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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Tim Torricelli, Homering with Sheffield + Random, Freaky Super Bowl Prediction - 33

Check out the latest Tim Torricelli entry, posted Dec. 12: Tim Torricelli, Good Rapport

I realize this is a blog that concerns not just baseball or minor league baseball, but a minor league baseball set from 20 years ago. But I couldn't resist pointing out this weekend's two cards, both in the tradition of the others, picked from the 880 cards in the CMC set by the random number generator at And, how those random numbers seem to be screaming a Super Bowl prediction: The Saints will win.

Yesterday, the generator spat out number 32, Joe Xavier, infielder for the Denver Zephyrs. For today's entry, it spat out the very next number, 33, Tim Torricelli, also a member of the Denver Zephyrs. I actually asked for another number, but then I decided to trust the randomness, or was it not random? I went with 33, and constructed the entry below.

Then I got to thinking about today's game, between the Saints and the Colts. It's unique, in that it is only the fifth time both Super Bowl teams have hailed from cities without major league teams. The other four games, VII, XVII, XXII and XXVI, all involved either the Redskins or Dolphins, former or future major league cities. (II and VI involved Oakland-Green Bay and Dallas-Miami, respectively. In each case, the Athletics and Senators months before had announced moves, making Dallas and Oakland major league cities in time for the big games.)

Today's game, however, is the first between two cities who never had a major league team (modern era). Both are AAA cities with franchises in the 1990 CMC set. Indianapolis, of course had and still has the Indians. But New Orleans didn't have a team in the set.

So why would two randomly picked cards, both players from a Denver team, predict a Saints victory? The Zephyrs, of course, would make way in a couple years for the Colorado Rockies. The Zephyrs would be off to Louisiana, making their new residence in the Big Easy, home to the NFL's New Orleans Saints.

It's freaky, I know.

On to today's entry, Tim Torricelli, Zephyr:

The night of Aug. 6, 1987, the Modesto A's were looking for their first win in six tries against the Stockton Ports. They wouldn't get it, thanks to two two-run home runs, one hit by a young Gary Sheffield, the other by a young Tim Torricelli, Torricelli's narrowly clearing the foul pole.

Sheffield, of course, would go on to hit 17 home runs that year for Stockton and become the surly left fielder we know and not quite love today. Torricelli wouldn't hit 17 home runs during his four-season minor league career. He would make AAA Denver in 1990, playing just 17 games before his playing days would be over.

But Torricelli's days in baseball weren't over. He spent the rest of the 1990s managing and coaching minor league teams in the Expos and Tigers systems.

He managed the short-season Jamestown Jammers in 1993 and 1998, the single-A Visalia Oaks in 1996.

In 1999, he was named a coach for the Lakeland Tigers of the Florida State League, according to the Lakeland Ledger. The Lakeland manager that year was fellow 1990 CMC setter Mark Meleski.

But Torricelli apparently made his way to coach the Midwest League's West Michigan Whitecaps. With both the Jammers and the Whitecaps, Torricelli oversaw the development of one Brandon Inge and Inge's switch to catcher.

"He actually signed as an infielder, but the Tigers decided they were going to have him catch, because that was the best opportunity for him at the time," Torricelli told "He'd never caught before. The way he took that on proved he was a gamer."

These days, Torricelli is serving with two other members of the Torricelli family as an assistant coach at Benedictine University at Springfield, IL.

1990 CMC Tally
Cards Reviewed: 42/880 - 4.8%
Major Leaguers: 23 - 55%
Never Made the Majors: 19 - 45%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 8
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 15

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