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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ramon Sambo, More Hits - 503

Originally published Dec. 3, 2010
Ramon Sambo's days in 1984 saw him getting more hits and his manager was taking notice. Hitting .370, Sambo was leading the league in hitting, The Spartanburg Herald-Journal wrote that June.

Spartanburg Suns manager Jay Ward had overseen Sambo's progress the previous year at short-season Bend. Now, managing single-A Spartanburg, Ward told The Herald-Journal he saw positive changes in the young outfielder.

"His position at the plate and with the bat is where it needs to be. He's more confident and consistent," Ward told The Herald-Journal. "It only takes him one swing to get back in the groove, whereas last year he would go through a long period where he wasn't swinging right."

Sambo was in his third season playing professionally. He went on to play 10 seasons, generally hitting well, and running well. Sambo's hitting was enough for him to make AAA, but not the majors.

Signed by the Phillies for 1982 out of his native Dominican Republic, Sambo began his career at rookie league Helena. He hit .333 in 19 games. At Bend the next year, Sambo hit .262 and stole 20 bases.

His hot start at Spartanburg cooled off, hitting .300 on the year. But he also sped up, swiping 57 bases. He also made the South Atlantic League All-Star team, not for the last time.

By 1986, Sambo was with the Reds system, playing at AA Vermont, stealing 28. Moving back down to high-A Tampa for 1987, Sambo stole 60, then, in 1988, at single-A Cedar Rapids, he stole 98. But his average also dropped to .253.

He spent a season with the Milwaukee system in 1989, and he was a player the Brewers looked highly upon. He hit .322 with another 47 stolen bases at AA El Paso.

"He has got great speed," the El Paso general manager told The Milwaukee Journal that August. "He's the kind of guy that, if he gets on, we're going to score some runs."

"The guy has great potential," the GM added later.

Despite the high marks, Sambo moved on to the White Sox for 1990. He also saw his first time at AAA. Playing at Vancouver, Sambo hit just .250 and stole 30. Sambo played 1991 with the Angels at AA Midland.

Sambo went on to a career as a coach and a manager, including several years in the Pittsburgh system, including a stint as a Pittsburgh batting practice pitcher. More recently, time in the Orioles system. For 2013, Sambo served as hitting coach for the Orioles' rookie Gulf Coast League team.

Sambo joined the Orioles system in 2007, serving as the Gulf Coast team's hitting coach. The next year he was at single-A Delmarva. He also made it back to the South Atlantic League All-Star team, this time as a manager.

That July, speaking to The Delmarva Daily Times, Sambo attempted to explain a run drought that ended on a 3-1 victory.

"Some days you are not getting more hits than other days," Sambo told The Daily Times, "and the guys have been hitting the ball hard. It's tough luck sometimes."

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