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Thursday, April 1, 2010

The 1990 Atlanta Braves minor leaguers

Features on each member of the 1990 Atlanta Braves farm system


  • AAA - Richmond Braves (30)
  • AA - Greenville Braves (31)
  • High-A - Durham Bulls (33)
  • Single-A - Burlington Braves (31)
  • Single-A - Sumter Braves (32)
  • Rookie - Pulaski Braves (31)
  • Rookie - Idaho Falls Braves (30)

1990 Richmond Braves (30)
1 - John Alva, Test of Memory
John Alva helped Pima Community College to Junior College World Series in 1985. He played seven seasons as pro, never made the bigs.
2 - Steve Avery, Gutsy Guy
When Steve Avery was on the mound in playoffs, the Braves had confidence in win.
3 - Sam Ayoub, No Better
Sam Ayoub was the longtime trainer at Richmond and one of nicest people one player had ever met.
4 - Jim Beauchamp, Hard Work
Jim Beauchamp worked with early 90s Braves from their start to the World Series.
5 - Rick Berg, Both Brief
Rick Berg had brief playing and coaching careers.
6 - Geronimo Berroa, Swung Hard
Geronimo Berroa once hit three home runs in a game twice in a season. He told an interviewer he just swung hard.
Francisco Cabrera's pinch-hit in Game 7 of '92 NLCS made him a hero for the Braves. He couldn't stick in the bigs.
8 - Bruce Crabbe, Not Kidding
Bruce Crabbe didn't play in the majors. He now works at getting others there as a minor league manager.
9 - Drew Denson, Extra Homers
Drew Denson battled to make the majors, then made it in two seasons. He's since lost his battle with a rare blood disease.
10 - Ken Dowell, Weak Bat
Ken Dowell wasn't a home-run hitter, but he was a major leaguer. He eventually got 15 games in the bigs with the Phillies.
11 - Tommy Greene, Country Hardball
Tommy Greene got in a groove around the third. He went on to throw a no-hitter.
12 - Johnny Grubb, Done Everything
Johnny Grubb did the job asked of him for 16 years as a player, also as coach.
13 - Dennis Hood, Just Unreal
Dennis Hood got a look at 1987 major league camp. It was his only taste of the major leagues.
14 - Brian R. Hunter, Hit it Hard
Brian Hunter helped the Braves extend their lead in Game 7 of the NLCS. He hit the home run as hard as he could.
15 - Sonny Jackson, Young Players
Sonny Jackson developed into a major leaguer at a young age. He has since tried to develop others.
16 - Barry Jones, Long Shot
Barry Jones busted his butt in practice, even when he wasn't playing every day. It got him to AAA, but not the majors.
17 - Dave Justice, Six Series
David Justice made the World Series in his second season. He then made it back five more times.
18 - Jimmy Kremers, Late Switch
Jimmy Kremers switched late from outfield to catching. He caught in the majors for 29 games with the Braves.
19 - Bill Laskey, Settled Down
Bill Laskey was nervous in his first major league start. He then settled down - for a complete-game, three-hitter.
20 - Rich Luecken, His Role
Bobby Cox thought Rick Luecken could help the Braves in 1990. Later, Cox explained Luecken's role.
21 - Paul Marak, Pumped Up
Paul Marak didn't throw a 90 mph fastball. But he still made the majors, for seven starts with the Braves.
22 - Leo Mazzone, Famed Rock
Leo Mazzone became a legendary pitching coach with the Braves. He was once minors pitcher, coach, manager.
23 - Kent Mercker, New Lease
Kent Mercker had a headache on the mound in 2000. It ended up being a life-threatening brain hemorrhage.
24 - John Mizerock, Big Hit
John Mizerock had a big hit in a 1985 Astros game. He made the bigs in four seasons.
25 - Andy Nezelek, Fall Back
Andy Nezelek finished his degree, but he never made it to the majors.
26 - Ed Olwine, New Pitcher
Ed Olwine made the majors for parts of three seasons with the Braves. He played as a pro in 11 seasons.
27 - Dale Polley, Got There
Dale Polley made the majors for the first time in 1996 with the Yankees and he didn't regret how he made it.
28 - Rusty Richards, Homemade Pitcher
Dave Richards tried being more aggressive, then extended his career in independent ball.
29 - Bryan Snyder, Going to Work
Brian Snyder spent 12 years playing pro ball. He made the majors with the Mariners and Athletics. His son also played.
30 - Ed Whited, Good Athlete
Ed Whited was a good athlete who was strong, his college coach said. He made the bigs for 36 games.

