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Sunday, December 13, 2020

Shawn Barton played 9 pro seasons, realized how lucky he was

Shawn Barton 1990 Reno Silver Sox card

The Reno Gazette-Journal columnist described Shawn Barton's unique style of play at second base, a style that involved constant movement to stay ready.

After seven seasons previously in the minors, The Gazette-Journal columnist in this April 1989 article also noted where Barton had put in his work the year before - as a landscaper.

"These guys might not realize how lucky they are to play this game," Barton told The Gazette-Journal. "It's a privilege when somebody wants you to play for them."

Barton returned to the field that year with independent Reno. He played in one more campaign, the next year at Reno and high-A Salinas. In nine pro seasons, he topped out at high-A.

Barton's career began in 1981, signed by the White Sox as an undrafted free agent out of De Anza College in California.

Barton started with the White Sox in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He moved to short-season Niagara Falls for 1982. He hit .216 in 50 games. He knocked an extra-inning single for the go-ahead run in a June win.

He played 1983 at short-season Utica, then 1984 at independent single-A San Jose. He saw San Jose again in 1985, 1986 and 1987. He also saw 21 games with the Mariners at single-A Wausau in 1985.

Barton went 1 for 3 in a July 1986 game. He knocked in two runs on a single in a May 1987 contest.

Then came Barton's year away from the game. He returned with Reno for 1989 and hit .229 in 115 games. He also hit two home runs and knocked in 54.

In June 1989, he went 4 for 5 in a win, hitting two doubles and scoring twice in a 10-5 Reno win.

He returned to Reno to start 1990 and, to start his ninth pro season, he spoke to The Gazette-Journal about Opening Day.

"It's always exciting," Barton told The Gazette-Journal. "We all love to play ball and today we're all just hoping we have a winning team. This game is all about winning."

He saw 16 games at Reno that year and then 88 at high-A Salinas. He hit .275 on the season to end his pro career.

Barton went on to settle in Reno, where he raised his two children. He also continued playing on club semi-pro teams. In August 2020, after a six-month battle with cancer, he passed away at the age of 58.

Shawn Barton 1990 Reno Silver Sox card

1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,527
Made the Majors:1,227-34.8%
Never Made Majors:2,300-65.2%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:509
10+ Seasons in the Minors:304-X

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