Monday, October 16, 2017

Dave Adam, His Spots - 6

Dave Adam pitched well enough in this April 1992 game to receive praise from his opponents, but not enough to get the win, according to The San Bernardino County Sun.

"That guy was on," Bakersfield outfielder Brock McMurray told The Sun afterward. "He had a little bit of control problems in the first two innings, then he was hitting his spots, especially the outside corner, perfectly."

Adam struggled early in the game, but settled in to go six innings in the 2-1 loss, The Sun wrote. Adam went on to play in a total of eight pro seasons. He never hit his spots enough to make the majors. He made it to AA, but no higher.

Adam's career began in 1990, taken by the Mariners in the 18th round of the draft out of Central Connecticut State University.

Adam started with the Mariners at short-season Bellingham. He went 4-4, with a 1.43 ERA over 19 outings, seven starts. He lowered his ERA to its final number with a four-hit shutout over Southern Oregon.

He then lost 1991 to shoulder surgery. He returned to the field with San Bernardino in 1992, where he went 7-12, with a 5.63 ERA. He picked up his second win in a June game, going six innings while giving up three runs.

Adam returned to high-A at Riverside for 1993, then made AA in 1994 and 1995 at Jacksonville and Port City. He went 6-10 in both seasons at AA and had a 4.34 ERA his second year.

He didn't play in 1996, but played in Mexico in 1997 and briefly stateside in 1998. He ended his career with two seasons at independent Bridgeport. He had a 4.33 ERA over 29 relief outings in 2000 to end his career.

Adam has since turned instructor and coach with Strike Three Baseball in Maine. He also spent time as manager of the Seacoast Mavericks collegiate team, named to the post in 2013.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,780
Made the Majors:1,060-38.1%
Never Made Majors:1,720-61.9%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 442
10+ Seasons in the Minors:265

Doug Tegtmeier, Summer Title - 5

Doug Tegtmeier went Alaska in 1989 and helped the Anchorage Bucs to a title.

Tegtmeier went unbeaten for the Bucs that summer, going 10-0 as the Bucs won their first Alaska League pennant.

Tegtmeier went on from Alaska to turn pro the next year. He played in three seasons, but didn't see the kind of success in the pros that he saw in collegiate summer ball. He never made AA.

Tegtmeier's career began in 1990, signed by the Mariners as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Nebraska.

At Nebraska, Tegtmeier made the school's record book, just not in the categories he'd have liked. He took six losses and walked 53 in 1989. He threw 12 wild pitches in 1988 and walked 130 over his college career.

Tegtmeier started with the Mariners at short-season Bellingham. In 17 relief outings, he picked up a win and turned in a 2.21 ERA.

He moved to high-A Peninsula for 1991. In 50 outings, one start, he went 3-3, with one save and a 5.35 ERA.

Tegtmeier didn't play in 1992, then returned for one final season in 1993 with independent Duluth-Superior. He went 3-4 over 22 outings, eight starts, with a 4.54 ERA to end his career.

Tagtmeier has since returned home to Nebraska and gone into the manufacturing business. In 2016, he was named CEO of Titan IBC, a company that makes stainless steal tanks.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,779
Made the Majors:1,060-38.1%
Never Made Majors:1,719-61.9%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 442
10+ Seasons in the Minors:265

Larry Shikles, Different Pitches - 6

Larry Shikles hung a slider to a Clearwater Phillie the Phillie hit it out, Shikles explained to The Lakeland Ledger after that April 1987 game.

After that, Shikles saw a change in his approach, though he still recorded the win, he told The Ledger.

"After the home run," Shikles told The Ledger, "I started to try to over-throw and I started to get behind and used my fast ball more. Earlier, when I was ahead of a hitter, I used my slider and curve more."

Shikles was in his second season using his different pitches as a pro. He went on to use his fast ball, slider and curve in a total of eight seasons. But he never did get to use them in the majors.

Shikles' career began in 1986, signed by the Red Sox as an undrafted free agent out of Western Kentucky University.

Shikles started that year at single-A Greensboro, going 12-10, with a 4.74 ERA. He moved to single-A Winter Haven in 1987, going 12-11 there, with a 3.63.

For 1988, Shikles made AA New Britain, splitting time between starting and relieving and keeping his ERA below 4 at 3.53.

