Famous for Something Else Repost: Urban Meyer

Today, Urban Meyer’s Ohio State Buckeyes will play in the Sugar Bowl in an attempt to reach the College Football Playoff Championship Game. So, here’s a repost of his famous for something else post.

Did you know that Urban Meyer, head coach of Ohio State’s football team and former coach of the Florida Gators, had a brief minor league career? It’s true! He played two seasons in the low minors in the Braves organization.

Here are his stats:

Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB HBP SH SF IBB
1982 17 -2.9 Braves GULF Rk ATL 20 61 53 6 9 0 2 0 5 1 2 6 9 .170 .267 .245 .512 13 1 1 0 0
1983 18 -2.0 2 Teams 2 Lgs Rk ATL 24 77 57 13 11 2 0 1 6 1 1 16 15 .193 .365 .281 .646 16 0 3 1 0
1983 18 -2.4 Pulaski APPY Rk ATL 15 41 32 8 8 2 0 1 4 0 0 8 9 .250 .400 .406 .806 13 0 1 0 0
1983 18 -1.5 Braves GULF Rk ATL 9 36 25 5 3 0 0 0 2 1 1 8 6 .120 .324 .120 .444 3 0 2 1 0
2 Seasons 44 138 110 19 20 2 2 1 11 2 3 22 24 .182 .321 .264 .585 29 1 4 1 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/20/2014.

Now, as you can see, he didn’t do very good, but, according to a recent episode of Real Sports, it was a defining moment for him. Frustrated by his struggles, he told his father he was going to quit and come home, enraging his father, who told him that he would have no losers in his family. This would fuel a long obsession with winning that would define his career for years and ended up forcing his family to have him sign a contract to make sure he didn’t essentially abandon them for coaching.

One interesting thing to note, by the way, is that Urban Meyer played alongside Ron Gant and Mark Lemke during his 1983 stint in the Gulf Coast League.

So, anyway… now you know!

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Famous for Something Else: Urban Meyer

Did you know that Urban Meyer, head coach of Ohio State’s football team and former coach of the Florida Gators, had a brief minor league career? It’s true! He played two seasons in the low minors in the Braves organization.

Here are his stats:

Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB HBP SH SF IBB
1982 17 -2.9 Braves GULF Rk ATL 20 61 53 6 9 0 2 0 5 1 2 6 9 .170 .267 .245 .512 13 1 1 0 0
1983 18 -2.0 2 Teams 2 Lgs Rk ATL 24 77 57 13 11 2 0 1 6 1 1 16 15 .193 .365 .281 .646 16 0 3 1 0
1983 18 -2.4 Pulaski APPY Rk ATL 15 41 32 8 8 2 0 1 4 0 0 8 9 .250 .400 .406 .806 13 0 1 0 0
1983 18 -1.5 Braves GULF Rk ATL 9 36 25 5 3 0 0 0 2 1 1 8 6 .120 .324 .120 .444 3 0 2 1 0
2 Seasons 44 138 110 19 20 2 2 1 11 2 3 22 24 .182 .321 .264 .585 29 1 4 1 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/20/2014.

Now, as you can see, he didn’t do very good, but, according to a recent episode of Real Sports, it was a defining moment for him. Frustrated by his struggles, he told his father he was going to quit and come home, enraging his father, who told him that he would have no losers in his family. This would fuel a long obsession with winning that would define his career for years and ended up forcing his family to have him sign a contract to make sure he didn’t essentially abandon them for coaching.

One interesting thing to note, by the way, is that Urban Meyer played alongside Ron Gant and Mark Lemke during his 1983 stint in the Gulf Coast League.

So, anyway… now you know!

The Previous BAL-KC Playoff Matchups… yes, there was one (and there could have been 3!)

Don’t believe the people who say that this ALCS is the first time that Baltimore and Kansas City’s baseball teams have met in the playoffs. It’s wrong.

Oh, to be sure, this is the first time the MLB franchises- the Royals and Orioles- have met. But it’s not the first time Kansas City and Baltimore have sent their nines against each other. It’s the second… and there could have been at least two more, had they been played. Using a few other resources, such as Baseball-Reference, SABR, and their joint wiki, here is the hidden history of Kansas City and Baltimore in the postseason..

 

1923 Little World Series: Kansas City Blues def. Baltimore Orioles, 5-4

Throughout history, there have been many incarnations of a Triple-A World Series, pitting the best teams in America that aren’t Major League. And in 1923, we had the only time that we can be sure Kansas City and Baltimore played each other in a postseason series, as they faced each other in a best-of-9 series, at the time going by the name “Little World Series”, although the Sporting News also referred to as the “Junior World Series”. It was a match-up between the American Association and the International League.

Winning the IL for the fifth straight season, the 1923 Orioles were in the midst of perhaps the greatest minor league dynasty in history, as they would ultimately win the IL every year from 1919 to 1925. Under Jack Dunn- best known for being the man who discovered Babe Ruth- they’d gone 111-53 to win the pennant by 11 games over Rochester, and would later be named as the 19th greatest minor league team in history. Their roster was stacked with players who either had or would have major league careers.

