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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Tony Kounas got pro chance, saw AA: Baseball Profiles

Tony Kounas 1990 Bellingham Mariners card
Frustrated at his lack of playing time at Oklahoma State, Tony Kounas set out to find a new college home for his senior year, The Los Angeles Times wrote.

The home he soon found, The Times wrote, was Loyola Marymount and head coach Chris Smith.

"Coach Smith knew where I was coming from," Kounas told The Times. "He said he figured I just needed a chance to play, and that he would give me a chance to do that at Loyola Marymount."

Kounas took that chance to play on to a pro career that lasted six seasons. He played three of those seasons at AA, but he didn't make it higher.

Kounas' career began in 1990, taken by the Mariners in the 21st round out of Loyola Marymount.

Four years earlier, the Red Sox selected him in the 17th round out of San Bernardino's San Gorgonio High School. In his third pro season, he returned to San Bernardino with the Mariner's high-A Spirit. He told The San Bernardino County Sun he made the right choice to go to college.

"Coming out of high school, I wasn't ready to play pro ball," Kounas told The Sun. "I don't regret going to college. If pro ball doesn't work out, I have my degree."

Kounas started with the Mariners at short-season Bellingham. He got into just 19 games and hit .231.

He moved to high-A Peninsula for 1991. In a full 109 games there, he hit .269 with 47 RBI. That March, he got married and his wife quit her job to follow his career, The Newport News Daily Press wrote.

"For a married guy, the wife has to help out a lot,'' Kounas told The Daily Press in a story about minor league life. "We have to cut corners, turn off the air conditioning once in a while. Your lifestyle does change. You don't have everything you had in college with your parents helping out and stuff like that."

Kounas then played 1992 at San Bernardino. He hit .262, with 10 home runs in his season there. He made AA Jacksonville for 1993. He doubled and accounted for the winning run in an April game there. He only saw 49 games that year, though, and hit .278.

He returned to Jacksonville for 68 games in 1994, then moved to the Expos and AA Harrisburg for 1995. He got into 66 games that year and hit .235 to end his career.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,809
Made the Majors:1,065-37.9%
Never Made Majors:1,744-62.1%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 443
10+ Seasons in the Minors:266

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