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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Tom Beyers coached and managed and watched guys move up in minors over three decades

Tom Beyers, the manager at short-season Salem, assessed his young late-round catcher in 1989, according to The Salem Statesman-Journal.

The catcher - Mike Piazza - had gotten in off-season work in the Dominican Republic and had had some recent success at the plate, according to The Statesman-Journal.

"He's always had the power," Beyers told The Statesman-Journal, "now he's getting the chance to show that he can string some home runs together. He's got major league power."

Beyers watched over the future Hall of Famer as part of a minor league coaching career that spanned three decades. He coached and managed from rookie ball to AAA, all after a playing career of his own that spanned five seasons and also made AAA.

Beyers' long career in baseball began in 1979, taken by the Dodgers in the 15th round of the draft out of Cal Poly.

Beyers started with the Dodgers at single-A Clinton. He hit .303 in 74 games. He then made AA San Antonio for 1980 and stayed there for the next four seasons. In the fourth, his final season as a player, he also played at AAA Albuquerque, a single game.

He then went right into coaching. For 1984, he signed on as a coach with the Dodgers in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He took his first managerial job at Salem in 1988, then moved to high-A Bakersfield as manager in 1990.

He served as hitting coach at Albuquerque in 1993, at AA San Antonio in 1994,  then five seasons as the Dodgers' minor league hitting coordinator.

Beyers moved to the Cubs system for 2000, as hitting coach at short-season Eugene, then moved with the club to Boise. He coached or managed at Boise over seven total seasons. He's last credited as coaching in 2014, at single-A Kane County.

In 2010, he spoke with The Chicago Tribune about Starlin Castro, whom he coached at AA Tennessee.

"With Starlin, what I've seen over the years is he has a burning desire to compete,'' Beyers told The Tribune. "He really focuses on the game. He uses his eyes"

That January, he spoke to The Santa Maria Times as he coached local kids in the off-season. He talked about being in the game so long and working in the minors.

"It"s no different than being a teacher," Beyers told The Times. "The ultimate thing is to watch guys move up, have success and get to the major leagues."

1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,461
Made the Majors:1,213-35.1%
Never Made Majors:2,248-64.9%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:503
10+ Seasons in the Minors:297

Jose Munoz waited nine full seasons to make the bigs; Made it for 17 games, found it great

Jose Munoz played a long time in the minors before he got his shot at the bigs, nine full seasons. 

Then, when he made it in 1996 with the White Sox, he spent two full months there, The Nashville Tennessean wrote

"I understand that sometimes you have to wait," Munoz told The Tennessean that June, after he'd returned to AAA. "Playing up there this year was great, though. It makes you want to play there that much more."

For Munoz, though, he didn't get back to the bigs. Those two months in the majors, amounting to 17 appearances, proved the extent of his major league career.

Munoz' career began in 1987, taken by the Dodgers in the 20th round of the draft out of Florida College.

Munoz started with the Dodgers in the rookie Gulf  Coast League. He hit .321 in 54 games. He moved to single-A Bakersfield for 1988 and played all of 1990 at high-A, between Bakersfield and Vero Beach.

He split 1991 between AA San Antonio and AAA Albuquerque. He started well in May after his move to Albuquerque, according to The Albuquerque Journal.

"The pitchers here are constant around the plate," Munoz told The Journal then. "I've been making pretty good contact. With batters on base, I just tried to relax, and hit the best pitch."

Munoz hit .326 in 101 games that year, but didn't see Los Angeles. He returned to Albuquerque over the next two seasons, hitting .304 and .288.

He then signed with the Red Sox for 1994 and played at AAA Pawtucket, then the Braves and AAA Richmond for 1995. For 1996, he signed with the White Sox, and made the majors.

In his 17 games in Chicago, Munoz hit .259 and had one RBI. He then played the rest of the year at AAA Nashville.

Munoz continued playing after that, but in Mexico. He's last credited as playing in 2001, with Cancun.

1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,460
Made the Majors:1,213-35.1%-X
Never Made Majors:2,247-64.9%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:503
10+ Seasons in the Minors:297-X

Friday, September 18, 2020

Baltazar Mesa played three pro seasons, started an academy, then went to prison for drug trafficking

Baltazar Mesa joked with reporters in 2019 that his time in minor league baseball earned him something like $100 billion, according to a Google translation of a Listin Dairio article.

But at another point, his responses turned more serious, the translation read, as this was a Dominican courtroom and Mesa faced extradition to the United States on drug trafficking organization, accused of being one of its top men.

"And what am I going to do, am I going to cry?" Mesa told the reporters, according to the translation. "I'm a man."

Mesa ultimately was returned to the United States and the case ultimately sent him to prison.

Mesa's original trip to the United States came under much different circumstances, signed by the Dodgers as an amateur free agent out of his native Dominican Republic. The Dodgers signed him years after his brother, Jose Mesa, who went on to a long career in the majors.

Baltazar Mesa started with the Dodgers in the rookie Gulf Coast League as a pitcher. He went 3-3, with a 3.08 ERA.

