"I told him, 'You’re going to be playing every single day,'" Laddie Renfroe told The Telegraph on the occasion of his son, the Red Sox' 2009 third-round pick, starting play at single-A Lowell. “And you’re going to have to battle through slumps every once in awhile, so just work harder.”
The father knows, he played professionally for nine seasons, pitching in the majors for a total of four games and 4.2 innings.
Laddie Renfroe started his own career taken by the Cubs in the 24th round of the 1984 draft out of the University of Mississippi. He had been a walk-on at OleMiss and, by the time his college career ended, he owned the school's total wins mark, according to The Telegraph.
But, whether it was enough to get him drafted, Renfroe wasn't sure.
"I waited and waited," Renfroe told The Telegraph in 1985. "I came to the conclusion that I wasn't going to be drafted. Then (Cubs scout Earl) Winn called with the good news."
Converted from a starter to a reliever, Renfroe posted a 1.38 ERA at short-season Geneva, then a 3.20 mark at single-A Peoria in 1985. He made AA Pittsfield and then AAA Iowa in 1987 with a combined 4.30 ERA on the year.
He returned to AA in 1989, at Charlotte. Still a reliever, Renfroe claimed 19 wins for the club and a 3.14 ERA. At one point, he retired 16 consecutive batters, according to The Rock Hill Herald.
"I'm throwing better strikes," Renfroe told The Herald that May. "But throwing every night helps me. When I'm tired the ball sinks more."
Renfroe returned to AAA Iowa in 1990 and had a 4.96 ERA. By late June 1991, the reliever led the league in saves with 14 saves. It was enough to get the call up to the Cubs.
In four outings for the Cubs, Renfroe pitched in 4.2 innings and gave up seven earned runs. He faced 14 batters in his third appearance, giving up two of those runs and taking the loss.
Sent back down shortly afterward, Renfroe played one more year at AAA Iowa and his career ended. Now his son David Renfroe is playing in the minors himself, in the Red Sox system.
- Nashua Telegraph, May 1, 1984: Renfroe sets career mark
- Nashua Telegraph, May 10, 1985: Renfroe's riding high
- Rock Hill Herald, May 17, 1989: Knights bat down Lookouts
- Chicago Tribune, July 8, 1991: Cubs Prove No Lead Is Safe
- Nashua Telegraph, June 17, 2010: Renfroe's homecoming highlights Spinners' visit to Holman Stadium
Cards Reviewed: 231/880 - 26.3%
Players/Coaches Reviewed: 236
Made the Majors: 157 - 67%
Never Made the Majors: 79 - 33%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 68
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 73