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Friday, April 8, 2022

Bruce Bielenberg used surprises, quality as Miami Miracle GM

Miami Miracle 1990 office staff card

The independent Miami Miracle tried to make a splash in 1990. They signed former major leaguer Jackie Gutierrez, selected players in the draft and even tried to sign Hall of Famer Jim Rice, The Tampa Tribune wrote.

General manager Bruce Bielenberg explained the moves to The Tribune that June.

"We're always full of surprises," Bielenberg told The Tribune. "But the bottom line is, we're trying to put together a quality baseball product here."

Bielenberg had experience with successful minor league franchises before, specifically as public relations director with the AAA Iowa Cubs. Then, from Miami, he went on to work in Minnesota, with the NBA's Timberwolves.

Bielenberg started his career out of Drake University in Iowa in 1984.

He then joined the Iowa Cubs and became the club's public relations director. In 1986, the club won top minor league team

"One thing that has helped us is the location of the stadium," Bielenberg explained to UPI then, "at the intersection of two rivers and with the State Capitol on a hill in the background. It's a small cozy atmosphere, almost like being at spring training."

Bielenberg, then 26, then moved on from Iowa in October 1988. He moved to single-A Charleston briefly as assistant general manager, then joined independent Miami.

At Miami, though, the team basically had none of what Iowa had - the team didn't have any ballpark weeks before the season and regularly saw miniscule crowds.

Bielenberg stayed with Miami through 1990, when he returned to the Midwest and took a job in the Minnesota Timberwolves marketing department. 

In 1994, as the Timberwolves appeared to be on the brink of moving to New Orleans, Bielenberg told The Des Moines Register about his move from Miami and how the possible move to New Orleans reminded him of his minor league days.

"I didn't know if I could take any more minor league insecurity," Bielenberg told The Register. "Never knowing if the team is going to be sold or moved. Stick with a pro team at least you know you have security. Then to have this happen."

Miami Miracle 1990 office staff card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,888
Made the Majors:1,297-33.4%
Never Made Majors:2,591-66.6%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:528
10+ Seasons in the Minors:325

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