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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Don Vesling, Ball Control - 378

Check out the revisited Don Vesling feature from December 2011: Don Vesling, Too Fine

Don Vesling would eventually become a Detroit Tigers farmhand, pitching for six seasons, trying to put the ball where he wanted it, past batters. But on Sept. 20, 1986, Vesling was putting another ball where he wanted it - through the uprights.

Then a junior for Eastern Michigan University, Vesling kicked the game-winning 20-yard field goal with 1:09 left, beating the Akron Zips. Vesling had been a three sport star since high school, playing football, basketball and baseball at Midview High in his home state of Ohio. But it was baseball that he ultimately chose.

In the 1987 baseball draft, the Tigers took Vesling in the 14th round. Vesling spent that year with the Tigers' rookie league teams in Bristol and Lakeland. He made AA London in 1989 and AAA Toledo later that year.

He owned the Eastern League's best ERA into late May 1989 before losing to the Albany Yankees and fellow 1990 CMC setter Mike Christopher 9-6.

His 1990 stint with Toledo saw Vesling pitch in 35 games for the Mud Hens, for a 4.36 ERA. On June 8, he pitched for the first time after a long layoff, pitching seven innings and giving up just four hits.

"Vesling hadn't pitched for 10 days and I think his control was shakey early," Mud Hen Manager Tom Gamboa told the Toledo Blade. "But once he got going ... he kept us in a position to win."

Vesling made the Tigers' 40-man roster that year, but never got the call up to the majors. In 1991, Vesling bounced between London and Toledo, after an initial invitation to spring training. The next year, his last in pro ball, began at London and ended in AAA Las Vegas in the Padres organization.

Out of baseball, Vesling went on to be a steel broker. In 2001, he was inducted into his high school's Hall of Fame.
1990 CMC Tally
Cards Reviewed: 79/880 - 9.0%
Made the Majors: 46 - 58%
Never Made the Majors: 33 - 42%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 16
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 27

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