Greenville Braves (31)
1 - Buddy Bailey, One More
2 - Kevin Batiste, His Maturity
3 - Mike Bell, New Opportunity
4 - Brian Boltz, New Grip
5 - Rich Casarotti, Stalemate Broken
6 - Brian Champion, Own Ability
7 - Maximo Del Rosario, Crazy Sidewinder
8 - Pat Gomez, Did Whatever
9 - Terry Harper, Playing Time
10 - Brian Hunter, Hit it Hard
11 - Randy Ingle, Two Positions
12 - Judd Johnson, Pumped Up
13 - Lee Johnson, Pitched Well
14 - John Kilner, More Consistent
15 - Rich Maloney, Coaching Career 
16 - Kelly Mann, Defensive Catcher
17 - Al Martin, Leadership Skills
18 - Rick Morris, Good Hack
19 - Rolando Pino, Show Them
20 - David Plumb, Hot Hitter
21 - Tom Redington, Next Year
22 - Ben Rivera, His Best
23 - Rico Rossy, His Job
24 - Bill Slack, Good Teacher
25 - Doug Stockham, Good Crowds
26 - Andy Tomberlin, His Position
27 - Matt Turner, Terrible Call
28 - Lee Upshaw, Player's Reality
29 - Preston Watson, Good Slider
30 - Danny Weems, Enough Work
31 - Turk Wendell, The Numbers

Durham Bulls

  1. Edwin Alicea started high, then moved down; Vowed not to give up, topped out at AAA, 5/22/23
  2. Dave Brust's pro career almost didn't happen; Saw three seasons, made high-A, later turned college coach, 6/18/23
  3. Donovan Campbell knew he had to work hard for shot at bigs; Played over four seasons, made high-A, 5/27/23
  4. Kevin Castleberry played as pro for a decade, made AAA, played in Taiwan, 6/12/23
  5. Brian Champion used his own ability to play six pro seasons, made AA, 4/10/23
  6. Popeye Cole used his speed over 10-season pro career; Made AA, saw five independent campaigns, 5/21/23
  7. Johnny Cuevas looked fastball, hit AA home run; Saw 10 pro seasons, made AAA, 4/28/23
  8. Brian Cummings pitched well in early 1990 game at Durham; Saw four seasons, made high-A, 5/8/23
  9. Steve Curry threw everything he had into decade-long playing career, shorter coaching career, 4/8/23
  10. Chris Czarnik got credit for no-hitter at high-A; Saw three pro seasons, made AAA, 4/18/23
  11. Brian Deak worked to beat other catchers to Atlanta; Played decade in minors, missed bigs, 6/6/23
  12. Todd Dewey looked at new organization as new shot at bigs; Saw six seasons, made AAA, 4/22/23
  13. Ino Guerrero drew easy comparisons to movie character, later threw in ML home run derby, 4/2/23
  14. Kevin Harmon spent more than three decades as a trainer in minors - then in the majors, 4/1/23
  15. Ken Harring played two seasons, then went into sales; Returned to game for long career as college coach, 6/10/23
  16. Larry Jaster pitched in bigs, then later coached in minors; Once shut out Dodgers five-consecutive times, 5/20/23
  17. Dave Karasinski had good poise in high school; Saw five pro seasons, made high-A, 6/3/23
  18. Grady Little's managerial decisions led him to the majors; One later led him to be blamed for playoff failure, 6/24/23
  19. Rich Longuil worked to stay in front of hitters over five pro seasons; Made high-A, 5/29/23
  20. Phil Maldonado looked fastball at Durham; Saw five seasons, twice briefly made AAA, 5/11/23
  21. Eddie Mathews played basketball in college, not baseball; But he threw hard, like 90 mph hard, 4/9/23
  22. Nate Minchey saw time in four ML seasons, then seven successful campaigns in Japan, 5/7/23
  23. Keith Mitchell improved enough to make bigs over four seasons; Later saw Korea, coached, 5/15/23
  24. Mike Mordecai did his job when called upon; Saw bigs over 12 seasons, Bartman game, 5/10/23
  25. David Nied hoped for quality starts with Rockies, did briefly, then injuries came; Saw bigs over five seasons, 6/17/23
  26. Rodney Richey proved a bulldog on the mound, made high-A; Later turned fighter, in court, 6/19/23
  27. Josman Robles got thrown at in 1990 game, then hit home run; Saw three seasons, made high-A, 4/24/23
  28. Chad Smith turned pro after high school no-hitter; Saw five seasons, made high-A, 5/21/23
  29. Ryan Thompson loved baseball, got to serve as Durham Bulls bat boy, 3/31/23
  30. Pat Tilmon continued playing for his love of game; Saw 11 seasons, briefly made AAA, coached, 4/23/23
  31. Theron Todd worked to improve hitting over seven pro seasons; Made AA, later coached, 4/21/23
  32. Marcos Vasquez did his job over 11 pro seasons; Saw AAA, Taiwan, but missed bigs, 3/29/23
  33. Skipper Wright saw his biggest attribute as consistency; Played over four seasons, made high-A, 4/26/23

