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Monday, February 20, 2012

1988 Score: Improved Velocity

Coming back from a sprained elbow in spring 1988, Greg Minton worked to improve his velocity.

He'd made 60 miles per hour, he told The Los Angeles Times. And every time he threw, it seemed, he saw his velocity increasing by 10.

"Right now, I might be able to get out my son's high school team," Minton told The Times. "Now, I've got two more days of complete and utter boredom before I throw again. If I keep gaining 10 miles per hour every time, pretty soon, Nolan Ryan look out."

Minton was trying to come back for his 14th season pitching in the majors. He did come back, for 44 relief outings. And he pitched in two more seasons, for a total of 16 in his career.

As for Nolan Ryan, Minton did have better ERAs each of his three final seasons, though he couldn't match Ryan's strikeout totals.

Minton's 1988 Score card came in a pack I picked up last year, but opened recently. Also happening to be in that pack, none other than the card of Nolan Ryan himself.

Ryan was going into his 22nd season in the majors in 1988, going on to play in 27 by the time his career was done. The back of his Score card includes each of his seasons, but little else.

Minton's card back, though, includes Score noting that his career appeared to be over in 1987, when he was released by the Giants. But he worked to lose weight and the Angels signed him. Score also notes Minton's nickname, "'Moon Man' because of his spacy humor and insights."

Elsewhere in the pack were three CMC set members, one of which I recently featured, Bill Pecota.

Pecota was going into his third season with time in the majors in 1988. He made the CMC set as a member of the Omaha Royals and went on to play in nine big league seasons.

Score called Pecota "a cracker-jack third baseman with a powerful arm." Score also notes that Pecota was called up four times in 1987, filling in for injured Royals infielders.

Darrell Miller was in his last of five seasons with time in the majors in 1988. Of the five, Miller saw the most playing time in that 1988 season, 70 games with the Angels.

He made the CMC set as a member of the Rochester Red Wings, in his final season as a pro. He was featured here in April 2010.

Miller was "a contact hitter with good extra-base power," Score notes, someone who could fill in a catcher and in the outfield.

Score also notes his family relations. His sister, Cheryl, played basketball at USC and on the Olympic team. His brother, Reggie Miller, was an All-American at UCLA in 1987.

Randy St. Claire was in his fifth major league season in 1988. He started the year with the Expos, finishing it with the Reds. He went on to pitch in nine seasons. He's now the pitching coach with the Marlins.

St. Claire made the CMC set with the Tucson Toros. He was featured here in September 2011.

Score notes he made three trips to Montreal in 1987. Score also notes his father Ebba St. Claire played for the Braves and Giants. His brother Steve St. Claire was a minor leaguer with the Expos.

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