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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Steve Ramharter realized his dream by playing as pro; Career ended quickly with shoulder issue, later became coach

Steve Ramharter recorded his thoughts on his first spring training in 1991 for his hometown Sioux Falls Argus-Leader.

He'd always looked forward to being a part of it, he wrote, but his first also came with question marks around his pitching shoulder, and whether he'd made the right decision for a cortisone shot over surgery.

"It's a terrible feeling not knowing whether your arm will be able to handle the strain of pitching," Ramharter wrote in The Argus-Leader as his spring began. "I guess I'll find out tomorrow."

Ramharter soon did find out. He needed surgery and his playing career was over. He did, however, go on to a second career in the game as a coach in college. 

Ramharter's playing career began in 1990, signed by the Rangers as an undrafted free agent out of Rice University. 

During high school, Ramharter won his state's American Legion Player of the Year honors in 1985. He also lettered in four sports at Sioux Falls' Lincoln High, baseball, basketball, football and track. He also played at Murray State Junior College and in Alaska.

With the Rangers, Ramharter played the 1990 season at rookie Butte. He went 2.2 innings in a July, giving up one hit, three walks and hitting a batter. Overall, he got into 22 games in relief, went 2-1 and had a 6.52 ERA.

He then returned for spring 1991 with that questionable shoulder. By April 1, he'd felt pain during a game, rather than just warming up, he wrote in The Argus-Leader. He soon learned he needed surgery and was among a list of players who'd been released.

"Frequently I was warned that sometimes such dreams don't always come true," Ramharter wrote of pro dreams he had growing up. "Well, I just want to say that sometimes they do because for a short time I was able to live mine out."

Soon, Ramharater took over as coach at Howard Junior College in Texas, then at Trinidad State in Colorado, where he coached in 1998. He arrived at Midland College in 2001, where he stayed until 2006, when he left for pharmaceutical sales.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,432
Made the Majors:1,202-35.0%
Never Made Majors:2,230-65.0%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:499
10+ Seasons in the Minors:295

Andy Watson waited on pros and improved draft status; Played in two pro seasons, injury ended career

Andy Watson got drafted out of Vashon High School in St. Louis in June 1988, but the draft notification - for the 49th round - came with some encouragement, to go to college first, Watson's high school coach Ronald Newell told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Watson chose college, Crowder Junior College, and Newell agreed with the choice, according to The Post-Dispatch.

"I think the year of college ball will be very good for Andy," Newell told The Post-Dispatch then. "Crowder has the type of program that can bring out the best in kids. He'll be able to play in a structured system and be on an extensive weight program."

Watson's college time paid off two years later, with a higher draft selection, but it didn't pay off with a long career. He played two seasons as a pro, all in rookie ball.

Watson's career began in 1990, taken by the Rangers in the 12th round of the draft out of Crowder. The Tigers had taken him in the 1988 draft, in the 49th round. 

At Vashon, Watson showed his skills early. He won Post-Dispatch Athlete of the Week honors as a sophomore in 1986 by throwing a six-inning no-hitter.

"He's got a lot of smoke," Newell told The Post-Dispatch of Watson. "He has a real good fastball and a sharp-breaking curve. He also throws a slider."

After Crowder, Watson joined the Rangers. He played his first season between the rookie Gulf Coast League and rookie Butte. He saw four outings at Butte, where he gave up nine earned in 3.1 innings of work. He then saw 10 outings in the GCL, where he gave up 10 earned in 15.2 innings.

Watson returned to Butte for 1991, but saw a single game. He gave up one unearned run in 1.1 innings of work. He recorded all four of his outs on strikeouts, but then appeared to suffer a muscle injury, The Montana Standard wrote. Watson did not return.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,431
Made the Majors:1,202-35.0%
Never Made Majors:2,229-65.0%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:499
10+ Seasons in the Minors:295

Monday, August 3, 2020

Rodney Busha won his second pro game late in 1990, didn't win another; Played a single season

Rodney Busha picked up his second win of the 1990 season for rookie Butte in late-August and he did it by going the distance, The Montana Standard wrote.

Over the second-half of the day's double-header, Busha gave up five hits, five walks and struck out eight, while giving up two earned, The Standard wrote.

That win marked the second of Busha's pro career. It also marked the last. Busha did not return for a second campaign.

Busha's career began and ended that year in 1990, taken by the Rangers in the 18th round of the draft out of the University of North Alabama. Busha was also credited as Rod Busha.

Busha played two sports at Alabama's Sardis High, football and baseball. Before North Alabama, Busha played college ball at Calhoun Junior College.

At North Alabama, Busha went seven innings in a March 1990 win as he gave up eight hits and struck out 10.

He then started with the Rangers at Butte. He threw a scheduled five innings in a June game, striking out five and giving up three hits and no earned. His first loss - his only loss on the year - came in a July game.

Overall, Busha went 2-1 on the year in 15 outings, five starts. He ended with a 5.44 ERA.

He didn't return for 1991, The Standard writing the next April that Busha had retired.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,430
Made the Majors:1,202-35.0%
Never Made Majors:2,228-65.0%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:499
10+ Seasons in the Minors:295

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Todd Guggiana played four pro seasons, then used his experience in a new career, as a scout

Todd Guggiana knocked in the winning run in this August 1990 game for his Butte Copper Kings and the key, he told The Deseret News afterward, came as the team jumped on the starter early.

Based on previous experience, Guggiana told The News, they needed the runs.

"We knew we had to score as quick as we can," Guggiana told The News afterward. "In the past, they've blown us out,"

Guggiana went on to have a top season for Butte that year, but a knee injury would eventually help end his career. Guggiana, however, eventually used his experience in baseball in other ways as he continued on in the game as a scout.