Burlington Braves (31)
1 - Ozzie Apolinario, Helped Fuel
Ozzie Apolinario started hitting in the Gulf Coast League. He couldn't keep it up at single-A.
2 - Tony Baldwin, Lifetime Goal
Tony Baldwin worked toward his lifetime goal while juggling playing and family. He never achieved his goal of the majors.
3 - Daryl Blanks, Main Goal
Daryl Blanks coached youth ball in the Northeast. He came out of the Northeast to turn pro, played three seasons.
4 - Pedro Borbon, Established Himself
Pedro Borbon followed his father to the majors, came back from injury to become a major league regular.
5 - Tom Bruck, Pitching Leader
Tom Bruck had a successful season for the Temple Owls. He played just two seasons as a pro.
6- Rod Byerly, Needed It
Rod Byerly gave his college team the performance it needed. He later played three seasons as a pro.
7- Jeff Calderone, Pitch Inside
Jeff Calderone had a brief career in the minors, but a long career in Europe.
8 - Ramon Caraballo, To Practice
Ramon Caraballo learned the language, then made the majors in two seasons.
9 - Jeff Clark, Legged Out
Jeff Clark's infield single ended no-hit bid in rookie ball. Played four seasons, never made AA.
10 - Roberto DeLeon, Broken Finger
Roberto DeLeon made single-A playing baseball, broke his finger and ended his career playing basketball.
11 - Glen Gardner, Aggressive Hitter
Glen Gardner was a legend on the Rutgers field. He later returned to school as a coach and director. 
12 - Gil Garrido, Can't Wait
Gil Garrido got called and he was ready. He played in seven major league seasons, had a brief career as a coach.
13 - Tim Gillis, Got Two
Tim Gillis wanted at least one RBI. He got two, and won the game. Played five seasons, never made AAA.
14 - Scott Grove, Good Movement
Scott Grove got good movement on the ball. In six seasons, he never made the majors.
15 - Greg Harper, Two Runners
Caught two potential base stealers at single-A. Never made AA.
16 - Kevin Kelly, Costly Losses
Kevin Kelly picked up two losses for single-A Sumter in 1989. He played three seasons as a pro.
17 - Gene Lane, Good Health
Served as a trainer in both baseball and golf.
18 - Javy Lopez, Happiest Man
Javy Lopez was the 'happiest man' after a rookie home run. He hit 260 in his career with the Braves and Orioles.
19 - Dickey Marze, Pegged As
Dickey Marze played just two seasons as a pro. His son has bettered those numbers.
20 - Brent McCoy, Game MVP
Brent McCoy was the MVP of a rookie league game. He played four seasons as a pro, never made AA.
21 - Matt Murray, Just Incredible
Matt Murray came back after elbow surgery to make the majors for a total of six outings.
22 - Dave Reis, Bailed Out
Dave Reis got bailed out in rookie league game. He pitched three seasons as a pro.
23 - Paulo Reis, For Everything
Paulo Reis impressed his single-A manager, played four seasons as pro, never made AA.
24 - Darren Ritter, Didn't Relinquish
Darren Ritter got an early lead in rookie league game, held it. Played five seasons, never made AAA.
25 - Walter Roy, Rookie Roommate
Walter Roy helped his teammate and roommate Javy Lopez. Played just two seasons as pro.
26 - Jim Saul, Every Opportunity
Jim Saul knew his players came first. He had to give them chance to succeed or fail.
27 - Randy Simmons, One Night
Randy Simmons hit 13 home runs at single-A in 1989. Two of them came in one night.
28 - Steve Swail, Signed As
Steve Swail later signed free agents. Earlier, he was a free agent himself. Played six seasons, never made the bigs.
29 - Tony Valle, Hard Thrower
Tony Valle was a hard thrower, but he couldn't translate that to long career. Played two seasons.
30 - Eddie Watt, Played There
Eddie Watt almost quit before he made the bigs. Once he got there, he stayed for a decade.
31 - Phillip Wellman, Baseball Field
Phillip Wellman has spent three decades in the game. He gained notoriety for a single night as manager.