He then returned to New Britain for 1989, getting a one-game look that year at AAA Pawtucket.

Shikles then played his next three seasons at Pawtucket, going from starting to relieving his first two seasons, then returning to mostly start in 1992. In April 1991, Shikles came into a game in relief and set down 11-straight batters in a Pawtucket win.

By the end of 1992, though, Shikles was ready to move on from the Red Sox. He hadn't made Boston, despite a season that year where he went 13-8, with a 3.56 ERA in 23 starts.

"I felt like I really had a strong season," Shikles told The Bowling Green Daily News after becoming a free agent. "The only thing I didn't accomplish is making the big leagues."

Shikles then tried his hand in the Athletics organization. But the results were the same. He spent the year at AAA Tacoma, starting 21 games and relieving in 17. But he didn't see Oakland.

Shikles then left the game, becoming a financial consultant in his native Missouri, where he remained for 2012.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Rich Lodding, Physical Effort - 2

Mariners pitching coach Bryan Price talked pitching with an author for a 2004 book. His discussions though, turned to a pitcher he'd coached more than a decade earlier in the minors, Rich Lodding.

Lodding, Price recalled to Eric Liu, overthrew. Price worked with him through 1991 at high-A Peninsula. He focused on Lodding's mechanical approach, when, Price later believed, a mental approach would have been more beneficial.

"He never lacked physical effort," Price, who said he took Lodding's eventual release personally, told Liu in the book Guiding Lights. "What he lacked was the trust that he could succeed using less physical effort."

Lodding met Price in his third professional season. Lodding got into one more campaign. He never made AA.

Lodding's career began in 1989, taken by the Mariners in the 16th round of the draft out of Cypress College in California.

At Cypress, Lodding went 9-2 by mid-May 1989, including a four-hit playoff shutout. In regionals, he pitched 13.1 innings and gave up a single run.

"Lodding was amazing," Cypress coach Scott Pickler told The Los Angeles Times of that stretch.

Lodding started with the Mariners at short-season Bellingham. In 15 outings, nine starts, in 1989 he went 4-5, with a 3.75 ERA.

He then returned to Bellingham for 1990. His record dipped to 1-5 and ERA increased to 5.21 over 13 outings, 11 starts. He started the club's home opener.

Lodding them moved to Peninsula and Price for 1991. He also pitched mostly in relief. In 18 outings, he got a single start. He ended with a 4.99 ERA.

Lodding then played one more season at high-A San Bernardino to end his career.

He has since gone into coaching. He has served nearly 25 years as pitching coach at Sonora High School in California and served for a time as an instructor.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,778
Made the Majors:1,060-38.2%
Never Made Majors:1,718-61.8%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 442
10+ Seasons in the Minors:265

Randy Rivera, Could Go - 24

Randy Rivera worked past two early errors to throw seven shutout innings in this July 1990 game for high-A Peninsula and he explained to The Newport News Daily Press how he did it.

"I get a lot of ground balls," Rivera told The Daily Press. "I'm a control pitcher and I don't walk a lot of batters. I feel great. I hoped I could go for as far as I could go, as long as I could go."

Rivera played that year between short-season Bellingham and Peninsula. He got into 20 games and started seven.

That offseason, the Oklahoma State product played winter ball in Puerto Rico and then returned to Oklahoma. That January, west of Oklahoma City, he and two others were killed in a car accident. He was 23.

Rivera's pro career began that June, signed by the Mariners as an undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State.

As a youth, Rivera threw a near perfect game in the Connie Mack World Series, something he counted as his greatest thrill, according to his Bellingham card. He received his first pro offers after that.

At Oklahoma State, Rivera gave up one hit over three innings in a March 1989 game, then picked up his fifth win that year in an April game against Missouri.

With the Mariners, he started at Bellingham. He got into three games in relief there, without giving up a run. He then moved to Peninsula. He got into 17 games there, started seven. He went 5-3, with a 3.23 ERA.

Playing winter ball in Puerto Rico, Rivera went 4-3, with a 3.65 ERA.

Rivera was born in New York, but later moved to Puerto Rico. His funeral services were held on the island.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,777
Made the Majors:1,060-38.2%
Never Made Majors:1,717-61.8%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 442
10+ Seasons in the Minors:265

Joe Johnson, Not Nervous - 15

Originally published Oct. 30, 2012
Joe Johnson's first major league pitch went for a single. He then leaned back on his Braves teammates.