He then moved to high-A Bakersfield for a brief stint in 1990. In five outings, two starts, he gave up 13 earned runs. He gave up three hits that resulted in five runs in one May relief outing. That season marked his last in the minors.

Years later, he's credited with a return in Taiwan in 1999, for Wei Chuan. He gave up six earned in 10.1 innings of work.

Mesa then returned to the Dominican and to baseball, starting an academy. But federal prosecutors also said he got into drugs and became a top member of an organization allegedly headed by a man named Cesar Peralta. Major league players Luis Castillo and Octavio Dotel were also accused. 

The Dominican Republic attorney general called the operation the largest in his office's history as it funneled drugs from South America to the United States through the Dominican.

Back in the United States, Mesa then went to prison. He is listed in September 2020 as an inmate in Miami with an anticipated release date of July 2026.

1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,459
Made the Majors:1,212-35.1%
Never Made Majors:2,247-64.9%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:503
10+ Seasons in the Minors:296

Mike Potthoff hoped he'd be back from elbow injury at high-A; Returned only briefly, saw three seasons

Mike Potthoff worked to make it back from elbow problems in 1990, his second season as a pro, and he updated his hometown St. Charles Post on his progress.

Dr. Frank Jobe had performed the arthroscopic surgery six weeks earlier and Potthoff seemed nearly back to playing shape, he told The Post.

"I've been playing catch for about two weeks," Potthoff told The Post that July. "Hopefully, I'll be back pitching in a game in about three weeks, but maybe that's pushing it a little."

As it turned out, it did appear to push it a little. Potthoff, with 15 innings of work earlier in the year, didn't make it back to the mound that year and only saw four more outings the next year, to mark the extent of his career.

Potthoff's career began in 1989, taken by the Dodgers in the 19th round of the draft out of the University of Missouri.

He played as a high school senior at St. Charles' Howell High. In 1984, his coach there called Potthoff a hard worker as Potthoff prepared to head to Missouri, according to The Post.

"There is an awful lot of talent there," coach Gerry Boehm told The Post. "He's got the ability to be a real good one."

At Missouri, Potthoff played both basketball and baseball, but ultimately settled on baseball and played well enough to get drafted by the Dodgers. After being selected, Potthoff expressed excitement to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"I'm not only excited about getting drafted, but I'm happy to be going to the Dodgers," Potthoff told The Post-Dispatch. "From what I understand, they're one of the best organizations in baseball."

Potthoff started with the Dodgers at rookie Great Falls. He saw 14 appearances, starting two. He went 2-2, with two saves and a 2.86 ERA.

He moved to high-A Bakersfield for 1990. He then saw those seven outings. He picked up a save and gave up five earned in 15 innings. Then he got hurt.

Potthoff returned for four more outings in 1991, two of them starts. Those outings proved the last of his career.

Years later, Potthoff settled in Florida, became a sales director for Anheuser-Busch and took up golf. In 2009, he even won an amateur title by a stroke over Vinny Testaverde, The Tampa Bay Times wrote.

1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,458
Made the Majors:1,212-35.1%
Never Made Majors:2,246-64.9%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:503
10+ Seasons in the Minors:296

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Tom Goodwin's speed in college made him a first-rounder, big leaguer over 14 seasons

Dodgers scouting director Ben Wade had high praise for Fresno State speedster Tom Goodwin after the Dodgers selected him 22nd overall in 1989, according to The Los Angeles Times.

The club thought Goodwin to be the best college player in the country to have played regularly that year. He also compared Goodwin favorably to longtime major leaguer and Dodger Willie Davis, The Times wrote.

"All he has to do is put the ball on the ground and it's a base hit," Wade told The Times of Goodwin. "I mean, he can flat out fly. He's a Willie Davis type, and we haven't had a player like that since Willie left."

The comparison to Davis proved nearly accurate as Goodwin not only went on to the majors but stayed for much of 14 seasons to Davis' 18. Goodwin also ultimately stole 369 bases in the bigs to Davis' 398.

But, while Davis played much of his career for Los Angeles, Goodwin didn't come into his own until he moved on from the club, with the Royals.

Goodwin's career began that year in 1989, taken by the Dodgers in the first round of the draft. He played his high school ball at Fresno's Central High.

At Fresno State, Goodwin played well enough to make the 1988 Olympic team, and helped the U.S. to the gold medal.

Goodwin started with the Dodgers at rookie Great Falls. He moved to single-A Bakersfield and AA San Antonio in 1990, then AAA Albuquerque in 1991.

He then debuted in Los Angeles in September 1991. He got into 16 games that month and went 1 for 7. He returned for 57 games in 1992 and the center fielder made what The Times called "one of the most spectacular catches of the season" on a line-drive to the gap.

"I didn't see the ball until right before it hit the glove," Goodwin told The Times afterward. "I knew where it was going, but I didn't know where it was, so I just ran. At the last minute, I picked it up."

Goodwin played in 30 games for the Dodgers in 1993 before being placed on waivers that offseason. Picked up by the Royals, he played two games in Kansas City in 1994, then he became a regular over the next three seasons.