Sumter Braves (32)
1 - Tab Brown, Brief Career
Tab Brown was a second-rounder for the Braves. He only managed time in three pro seasons.
2 - Vinny Castilla, Fan Favorite
Vinny Castilla's minors manager thought he had a chance, if he could hit for power.
3 - Mike Gabriele, Some Rest
Mike Gabriele went from college to the pros. He played just two seasons.
4 - Steve Glass, Pro Ball
Steve Glass turned pro and it was one of the happiest and proudest moments of his life.
5 - Kevin Haeberle, Caught Up
Kevin Haeberle couldn't pitch himself out of every jam. He played just two seasons.
6 - Lee Heath, Defensive Prospect
Lee Heath went from being a defensive prospect in football to one in baseball.
7 - Roger Hailey, Best Chance
Roger Hailey pitched well at single-A Sumter. He never made AA.
8 - Tyler Houston, Learning To Hit
Tyler Houston learned to hit. He then made the majors.
9 - Earl Jewett, Big Key
Earl Jewett threw a no-hitter in his second pro season. He played just three pro seasons.
10 - Willy Johnson, All-Star
Willy Johnson served as an all-star trainer for 13 minor league seasons.
11 - Pat Kelly Gamer Attitude
Pat Kelly had a gamer attitude at single-A. He made AAA, but not the bigs.
12 - Ryan Klesko, Delivering for Mom
Ryan Klesko wanted a World Series home run for his mom. He played in 16 major league seasons.
13 - John Kupsey, Nice Kid
John Kupsey was a good player in high school. He made the pros for six seasons, but not the bigs.
14 - Fred Lopez, Backup Catcher
Fred Lopez was praised as a backup catcher at single-A. He played just three seasons as a pro.
15 - Gene Martin, Big Hits 
Gene Martin followed his father to the pros. He later followed him to coaching.
16 - Eddie Mathews, Next Season
Eddie Mathews started his pro career as minors assistant general manager.
17 - Miguel Mendez, At Third
Miguel Mendez played in two pro seasons, just three games at Sumter.
18 - Tom Newman, Mental Lock
Tom Newman played two seasons, missed double play at single-A. 
19 - Melvin Nieves, Stuck With It
Melvin Nieves played in seven seasons in the bigs and two in Japan.
20 - Jose Olmeda, Those Guys
Jose Olmeda moved up to single-A in mid-1990. He later made AAA, but not the bigs.
21 - Eddie Perez, Clutch Situations
Eddie Perez had the Turner Field fans chanting his name in 1999.
22 - Ralph Rowe, Own Eyes
Ralph Rowe judged and gave advice to his players using his own eyes.
23 - Bill Schafer, Four Wins
Bill Schafer picked up four wins for Sumter in 1990. They were the final wins of brief pro career.
24 - Dan Sims, Early Run
Dan Sims used his speed for an early rookie ball run. He played just two seasons.
25 - Shaun Sottile, Impressive Start
Shaun Sottile was impressive for his collegiate league team. He played three seasons as a pro.
26 - Earl Steinmetz, Independent Attention
Earl Steinmetz sometimes got the most attention in independent ball. It wasn't always good.
27 - Don Strange, Job Done
Don Strange got the job done at Sumter in 1990. He played eight seasons, but he never made the bigs.
28 - Tony Tarasco, Felt Like 
Tony Tarasco felt like a 12 year old in his major league debut. He later was shown up by one.
29 - Ron Thomas, Bore Down
Ron Thomas did well in a May 1990 game at Sumter. He played three seasons as a pro.
30 - Matt West, Had Ability
Matt West started his pro career on a dare.
31 - Mark Wohlers, Cranked It
Mark Wohlers became a reliever in the minors. He then cranked it up a notch.
32 - Ned Yost, Good Proof
Ned Yost knew a minor league pennant was icing on the cake. He later got a major league pennant with the Royals.

