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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Lee Upshaw, Player's Reality - 1

Lee Upshaw and his Durham Bulls teammates filed into a theater in the summer of 1988 to take in the movie version of the Bulls, 'Bull Durham,' according to The Los Angeles Times.

One scene in particular struck Upshaw, the son of major leaguer Cecil Upshaw, and his teammates, according to The Times, when when he slumping Crash Davis got called into the office.

"We all sort of eyeballed each other, knowing that's reality," Upshaw told The Times. "That's every player's fear - to be released."

Upshaw played as a professional for seven seasons, pitching for a single organization in the minors. In the end, though, his final release came short of the majors. He made AAA, but not the bigs.

Upshaw's career began in 1988, signed by the Braves as a non-drafted free agent out of the University of Kentucky.

Upshaw started with the Braves at single-A Durham. He went 7-6, with a 4.17 ERA. He moved to single-A Burlington and AA Greenville for 1989, going 13-5 overall.

He returned to Greenville for 1990. He also got a brief look at AAA Richmond that year. He picked up the loss in a July game for Greenville, allowing five runs in three innings. For Richmond, he started five games and went 0-3, with a 6.17 ERA.

Upshaw played 1991 back at Greenville and again in 1993. In between and in 1994, he played in Mexico. The book Baseball at the Border includes some accounts of Upshaw's time in Mexico. His time in 1994 marked his final in-season performance.

In spring 1995, Upshaw dealt with the sudden loss of his father, as well as playing that spring. Upshaw's father played nine seasons in the majors. He told The South Florida Sun Sentinel his father's passing put everything in perspective.

"I want to see the best baseball - just like everybody else," Upshaw told The Sun Sentinel early that March. "But it's an excellent feeling to have an opportunity to pitch on the same mound in Fulton County Stadium that my dad did."
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,441
Made the Majors: 995-40.8%
Never Made Majors:1,446-59.2%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 415
10+ Seasons in the Minors:252

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