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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Joe Hubbard traveled as pro trainer: Baseball Profiles

Joe Hubbard 1990 Elizabethton Twins card

Joe Hubbard joined the World Football League in 1992, as trainer for the Sacramento Surge.

His hometown Elizabethton Star asked him what he liked best- and least - about his new assignment.

"The chance to travel," Hubbard told The Star of what he liked best. And least? "The travel."

Hubbard got some travel in in his career as a trainer, both in the World Football League and around Tennessee and elsewhere as he also served as trainer for the rookie Elizabethton Twins and at East Tennessee State University.

Hubbard served as trainer at Elizabethton in 1990 before he even got his degree. He got that in December 1990 from Carson-Newman University in Tennessee.

After serving his first season at Elizabethton, Hubbard earned his athletic trainer certification that November, something that required 1,800 hours of work under another trainer.

Beyond that, Hubbard worked in 1992 as a trainer at East Tennessee State University. That August, he spoke to The Knoxville News-Sentinel about his honeymoon, taken horseback riding in the Smokies.

"It's quiet and peaceful," Hubbard told The News-Sentinel of horseback riding with his new wife on the trails there. "You can ride and talk and not worry about things. Nobody's going to find you out there." 

Joe Hubbard 1990 Elizabethton Twins card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,384
Made the Majors:1,413-32.2
Never Made Majors:2,971-67.8%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:575
10+ Seasons in the Minors:354

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Jose Bethancourt made guys swing: Baseball Profiles

Jose Bethancourt 1990 Elizabethton Twins card

Used primarily as a middle-man to that point, Elizabethton Twin hurler Jose Bethancourt stepped in to start this July 1990 game and he pitched well, The Elizabethton Star wrote.

Bethancourt went 5.1 innings of the seven-inning contest and gave up three runs, all on a sixth-inning home run, The Star wrote.

"He gave up the home run, I think he was getting a little burned out," Elizabethton manager Ray Smith told The Star of Bethancourt. "But I'd rather see him make guys swing at the ball and throw strikes."

Bethancourt had that outing in his second season as a pro. That season also marked his last in the minors, though he continued to pitch in his native Venezuela.

Bethancourt's career began in 1989, signed by the Twins out of Venezuela.

He started with the Twins in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He saw 15 games, 12 starts. He ended with a 3.82 ERA.

Bethancourt moved to rookie Elizabethton for 1990. In one July relief outing, Bethancourt saw three innings, giving up a hit in each. He went seven innings in an August contest, giving up three hits.

Overall, Bethancourt saw 13 outings, four starts with Elizabethton. He went 4-2, with two saves to end his Twins career.

Along the way, Bethancourt continued to play at home in Venezuela, for Tigres de Aragua. He first played there for 1989-1990, four games. He returned for 1991-1992, for 17 games. He then played 1992-1993 and is last recorded as playing there in 1993-1994.

Jose Bethancourt 1990 Elizabethton Twins card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,383
Made the Majors:1,413-32.2
Never Made Majors:2,970-67.8%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:575
10+ Seasons in the Minors:354

Damian Miller made bigs for decade: Baseball Profiles

Damian Miller 1990 Elizabethton Twins card

It took Damian Miller a little longer than he'd hoped to be drafted in June 1990. But he was just happy to start his career, he told told The La Crosse Tribune then.

"Waiting for the call was kind of long and frustrating," Miller told The Tribune, "but I hope it'll pay off in the end."

For Miller, it did pay off, though after another long wait. He'd go on to make the majors in his eighth pro season, then stay in the bigs for more than a decade.

He'd also become an all star and win a World Series with Arizona.

Miller's career began that June in 1990, taken by the Twins in the 20th round of the draft out of Viterbo University in Wisconsin.

Miller started with the Twins at rookie Elizabethton. He hit a home run in his second professional at batsecond professional at bat. He made single-A Kenosha for 1991, then high-A Fort Myers and, briefly, AA Nashville in 1993.

Miller made AAA Salt Lake in 1995. Then, in August 2997, he made Minnesota. He saw 25 games and hit two home runs, one a grand slam.

