Brad Erdman had yet to see AAA. He'd made AA the year before, but this year, 1994, the catcher was back at high-A Daytona.
For Erdman, he was just happy to be playing. He also still had his dream - and knew that dream was still possible, according to The Orlando Sentinel.
"If I didn't have the dream, I wouldn't be here doing it today," Erdman told The Sentinel. "I'll keep playing as long as they'll let me play. A lot of people take it for granted, but here you come to the ballpark and you get paid for it . . . you can't pass that up.''
Erdman didn't pass that up. Baseball was something he ultimately got paid for in eight pro seasons. Erdman, though, would never get paid for it in the major leagues.
Erdman's career began in 1989, taken by Chicago in the 17th round, out of Cochise Community College in Arizona.
With Cochise, Erdman helped his team to the Junior College World Series that year, picking up a bases-clearing triple in one contest.
With the Cubs, Erdman started at short-season Geneva, hitting .176 in 26 games. He split time in 1990 between Geneva and single-A Peoria, hitting .209.
For 1991, it was full-time at Peoria. For 1992, it was high-A Winston-Salem. Erdman saw AA Orlando for the first time in 1993, his fifth season as a pro. With Orlando that year, Erdman hit just .181 in 89 games.
Iit wasn't his offense, though, that won Erdman praise. It was his abilities behind the plate. In one June 1993 game, it was just that that caught the eye of Orlando pitching coach Rick Kranitz, according to The Sentinel.
"He was super back there, you couldn't have asked for anything more," Kranitz told The Sentinel after the game. "He throws out two potential base stealers and then picks a runner off second base."
Erdman returned to high-A Daytona in 1994, getting 76 games there, and one in Orlando. In the Orlando game, Erdman was unintentionally taken out on a July slide at home, straining a knee ligament, according to a wire account.
Erdman worked his way back to Orlando by August 1995. But Erdman was also a year older.
"I'm a fossil," Erdman told The Sentinel, comparing himself to the younger players on the AA roster. ''I take it as a rehab stint down here and not a demotion. They (Chicago) have stuck their neck out for me and kept me around. I would like to stay in the Cubs' organization."
Erdman did stay with the Cubs organization, but it lasted just one more season. In 1996, he made AAA Iowa, getting into 57 games, but he hit just .157. It was his final year as a pro.
- Orlando Sentinel, June 10, 1993: Cubs Leave Home A Winner
- Orlando Sentinel, June 26, 1994: Erdman Bullish On Making It To The Majors
- Orlando Sentinel, Aug. 24, 1995: Erdman's Love For Sport Keeps Him Around
Made the Majors:1,157-36.2%
Never Made Majors:2,040-63.8%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 480
10+ Seasons in the Minors:283