For more great baseball stories like this one, 'like' us on Facebook -

Friday, June 14, 2013

John Ingram, Chance Encounter - 3061

The John Ingram of his second year at Harbor College in California was markedly different than the John Ingram of his first year, his coaches told The Los Angeles Times.

His first year, Ingram didn't get much playing time, someone who didn't work hard, even missed practice. Then he applied himself, and came on strong in 1990, The Times wrote.

"I guess I just wasn't as serious about it," Ingram told The Times that April. "I didn't work as hard, and I just did what I had to do to get by. I was also real up-tight. This year I'm loose and I'm having a good time because I'm relaxed and calm."

Ingram had a good enough year to get noticed by scouts, even getting taken by the Phillies in the fourth round of that June's draft.

But Ingram's pro career was brief. He's credited with just a single season, a season where his numbers seemed comparatively good. And, while The Times followed Ingram into that first professional season, the record is silent on what happened to Ingram afterward.

It's silent, that is, until a seemingly random encounter with a Times reporter a decade later, for an article on Thanksgiving. It was then that a man identified himself to the reporter as the John Ingram of Harbor College, as once a member of the Phillies organization.

The Times reporter spoke with that John Ingram for this Thanksgiving 2000 story at the Los Angeles County Jail.

Ingram signed with the Phillies in 1990 out of Harbor College in Wilmington, Ca. Ingram earned that fourth-round selection with a 8-0 season, one where he picked up five saves and struck out 80 in 67 innings, The Times wrote.

Ingram also helped take Harbor to the state title, picking up the win in the championship game with a complete game. He had been set to head to Cal State Fullerton, according to The Times. Instead, he signed with the Phillies.

With the Phillies, Ingram was sent to short-season Batavia. He got into 12 games in relief for the Clippers, marking 20.2 innings of work. He picked up three saves and gave up a single home run.

That single home run came to the first batter he faced on the year, The Times wrote in September. He even pitched well enough to pitch in a "Young Timers" game that September before a big league game in Philadelphia.

The Times also wrote Ingram was to play that fall in the Florida Instructional League, then prepare for his second season as a pro.

"How well I work and push myself this winter will determine my success next season," Ingram told The Times.

Then the record goes silent. The fourth-round pick didn't come back for 1991, or at least he's not credited as playing that year, or again.

Ten years later came Thanksgiving 2000 and a holiday story from The Times about the day at the Los Angeles County Jail. There, they met a man who identifies himself as Ingram. This John Ingram, The Times reporters write, was the one who led Harbor College to that championship. He was also the one drafted by the Phillies.

The Times story also offers that it was an arm injury that ended Ingram's career. But also that he played three seasons, and briefly made the majors. The majors reference, though, could be to the "Young Timers" game in Philadelphia.

Also ending Ingram's career was drugs, the man told The Times, calling it rough for him, that he let many people down.

"I'm thankful that my family's healthful. I'm thankful that I'm alive," the man told The Times. "And I'll be even more thankful when I can get out of here."
1990 CMC-Pro Cards Tally  
Players/Coaches Featured:1,172
Made the Majors: 675 - 57.6%
Never Made Majors: 497-42.4%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 291
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 174

1 comment:

  1. John Ingram told us about his life in and out of baseball he is a good man and was my fellow inmate in Folsom state prison we called him superstar my best to John...William a.mclean