A series of catcher injuries in the Astros system in 1990 led Joe Ortiz directly to AAA Tucson, The Arizona Daily Star wrote.
The August trip marked Ortiz' first to that level, in his fourth pro season.
"I attribute it all to fate," Ortiz told The Daily Star then. "I thank my lucky stars I've gotten a chance to play up here. It's a great incentive."
Ortiz ended up getting into seven games at Tucson that year. That season also proved his last. He didn't get to play higher.
Ortiz' career began in 1987, taken by the Astros in the fourth round of the previous year's draft out of Scottsdale Community College.
Ortiz started with the Astros at short-season Auburn and in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He also played in multiple spots, in the infield, outfield and at catcher. He hit .269 in 60 games overall.
He then moved to single-A Asheville for 1988. He hit .270 over 113 games there, with 13 home runs. That July, he picked up three hits and two RBI, including seven hits over 14 at bats in the four-game series against the Charleston Wheelers, according to The Asheville Citizen-Times.
"I hate to see them leave town - they just happen to show up when I'm hitting good, and I have a lot of confidence against them," Ortiz told The Citizen-Times.
Ortiz then played 1989 at single-A Osceola. He hit .206 that year over 115 games. He played his 1990 season between Osceola, AA Columbus and Tucson. He got into a total of 68 games between them and hit .157 to mark his final season as a pro.
- Asheville Citizen-Times, July 7, 1988: Ortiz, Tourists Pound Wheelers
- Arizona Daily Star, Aug. 12, 1990: Fate has been good to Toros catcher Joe Ortiz
Made the Majors:1,241-34.7%
Never Made Majors:2,335-65.3%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:517
10+ Seasons in the Minors:305