Guggiana's career began in 1990, taken by the Rangers in the 19th round of the draft out of Cal State Long Beach.

Guggiana started with the Rangers at rookie Butte. He hit .351 on the year, with four home runs and 52 RBI. His performance led to league MVP honors. He gave a different performance in the final home game of the year as he played all nine positions in the same game.

Guggiana moved to high-A Port Charlotte for 1991. He got into 36 game, but a knee injury ended his season and nearly ended his career. 

He underwent surgery but, by May 1992, it appeared his career was at an end. Instead, he missed the season, but returned to the field for 1993, back at Port Charlotte.

Guggiana saw 134 games with Port Charlotte that year and hit .286. He hit a two-run home run in a July game. He then made AA Tulsa for 1994. He saw 39 games there and hit .198 to end his career.

By October 1995, Guggiana had become an area scout, a job he has continued in during the more than two decades since.

One player Guggiana has scouted is Joey Gallo, who continues with the Rangers in 2020.

"He's surpassed what we'd thought," Guggiana told Bleacher Report in 2014 of Gallo. "He's going to strike out. He's a bigger guy. They're going to have more holes in their swing."
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,429
Made the Majors:1,202-35.1%
Never Made Majors:2,227-64.9%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:499
10+ Seasons in the Minors:295

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Miguel Castellano helped his team remain in 1991 playoff race; Saw five seasons, made AA

Miguel Castellano kept his Gastonia Rangers the playoff race in this early-September 1991 game and he did it in the first inning, according to The Greenville News.

Castellano did so by hitting an RBI double in the first inning against Spartanburg, scoring the runner from first. The run proved to be the only run needed in the 1-0 victory, The News wrote.

Castellano provided that offense in his third professional season. He went on to play in two more. He topped out at AA.

Castellano's career began in 1989, signed by the Rangers out of his native Venezuela. He was also credited as Miguel Castellanos.

Castellano started with the Rangers in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He hit .247 in 59 games there. He also stole 19 bases.

He moved to rookie Butte for 1990. He singled and scored in an August game. He it .273 overall, with four home runs and 32 RBI over 60 games.

Castellano arrived at single-A Gastonia for 1991. He drove in two runs on a single in a June game. He hit .233 in 114 games.

He played 1992 at high-A Port Charlotte, where he hit .247. He then made AA Tulsa for 1993. He hit a two-run home run in an April game. Overall, he hit .169 in 49 games to end his career.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,428
Made the Majors:1,202-35.1%
Never Made Majors:2,226-64.9%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:499
10+ Seasons in the Minors:295

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Jose Cardona pitched well over two seasons, but an injury ended his career

The Gastonia Rangers had fought into extra innings this night in May 1991 and Jose Cardona tried to keep them in the game, The Charlotte Observer wrote.

But Cardona couldn't do it. He hit two batters to open the 10th and the eventual winning run soon came around to score, The Observer wrote.

"You can't dwell on a single game," Gastonia manager Bump Wills told The Observer afterward of the team's performance. "That's part of learning to be a professional."

For Cardona, his opportunity neared its end. Soon after, in his second professional season, an injury would force him to the sidelines. He wouldn't return.

Cardona's career began in 1990, signed by the Rangers out of his native Venezuela. He played in the Dominican Summer League the previous year.

Cardona started with the Rangers at rookie Butte. He got into 23 games in relief. He went 6-3, with a 1.99 ERA and saved four. He set down all three batters he faced to save an August win.

He then moved to single-A Gastonia for 1991 and he started strong. By mid-May, he had an ERA of 1.65, third best on the team

By early June, though, he was injured with a torn pectoral muscle, then estimated to be about six weeks away. In late July, he went home to Venezuela to end his career.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,427
Made the Majors:1,202-35.1%
Never Made Majors:2,225-64.9%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:499
10+ Seasons in the Minors:295

Malvin Matos felt good at independent Alexandria; Played 14 pro seasons, never made bigs

Malvin Matos powered his way into the Texas-Louisiana League lead in home runs in August 1988 and he did so by hitting two three-run shots, his 24th and 25th on the year, The Alexandria Town Talk wrote.

Matos explained afterward to The Town Talk how he did it.

"I felt very good," Matos told The Town Talk. "The first one I hit was a curveball and I got good contact on that one. The second one came off a fastball inside."

Matos spoke as a member of the independent Alexandria Aces, in his 10th season as a pro and fourth with Alexandria. He went on to play in a total of 14 professional campaigns, nine of those in independent ball. He topped out in affiliated ball at high-A.

Matos' career began in 1989, signed by the Rangers as a free agent out of his native Venezuela.

Matos started with the Rangers in the rookie Arizona League. He hit .254 in 43 games. He then moved to rookie Butte. He hit .222 there, with four home runs over 50 games. He beat out an infield hit to start a game-winning rally in an August game.

Matos made single-A Gastonia for 1991 and 1992. He hit .212 and .219, with four and seven home runs. 

He hit single-A Charleston in 1993 and high-A Port Charlotte in 1994. He hit .236 in 69 games in 1994 to end his affiliated career.

Matos then turned to the independent circuit. In 1995, he played for Mobile and Alexandria. He continued to play for Alexandria through 1999.

Going into 1996, he played winter ball in his native Venezuela. He told The Town Talk his work there helped him improve.

"Some people think baseball is just hitting, throwing and fielding," Matos told The Town Talk. "There's more. It's little things like bunting to move a guy over and bring him in. If we don't do what we have to do, we don't win game."

Matos ended the 1998 campaign with 26 home runs, a career best. He hit another 26 for Alexandria in 1999. 

He then continued in independent ball through 2002. He last played for independent Albany-Colonie.

1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,426
Made the Majors:1,202-35.1%
Never Made Majors:2,224-64.9%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:499
10+ Seasons in the Minors:295-X