Miller moved to the Diamondbacks in the expansion draft. He saw 57 games that year and 86 in 1999. He hit .270, with 11 home runs.

He saw 100 games in 2000 and then a career-high 123 games in 2001 as he helped the Diamondbacks to the World Series.

Miller went 2 for 4, with three runs scored in the Game 6 win. But he also drew notice for dropping three popups in a Game 3 loss.

"I'm not the first guy it's happened to and I won't be the last. I just happened to have it happen in the World Series," Miller told ESPN after Game 3. "In February, I guess I'll have to work on popups."

Miller returned for 2002 and made the All-Star team. He moved to the Cubs for 2003 in a trade and then helped the Cubs to the NLCS.

"I've been lucky," Miller told The Chicago Tribune October 2003 of his work with the Diamondbacks and Cubs. "That's all it is. Good pitchers like that make catchers look good. I've been fortunate to be able to handle those guys and get some respect from them."

Miller moved to the Athletics for 2004, then the Brewers for 2005, 2006 and 2007. He last played for the Brewers in 2007, 58 games. He hit .237, including a two-home-run game in July, to end his career.

Damian Miller 1990 Elizabethton Twins card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,382
Made the Majors:1,413-32.3-X
Never Made Majors:2,969-67.7%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:575-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:354

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Brent Brede chose baseball, made bigs: Baseball Profiles

Brent Brede 1990 Elizabethton Twins card

A two-sport star in high school, with college prospects in both baseball and basketball, the junior Brent Brede told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch that, though he always liked basketball best, he thought he had a better future in baseball.

"It wasn't until my sophomore year that I really came on in baseball," Brede told The Post-Dispatch. "I'd like to do both in college, although I know that is hard to do. If I had to do one or the other, I'd rather play baseball. I think the potential is there."

Brede ended up not playing either in college, but playing one, baseball, as a pro. He eventually realized his potential, making the majors over three seasons and seeing Japan.

Brede's career started in 1990, taken by the Twins in the fifth round of the draft out of Wesclin High School in Illinois.

Brede started with the Twins at rookie Elizabethton. He got into 46 games and hit .245.

He started 1991 at single-A Kenosha. He spoke to his hometown Belleville News-Democrat that April about his prospects.

"I'm a lot more confident this year," Brede told The News-Democrat. "Last year I really lacked confidence. You've got to have the attitude that you're going to make it."

Brede returned to Kenosha for 1992, then made high-A Fort Myers for 1993 and AA Hardware City for 1995. In 1996, he made AAA Salt Lake. Then, that September, he made Minnesota.

Brede saw 10 games for the Twins that year. He went 6 for 20. He then returned for 61 games in 1997. He hit .274, with three home runs.

For 1998, he moved to the Diamondbacks, taken in the expansion draft and he got a starting job. He hit a home run in a May game off Ramon Martinez, preventing a Martinez shutout, The Arizona Republic wrote.

"I can't really enjoy it, though," Brede told The Republic of his home run. "That's probably the best anyone's pitched against us this year."

Brede saw 98 games for the Diamondbacks that year and hit .226, with two home runs.

He then moved to Japan and Chiba Lotte for 1999. He saw 33 games there. He returned stateside with the Pirates for 2000 and played the season at AAA Nashville to end his career.

Brede then returned back home to Illinois, where he eventually got back into the sport he left behind after high school, basketball. He became Wesclin's head basketball coach by 2008. He continued in that role in 2024, as well as serving as a teacher.

Brent Brede 1990 Elizabethton Twins card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,381
Made the Majors:1,412-32.2-X
Never Made Majors:2,969-67.8%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:574
10+ Seasons in the Minors:354

1990 Elizabethton Twins, Minnesota: Baseball Profiles

Features on each member of the 1990 Elizabethton Twins, rookie affiliate of the Minnesota Twins as included in that year's team set. 

Elizabethton Twins (5)

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Steve Carter worked as ML trainer: Baseball Profiles

Steve Carter 1990 Fayetteville Generals card

Detroit Tigers assistant athletic trainer Steve Carter described the hallmarks of an athletic trainer to The Athletic Edge.

