are just at the tip of the iceberg with him."

Pazik rejoined the White Sox as a scout in 1993. In 1995, he joined the big club as pitching coach. He spoke to The Chicago Tribune in July 1996 about another pitcher, the White Sox' Jason Bere, who was coming back from an arm injury. 

"We're taking it very slowly," Pazik told The Tribune. "A lot depends on how (the arm) feels. We want to make sure when he comes back there's not going to be any setbacks."

He stayed on as coach over at least four seasons. He's later credited as an advance scout with the Rockies in 2001 and scout with the Royals in 2006 and 2007.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,115
Made the Majors:1,364-33.2%-X
Never Made Majors:2,751-66.8%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:556
10+ Seasons in the Minors:336