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Sunday, March 18, 2012

1991 Line Drive: Get People Out

Kevin Bearse set down three of the six batters he faced that spring 1990 game on strikes. He set down the other three he faced by other means.

It was enough for Indians manager John McNamara to talk Bearse up for a staff spot come the start of the season.

"He does nothing but get people out," McNamara told The Associated Press afterward. "He could be a spot starter for us. We haven't ruled that out."

Bearse did make the Red Sox out of 1990 and he did start. But he didn't stick long. Bearse started three contests for Cleveland that April, losing two. He also gave up 11 earned runs in just 7.2 innings of work.

Bearse went on to pitch out the season at AAA Colorado Springs and just one more season overall. He didn't return to the majors.

Bearse's 1991 Line Drive card was among a small stack sent over a couple months ago by Night Owl.

Bearse appears to actually have almost been a CMC set member. While he was back at AAA in time to start a May 4 game, he appears not to have made it back in time to make photo day and get himself into the CMC Sky Sox set.

Of the five CMC set members remaining in the stack, four have been featured here. Here is the one that hasn't, Francisco Oliveras. Below is one of the ones that has, and has been interviewed, Mark Bailey.

Oliveras made the CMC set in his 10th season as a pro, playing for AAA Portland. By 1991, he was with AAA Phoenix.

Oliveras would also see his third-consecutive season in 1991 with time in the majors. He ultimately played in four, the final three with the Giants.

For Mark Bailey, I'll just introduce his interview.

Astros catcher Mark Bailey knew the hard curve was coming.

It was that pitch that his pitcher, Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, frequently used to strike batters out. Now, in July 1985, Ryan was one strike away from his milestone 4,000th strikeout.

"I thought well, what if he swings and misses, but I don't block it?" Bailey told The Greatest 21 Days in July 2011. "Does it still count? All these things are going through my mind."

Bailey blocked it, Ryan got a clean 4,000th strikeout and Bailey soon found himself shaking his pitcher's hand in congratulations. (Continue reading)

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