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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Karl Allaire, Baldelli's Mentor- 499

Be sure and check out the revisited Karl Allaire feature from September 2011: Karl Allaire, Journeyman Player

Karl Allaire has spent this past off season with his long-time friend Rocco Baldelli. Serving up batting practice, Allaire was playing his part to get Baldelli back on a major league roster after health questions derailed Baldelli's a once promising career.

"I definitely think it's worn on him,'' Allaire told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick in January. "He's put up a little bit of a shell. People are always asking him, 'How do you feel? What do you think is going to happen?' It's human nature to just get sick of hearing it. With all the stuff he's been through, it's been a tough ride the last few years.''

It's a feeling that Allaire never experienced himself, trying to get back to the majors. In a nine-season pro career, Allaire never got there for the first time.

Allaire was drafted by the Astros in the 17th round of the 1984 draft. He made AAA Tucson in 1987. He would stay in AAA for the next six years, never getting a call-up. By 1989, Allaire was with the Angels in Edmonton, the Astros having given up on him for infielder Eric Yelding, according to

Allaire would eventually make the Tigers organization by mid-1990. It was with the Tigers that Allaire helped end Yelding's career. According to the Astroland account, Allaire got Yelding in spring training 1992 on a hidden ball trick, exacerbating previous views of Yelding's attentiveness. Yelding didn't make the team that year or again.

"When the Astros picked (Yelding) up from the Blue Jays," Astroland quoted Allaire as telling them, "they pretty much gave up on me and he took my job ... So there was a little revenge factor there."

Allaire played his last minor league game in 1992. After two years out of baseball, working mainly as a loan originator, he returned to the Tigers, as a replacement player. In one spring training game, he and fellow CMC setter Glenn Sullivan had the only two hits in the game. The strike over Lou Whitaker blew back into town, taking back the locker held that spring by Allaire.

It was after his playing days were over that Allaire began working with Baldelli. The two have the same hometown, Woonsocket, R.I. Allaire was there for Baldelli's major league debut in 2003. A year later, Baldelli counted Allaire as the person he learned the most from.

"I've learned a lot from the guys up here," Baldelli told Baseball Digest, "But the guy I've learned the most from is Karl Allaire, a friend from back home. He played 10 years of professional ball in the Astros and Angels organizations. We talk all season long and I spend every day with him in the off-season."
1990 CMC Tally
Cards Reviewed: 58/880 - 6.6%
Made the Majors: 35 - 60%
Never Made the Majors: 23 - 40%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 14
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 19

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