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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tom LeVasseur came to play each day over six seasons; Made AAA, ended short of bigs

Tom LeVasseur amassed a 15-game hitting streak his in his first pro year at short-season Spokane. He'd also done well in the field.

Both prompted praise from his manager Rob Picciolo, according to The Spokane Chronicle.

"He's been so consistent physically and as far as emotional leadership on the team goes," Picciolo told The Chronicle. "Every day he comes to play. He performs well every day. I'll take him as far as any shortstop in the league."

LeVasseur came to play for six professional seasons, but he never was able to come to play in the majors. He got as high as AAA, and he also got to play in Italy, but he never got to play in the bigs.

LeVasseur did go on to teach those qualities to younger players, as both a coach and manager in the minors.

LeVasseur's professional career began that year in 1986, selected by the Padres in the 8th round of the draft out of San Diego State University.

With San Diego State that May, LeVasseur helped the Aztecs to a 2-1 win over Hawaii with a sacrifice fly.

"I didn't want to pull the trigger until I got something I could hit in the air," LeVasseur told The Los Angeles Times after that Aztec win. "As soon as I hit it, I knew it was deep enough."

LeVasseur spent his first professional year at short-season Spokane. There, he hit .372 in 53 games, including that 15-game hitting streak. That was despite being out three weeks with a finger injury.

He moved to single-A Reno for 1987, hitting 3.275 with 48 RBI. He stayed at single-A Riverside for 1988, then moved to AA Wichita for 1989. At Wichita, LeVasseur hit .270.

But, with a move to AAA Las Vegas in 1990, that average plummeted to .218. It was his last year in affiliated ball until 1994. In the meantime, he played in Italy.

He returned with the Mariners in 1994, playing at AAA Calgery and coaching, The Times wrote. For 1995, he was managing in the Arizona Rookie League. It was starting at the bottom for LeVasseur.

"This is the heart of the game," LeVasseur told The Times of his first managerial gig. "There are no fundamentals here. Anyone who had a command of the fundamentals wouldn't be here."

LeVasseur managed two years in the rookie league, two more at single-A Clinton, then two at high-A Rancho Cucamonga. He's also spent time as a scout.

What happened to the rest of the 1990 Las Vegas Stars? Find out

1990 CMC Tally
Cards Featured: 479/880 - 54.4%
Players/Coaches Featured:
Made the Majors: 328 - 67%
Never Made the Majors:
5+ Seasons in the Majors:
10+ Seasons in the Minors:

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