Pulaski Braves (31)
1 - Brian Bark, Broke Through
Brian Bark knew a lot of people didn't get as far as he did.
2 - Cloyd Boyer, Own Man
Cloyd Boyer spent 40-plus years in the game as a player and as a coach.
3 - Mike Cerame, Long Enough
Has long been an athletic trainer. Continues in 2017 in college.
4 - Barry Chiles, In Front
Barry Chiles got to play in front of the first President Bush, but not in the bigs.
5 - Jamie Crump, All-Region
Jamie Crump made his college's all-region team. He played one pro season.
6 - Pat Dando, Grand Slam
Pat Dando hit an independent league grand slam. He played seven pro seasons.
7 - Travis Dunlap, Wasn't Nervous
Travis Dunlap helped his rookie ball team to a title. He never made AA.
8 - Stewart Ford, Closed Out
Stewart Ford closed out a rookie ball no-hitter. He played three pro seasons.
9 - Wallace Gonzalez, Offensive Praise
Wallace Gonzalez got offensive praise in high school, not enough as a pro.
10 - Brett Grebe, Dedicated To
Brett Grebe had an on-again, off-again career.
11 - Troy Hughes, Big Choice
Troy Hughes chose pro baseball over college football.
12 - Randy Ingle, Two Priorities
Randy Ingle believed in being aggressive and executing.
13 - Vincent Jiminez, More Fleeting
Vincent Jiminez remains in his high school record book. He played three pro seasons.
14 - Anthony Johnson, College List
Anthony Johnson came out of college to play pro for 47 games.
15 - Brian Kowitz, Fantasy Land
Brian Kowitz described the majors as fantasy land. He got there for 10 games.
16 - Ray Mack, Over With
Ray Mack was once literally charged with murder. He was also acquitted.
17 - Keith Morrison, Encouraging Effort
Keith Morrison gave an encouraging effort at single-A. He never made the bigs.
18 - Larry Owens, Loves Baseball 
Larry Owens wants great students who love to play baseball.
19 - Randy Phillips, Something Better
Randy Phillips started as a player, then coached.
20 - Mike Place, Showed It
Mike Place showed frustration in his seventh season. He'd yet to make AA.
21 - Jimmie Pullins, Big Win
Jimmie Pullins knocked a home run in rookie ball. He played three pro seasons.
22 - Hector Roa, Just Like
Hector Roa played in the U.S., Mexico and Taiwan. He also inspired his son.
23 - Joe Roa, Meant More
Joe Roa knew how hard it was to get to the bigs.
24 - Armando Rodriguez, Big Class
Armando Rodriguez was part of a big college pro class.
25 - Karl Rudison, Brief Career
Karl Rudison helped get a big summer league win. He played one pro season.
26 - Mike Shepherd, Head Start
Mike Shepherd got a head start on the pros. He never made single-A.
27 - George Virgilio, Took Some
George Virgilio took some spotlight in a minors game with a grand slam.
28 - Johnny Walker, Play Both
Johnny Walker played baseball and football briefly as a pro.
29 - Henry Werland, Started Strong
Henry Werland started a 1991 outing strong. He played just two seasons.
30 - Dave Williams, Final Win
Dave Williams' final pro win came in 1993. He never made AAA.
31 - Juan Williams, Lead Stuck
Juan Williams played a decade as a pro, made AAA, not the bigs.

Idaho Falls Braves (30)
1 - Bill Bates, Brief Appearance, 11/21/16
2 - Grant Brittain, Even Better, 11/24/16
3 - Chris Burton, Greatest Satisfaction, 11/25/16
4 - Steve Curry, Threw Everything, 12/10/16
5 - Brian Dare, Held On, 12/4/16
6 - Don'l Dease, Strikeout Total, 11/29/16
7 - Paul DiPino, Reminded Him, 11/20/16
8 - Marek Drabinski, Stayed On, 12/9/16
9 - Corby Fister, Big Inning, 12/5/16
10 - Nathan Fults, Critical Look, 11/26/16
11 - Ed Giovanola, Winning Teams, 11/16/16
12 - Loren Gress, Some Noise, 12/3/16
13 - Allen Halliday, Complete Season, 12/11/16
14 - Steve Hodges, Baseball Guy, 11/12/16
15 - Michael Hoog, Mental Toughness, 11/23/16
16 - Rich Karcher, His Power, 11/26/16
17 - Bill Kooiman, Tight Pitch, 11/13/16
18 - Joe Markulike, Busy Day, 11/13/16
19 - Stu McMillan, Big Plays, 12/12/16
20 - Tom Newman, Mental Lock, 11/27/16
21 - Kevin O'Connor, Multiple Decisions, 12/2/16
22 - Geoff Orr, Home Run, 12/12/16
23 - Tommy Owen, Exciting Time, 11/29/16
24 - Tom Rizzo, Mental Part, 11/12/16
25 - Shawn Rohrwild, Tough Save, 11/21/16
26 - Scott Ryder, Moved Around, 11/20/16
27 - Randy Smith, Phenomenal Teacher, 12/6/16
28 - John Surane, Amazing Win, 11/14/16
29 - Michael Sweeney, Set Back, 11/30/16
30 - John Wood, Anniversary Team, 11/24/16

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