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Monday, February 22, 2010

Skeeter Barnes, Detail Oriented - 138

Check out the new Skeeter Barnes feature:
Dream Realized, Jan. 6, 2011

A minor league instructor for the Rays, Skeeter Barnes tried to use his own slight stature convey to minor leaguers what was possible.

Attending at 5 feet, 10 inches tall, Barnes was no Randy Johnson. The key for shorter players, he relayed to one such player, 5 foot, 8 inch Michael Ross in 2007 was details.

"Coach Skeeter Barnes told me that as a little guy I needed to do all the little things and I'll get there, just use my speed," Ross told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

While it didn't work out for Ross, Barnes parlayed the little things into a playing career that spanned 15 years, touching nine big league seasons.

A native of Cincinnati, Barnes was taken by his hometown team in the 16th round in 1978. He hit .368 that year for the Pioneer League's Billings Mustangs. He made it to AAA in 1981 and Cincinnati in 1983.

Still a rookie in 1984, Barnes took the first pitch in the bottom of the 12th inning over the wall for a walk-off win against Houston. He would be the last Reds rookie to do that until 2008, when Jay Bruce did it.

By 1985, Barnes was with the Expos organization, picked up on a trade. The Expos had high hopes for the utility infielder, but he only got in 19 games for the Canadian club.

He didn't find a permanent home until 1991, when the Tigers picked him up as a free agent. He hit over .270 for the big club each of the next three years, never playing in fewer than 75 games.

Barnes' minor league career would be marked by parts of four seasons in Nashville, 1979 with the AA Sounds, then '88-'90 with the AAA Sounds. A fan-favorite, his number, 00, has since been retired by the club.

Since his playing career ended in 1994, Barnes has held multiple positions with the Tigers and the Rays organizations, including manager, coach and instructor. He remains a Rays minor league coordinator for 2010 with fellow 1990 CMC set members Jamie Nelson and Dick Bosman.

Read the Bluefield Daily Telegraph story: Ross among shortest, but swiftest, Appy League players

1990 CMC Tally
Cards Reviewed: 57/880 - 6.5%
Made the Majors: 35 - 61%
Never Made the Majors: 22 - 39%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 14
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 19

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