Friday, August 16, 2013

Frank Cacciatore and the 1990 Asheville Tourists

Frank Cacciatore at Harrisburg's Metro Bank Park in August 2013. (G21D Photo)
Given a roster for the Asheville Tourists, Frank Cacciatore's recollections came out. With player's names came descriptions of their playing style and their careers.

Cacciatore spoke to The Greatest 21 Days in August 2013 at Harrisburg's Metro Bank Park. Cacciatore has been in baseball for nearly four decades, serving as a manager and a coach in the minors for the last quarter century.

In 1990, Cacciatore served as manager of the Asheville Tourists, getting himself in the ProCards set, a team set to be featured here soon.

One player on that team Cacciatore remembered, was Donne Wall. Wall ended up spending parts of eight seasons in the majors, but didn't make it until 1995, his seventh season in pro ball.

"There's a guy," Cacciatore said of Wall, "really nobody gave him any credit. He didn't throw extremely hard, but he was one of the hungry guys and he had a nice career in the big leagues."

Kenny Wheeler was a pitcher who never made the majors, playing five seasons as a pro. What Cacciatore remembered of him was a marathon outing in Savannah.

"Back then, we had a little more leeway with innings pitched," Cacciatore said, though noting pitch counts remained closely watched. "He threw like 10 innings and only had like 90 pitches."

It was a hot day, too, Cacciatore recalled. It had to be 110. "He just threw a hell of a ballgame."

Ed Quijada was a third baseman out of California, "a great kid," Cacciatore recalled.

The story Cacciatore remembered about him came from the end of the season, Asheville playing Gastonia. Asheville won, Cacciatore recalled, but Quijada spent the end of the game in the hospital, hit by a pitch in the seventh inning.

"So the season had ended and he was in the emergency room," Cacciatore recalled.

"Luckily everything was OK, they were giving him a battery of tests," Cacciatore added, "I just remember sitting in the parking lot, the season was over" waiting to hear back.

Other thoughts: 

Kevin Scott: "A catcher, a veteran-type guy."

Orlando Miller: "A big-leaguer who had all the talent in the world. He was pretty good."

Anthony Gutierrez: "A left-handed pitcher, a pretty good little player."

Mark Small: "A big guy who had a good curveball."

Ed Beuerlein: "Just a baseball rat."

Luther Johnson: "A left-handed hitter who had a little bit of pop, struck out a little bit."

Gershon Dallas: Played at Hillsborough Community College, for a teammate of Cacciatore's at Florida Southern, Cacciatore recalled. "He was a pretty good talent."

Rick Aponte, Pitching Coach: "One of my best friends in baseball. I still see him to this day."

"Back then, too," Cacciatore recalled of Aponte, "we were the only two guys on the coaching staff, so we threw a lot of BP."

Read the full Frank Cacciatore interview: Frank Cacciatore, Head Start

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