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Saturday, December 18, 2021

Kinnis Pledger saw adversity early after picked high, then 15 total pro seasons; Made AAA

Once the White Sox' third round pick, Kinnis Pledger found himself in a slump and headed from AA to high-A in early 1991, his sixth pro season.

White Sox minor league director Buddy Bell spoke to The Bradenton Herald that May and indicated belief that Pledger would get past his troubles and back up the ladder.

"It's a little bit of adversity Kinnis has to deal with," Bell told The Herald. "But he's a great kid. He's got great tools. I think he'll play in the big leagues one of these years."

Pledger went on to play in several more years - for a career that spanned 15 total seasons. But he never got the chance to play in the big leagues. He topped out at AAA.

Pledger's career began in 1987, taken by the White Sox in the third round of the draft out of Garland Community College in Arkansas.

Pledger started in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He hit .252 in 37 games. He then made single-A South Bend for 1988 and 1989. He hit .266 his second year there. 

He made high-A Sarasota for 1990, then AA Birmingham in 1991. Late in 1991, Pledger hit a ninth-inning game-winner against Memphis as he looked "to make some good contact," he told The Memphis Commercial Appeal.

"He made a good pitch away and I had no choice but to hit it that way," Pledger told The Commercial Appeal.

Pledger then split 1992 between Birmingham and Sarasota and played 1993 entirely at Birmingham. He moved to the Cubs system and played at three levels in 1994, including 69 games at AAA Iowa. He hit .283 there, with eight home runs.

He played 1995 largely at independent Mobile, then returned to affiliated ball at AA Norwich with the Yankees in 1996. He picked up three singles and a lead-off home run in an early season game for Norwich.

"That home run set the tone for me," Pledger told The Hartford Courant. "I hadn't been swinging the bat well to that point and it gave me confidence to continue on."

He then played at AA with the Rockies and Royals in 1997, at independent Bridgeport in 1988 and at AAA Tacoma with the Mariners in 1999, as well as Bridgeport. His final pro time came in 2000 and 2001, at Bridgeport.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,805
Made the Majors:1,284-33.8%
Never Made Majors:2,521-66.2%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:526
10+ Seasons in the Minors:320-X

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