He hit .288 in 133 games in 1995, while stealing 50 bases. He came back in 1996 and stole 66 that year and 50 more in 1997. He split his 1997 numbers with the Rangers after a mid-season trade.

After playing for the Rangers and the Rockies, he returned to the Dodgers mid-2000 and stayed there through the end of 2001. He then finished out his career with the Giants in 2002, where he made the World Series, and the Cubs in 2003 and 2004.

By 2008, he was a coach in the minors, serving at short-season Lowell. In 2013, he returned to the majors with the Mets as first base coach. He moved to the Red Sox in the same role in 2018 as the club won the title.

In 2014, he lost his 20-year-old son to suicide. In September 2018, as the Red Sox clinched the division, Goodwin spoke to The Boston Globe about his son, all the people who helped Goodwin and his family afterward.

"I just wish I could have been there for him," Goodwin told The Globe. "Not a day goes by when I don’t think about it. It’s never going to go away. I can’t understand it or make sense of it, but I just hope I can help and be there for people who are going through it."
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,457
Made the Majors:1,212-35.1%
Never Made Majors:2,245-64.9%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:503
10+ Seasons in the Minors:296

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Barry Parisotto saw five pro seasons, played in Olympics for Canada, later made career in produce

Barry Parisotto got in some off-season in November 1992, in Australia. And he started strong, The Melbourne Age wrote.

He won three of his first four starts and nearly won the fourth, all impressing his manager, The Age wrote.

"He's a real professional," Melbourne manager Joe Deeble told The Age of Parisotto. "He's been so valuable. He knows how to pitch."

Parisotto also looked forward to the next season, his fifth as a pro, when he would join the Marlins system. He played that next year at high-A High Desert. That season would also be his last.

Parisotto's career began in 1989, taken by the Dodgers in the ninth round of the draft out of Gonzaga University. He grew up in British Columbia, Canada.

The year before the Dodgers selected him, Parisotto made the Canadian Olympic team that played in Seoul. The team went 1-2 and Parisotto appeared in two of the games.

"I was really proud to represent my country," Parisotto told The Spokane Spokesman-Review.

Parisotto started with the Dodgers at rookie Great Falls. He went 9-1 there, with a 2.09 ERA.

He made high-A Bakersfield for 1990 and saw 13 outings, eight starts, with a 3-4 record and a 3.93 ERA. 

Parisotto played 1991 at high-A Reno, then 1992 at independent rookie Salt Lake. He signed with the Marlins for 1993. He went 6-5 at High Desert, with a 4.03 ERA to end his minors career.

Parisotto has since gone into the produce industry. In 2005, he joined the Oppenheimer Group's sales team for its organic produce line. In 2015, he joined Veg-Fresh as vegetable commodity manager.

As he joined Oppenheimer in 2005, Parisotto compared his prior playing days with his produce work.

"While playing pro ball, I learned that the right attitude and consistency is the key to any team's success," Parisotto told Produce News then. "The same is true in produce, where all different types of people in various situations, handling different pressures, work together to achieve a common goal."

1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,457
Made the Majors:1,212-35.1%
Never Made Majors:2,245-64.9%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:503
10+ Seasons in the Minors:296

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Matt Howard took his double play skills to bigs in eighth season; Helped Mariano Rivera to first ML save

Matt Howard helped his rookie Great Falls Dodgers win this night in August 1989, both with his defense and his base-running, according to The Great Falls Tribune.

He then drew praise from his manager Joe Vavra, The Tribune wrote.

"You never see that kid not hustle," Vavra told The Tribune after Howard helped turn two critical double plays and took an extra base late that put him in the position to score the game-winning run. "Howard makes the double play as well as anybody. He plays heads-up."

Howard hustled that day in his first season as a pro. He went on to hustle his way to the majors, seven years later, with the Yankees

He saw 35 big league games and his double play work even helped future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera earn his very first major league save.

Howard's career began that year in 1989, taken by the Dodgers in the 34th round round of the draft out of Pepperdine.

Howard started with the Dodgers at Great Falls. He hit .333 in 59 games. He then made high-A Bakersfield got 1990 and high-A Vero Beach for 1991.

He made AA San Antonio and AAA Albuquerque for 1992. He hit .275 in the year. He then repeated the two levels in a shortened 1993 and played all of 1994 at Albuquerque.

Howard played 1995 with the Orioles at AA Bowie, then, for 1996, he signed with the Yankees.

That May in 1996, he debuted in the Bronx. He went 0 for 3 in his first game, but, in the 9th, he started the double play that ended the game to secure Rivera's first big league save.

Howard got into 35 games for the Yankees that year. He hit .228, with one home run and a stolen base.

“The first time walking down the tunnel at Yankee Stadium was unbelievable," Howard told years later. "I loved playing at Fenway Park. I faced (Roger) Clemens in his last year in Boston and I got a hit and an RBI off him."

Howard then played three more seasons back at AAA, 1997 at AAA Columbus with the Yankees, 1998 at AAA Fresno with the Giants and 1999 at AAA Nashville with the Pirates, to end his career.

1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,456
Made the Majors:1,212-35.1%-X
Never Made Majors:2,244-64.9%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:503
10+ Seasons in the Minors:296