The result was a seven-inning outing where he gave up just one run and two more hits - all in his major league debut.

"I was not nervous at all," Johnson told reporters afterward. "The team really relaxed me. They wished me luck and they made me feel like I really wanted to pitch well."

Johnson pitched well enough to earn 13 more starts that year and 30 the next. Johnson, though, only pitched well enough in his career to earn time in just one more major league season after that.

Johnson's professional career began in 1982, taken by the Braves in the second round of the draft, out of the University of Maine.

With the Braves, Johnson started right at AA Savannah, playing his first three seasons largely at that level. He saw a game at AAA Richmond in 1983 and four more outings there in 1984.

In 1985, Johnson saw AA Greeneville, AAA Richmond and, in late July, saw Atlanta.

After that seven-inning, three-hit debut, Johnson went on to get a total of 14 starts, one relief outing. He also posted an ERA of 4.10.

Johnson returned to Atlanta for 1986, getting 17 outings, 15 starts there before being sent to the Blue Jays in a July trade.

That April, Johnson struck out nine in one outing, a career high. He also went the full nine innings, giving up just four hits and one run. Johnson told The Associated Press it was the best game he'd pitched in pro ball.

"Joe showed great poise," teammate Dale Murphy told The AP of Johnson. "He's come into his own and is pitching great."

With the Braves that year, Johnson went 6-7, with a 4.97 ERA. After his move to the Blue Jays, he went 7-2, with a 3.89 ERA.

After the trade, Johnson told The Bangor Daily News he thought about the move as a new opportunity. He also knew he was streaky.

"I think I know what I have to do to be more consistent," Johnson told The Daily News. "I've got to keep the ball down, sink it in and sink it away. I've also got to work on changing speeds more."

Johnson returned to Toronto for 14 starts in 1987, going 3-5, with a 5.13 ERA. They ended up being the final 14 starts of his major league career.

Johnson played 1988 with the Angels at AAA Edmonton, isn't recorded as playing in 1989, then returned for one final season in 1990, with the Red Sox at AAA Pawtucket, ending his career.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Eric Hetzel, Go Pitch - 28

Eric Hetzel made the Boston Red Sox for the first time in June 1989. He told his hometown Alexandria Town Talk the next month his thought process once he arrived.

"Going back down to the minors has been in the back of my mind every time I pitch" Hetzel told The Town Talk. "But I need to get that out of my mind. You can't worry about it. I just have to go out there and pitch."

Hetzel went out there and pitched for the Red Sox for stretches of the remainder of the season and returned for some time the next year. Those two seasons, amounting to 21 total outings, 19 starts, proved the extent of his big league career.

Hetzel's career began in 1985, taken by the Red Sox in the first round of the June secondary draft out of Louisiana State University.

Hetzel started with the Red Sox at single-A Greensboro. He went 7-5 over 15 starts. He's not recorded as playing in 1986, but returned to single-A Winter Haven for 1987. He went 10-12 over 2 starts there.

Hetzel then made the jump to AAA Pawtucket for 1988 and then returned there to start 1989. He debuted with Boston July 1. He pitched into the sixth inning of his debut without giving up a run. He also picked up the win.

"I was a little nervous," Hetzel told reporters afterward. "But I think I was more nervous in spring training. But that was more from sitting around in the pen and just waiting for my chance."

Hetzel went on to get into 12 games for the Red Sox that year, starting 11. He went 2-3, with a 6.26 ERA.

Hetzel then returned to the Red Sox the next April. In his third outing, he went seven innings and gave up a single run. Afterward, Hetzel felt encouraged.

"If I continue to throw the way I am I think I can win a lot of games up here," Hetzel told reporters.

He stayed with the Red Sox through the end of May, running into a series of rockier starts. He then saw a relief outing in September. In his nine outings, Hetzel went 1-4, with a 5.91 ERA.

Hetzel returned to the minors and AAA Pawtucket in 1991. His main career then ended on arthroscopic surgery. He returned for one more brief final look in 1994 at independent Beaumont to end his career.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,776
Made the Majors:1,060-38.2%-X
Never Made Majors:1,716-61.8%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 442
10+ Seasons in the Minors:265

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