"When you hear 'athletic trainer,' you think of working at a gymnasium throwing weights around," Tigers assistant athletic trainer Steve Carter told the site in the late 2000s. "Athletic trainers treat, evaluate, rehab and prevent injuries. Exercise is 25 percent of our job."

By that point, Carter had been a trainer with the Tigers for the better part of two decades, first in the minors and then in the majors. He's since moved on to work as a trainer with school kids.

Carter's career started out of the University of Indiana and in high school.

His first training job came at Evansville Central High School as a teacher and trainer. He then served as an assistant trainer at the University of Evansville before joining the Tigers.

Carter started with the Tigers by 1989, at single-A Fayetteville. He returned there for 1990.

At Fayetteville in May 1990, Carter encountered the worst as a trainer, a player who suffered a heart attack on the field and died. Carter and a doctor administered CPR to Gastonia's Ronaldo Romero before Romero was taken to the hospital, but Romero died on arrival, The Associated Press wrote.

"We started CPR right away," Carter told The AP. "As far as why it happened, nobody knows. They said he came off the mound and came in holding his chest and hyperventilating and collapsed."

Carter moved to high-A Lakeland for 1991. By 1994, he was in Detroit, as an assistant trainer for the Tigers.

He stayed in his role with the Tigers for 19 seasons, helping the Tigers to the 2006 World Series. One ALCS game had a chilly game-time temperature of 42 degrees and he explained to The Detroit Free Press his concerns, especially for outfielders when they make sudden movements.

"They stand around and then boom, they take off," Carter told The Free Press. "That's not the best thing for muscles."

Carter left the Tigers in 2013 to move to youth training. He landed at Cranbrook Schools in Michigan as a trainer there.

He worked on anything from knee injuries to concussion and lower level injuries and prevention, according to Michigan-based Downtown Publications.

"I do a lot of strengthening and conditioning with students," Carter told Downtown Publications. "Besides concussions, my time is spent on knees, ankles and backs. We also spend a lot of time with JV athletes, teaching them conditioning, and young female athletes, who often don't have the neck strength large males do."

Steve Carter 1990 Fayetteville Generals card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,380
Made the Majors:1,411-32.2-X
Never Made Majors:2,969-67.8%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:574
10+ Seasons in the Minors:354

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Mike DelaO trained for multiple teams: Baseball Profiles

Mike DelaO 1990 London Tigers card

A controversial Arizona Interscholastic Association ruling led to his summer basketball team's two coaches to be ruled ineligible in July 1982, so team trainer Mike DelaO and the team's sponsor took over, The Arizona Daily Star wrote.

The sponsor called the association's ruling "a damn crime," while he and DelaO nearly pulled off the upset tournament win, The Daily Star wrote.

"I thought we could pull it out at the end," DelaO told The Daily Star afterward. "We were just too small."

DelaO went on to serve as a trainer in multiple other settings, including minor league baseball and CBA basketball.

He also later took another role. Years after that AIA summer basketball ruling, in 2015, DelaO was elected Arizona Interscholastic Association president.

DelaO's career began out of the University of Arizona. Some newspaper articles and at least one of his cards, styled his last name DelaO, DeLao and as DeLaO. 

He started in the minors as a trainer by 1984, serving with the Astros at single-A Asheville Tourists. He moved to the Braves and single-A Durham for 1985. 

DelaO served as trainer for the CBA's Quad City Thunder for 1987-1988. He'd also worked with teams in Cincinnati and Sarasota.

DelaO joined the Tigers by 1988, serving as trainer at single-A Fayetteville. He made AA London for 1989. He's last recorded time in the minors came in 1991 back at Fayetteville.

DelaO eventually settled back in Arizona and became a school board executive. Then, in 2015, he was elected AIA president for 2015-2016, The Daily Star wrote.

"That's a terrific transaction for Tucson high schools," The Daily Star wrote. "A former athletic trainer at the UA and for the Tigers, Astros and Braves minor-league baseball systems, DeLaO gives Southern Arizona a voice in the AIA affairs that is dominated by Phoenix politics."

Mike DelaO 1990 London Tigers card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,379
Made the Majors:1,410-32.2
Never Made Majors:2,969-67.8%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:574
10+ Seasons in the Minors:354