The most notable, of course, would be 23-year-old future Hall-of-Famer Lefty Grove, who pitched to a 3.11 ERA as he set the IL record for strikeouts in a season that year with 330 Ks in 303 IP. However, his 27-10 record wasn’t even the best on the team- that belonged to the 29-year-old Rube Parnham, who went 33-7 with a 3.18 ERA. The righty, interestingly enough, only pitched in six MLB games in his career for the 1916-1917 Philadelphia Athletics.

Also on the Orioles that year was Grove’s fellow Hall-of-Famer Chief Bender, then 39 years old, who had pitched in all but one of his 459 career MLB appearances on the mound (in addition to some small stints as a position player). Pitching in 18 games with Baltimore, he was less than effective and had a 5.03 ERA.

Other notable Orioles included Tommy Thomas (who would go on to pitch parts of 12 seasons in the big leagues), 2B Max Bishop (who tied for the IL lead in HR at 22 and who would go to 15th all-time in MLB OBP), Jimmy Walsh (who had been primarily an outfielder in the majors during the 1910s) and Clarence Pitt, a mid-season acquisition from Rochester who hit .357 in 1923 but who never played a MLB game.

In contrast to the runaway Orioles, the Blues had been in a neck-and-neck race before grabbing the AA title. In fact, in a article dated Sept. 30 in the October 4 issue of Sporting News, it was said that it would be “almost a miracle” if they were to come through in their race with the St. Paul Saints. That same article, entitled “St Paul Counting Team As Safely In”, is in fact more of a preview of a Saints-Orioles series than anything. But Kansas City won an astounding 10 of their last 11 games to finish the year with a 112-54 record, the second best in the history of the American Association and just barely ahead of St. Paul at 111-57. Unlike the Orioles, the Blues lacked many big names or future stars, instead being made up mainly of older veterans, such as their 37-year-old player-manager Wilbur Good (who’d played parts of 11 years in the bigs), 30-year-old Bunny Brief (who had already played all 184 of his MLB games), and 36-year-olds Beals Becker (who had been second in the 1914 National League batting race) and Lena Blackburne (most known for his role in the infamous “rubbing mud” that is placed on baseballs before being put in play). There was also 25-year-old Dud Branom, who hit .348 but would ultimately only have 30 games with the Athletics in 1927. Pitching-wise, the Blues were led by Jimmy Zinn, who went 27-6 with a 3.94 ERA, and Ferdie Schupp, who went 19-10 with a 4.23 ERA. Also in the rotation: Ray Caldwell, winner of 134 career MLB games.

Bad weather plagued the Little World Series, and in fact it ended after MLB’s World Series. Starting on October 10th in Kansas City, it didn’t end until October 25th- 16 days later- in Baltimore, where Kansas City won the 9th and deciding game 5-2, defeating Grove and Parnham in the final game behind homers by Bill Skiff and Brief. It was only because of Baltimore’s play at home that the series had even gotten that long, as Kansas City had gone 3-1 to start the series.

That would be the last time Baltimore and Kansas City would have two professional baseball teams meet in the playoffs… but it’s not the last time that it could have happened.

1929 Negro World Series: The Kansas City Monarchs would have played the Baltimore Black Sox

The Negro Leagues were infamously disorganized, with record-keeping at times being hit-or-miss and the with league schedules often haphazardly taking place between barnstorming tours and other exhibitions. In addition, there was the problem of money (several Negro Leagues ended up folding long before integration) and, of course, the racism they faced, which often closed them out of stadiums and hotels. So, with that in mind, perhaps it is isn’t surprising that the Negro World Series (also called the Colored World Series, depending on the era) was an on-and-off affair. Well, in 1929, it was an “off” year, thus depriving the world of a matchup between the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro National League and the Baltimore Black Sox of the short-lived American Negro League.

We’ll never know what would have happened had they done so, but any such series would have featured at least three Hall of Famers: Jud Wilson (with Baltimore), Bullet Joe Rogan (with Kansas City) and Andy Cooper (also with Kansas City).

1939 Negro World Series: The Kansas City Monarchs would have played the Baltimore Elite Giants

Ten years later, the Negro American League champion Kansas City Monarchs would have faced the Negro National League champion Baltimore Elite Giants. But, like in 1929, the Negro Leagues World Series was not in existence at the time.

That was a shame, as this series would have been even more star-studded than the 1929 edition would have been. Hall of Famers Hilton Smith, Turkey Stearnes and Willard Brown, as well as Buck O’Neil (who should have been a Hall of Famer for his work off the field alone), were on the Monarchs, while the Elite Giants had a 41-year-old Biz Mackey and a 17-year-old catcher named Roy Campanella.

We’ll never know what might have happened, but it really fires up the imagination, doesn’t it?

So, there you go, the previous playoff match-ups between Baltimore and Kansas City. Oh, sure, two of them never really happened, but, still, that’s way more than is needed to render any claim that this is the first time that Kansas City and Baltimore have met in the playoffs false!

 

Famous For Something Else: Scott Boras

Scott Boras, of course, is famous as a baseball agent. But some of you might not know that he once played baseball and was a pretty good player in the minors!

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1974 21 Cardinals GULF Rk STL 33 120 95 13 26 3 2 0 10 7 2 18 16 .274 .402 .347 .749
1975 22 St. Petersburg FLOR A STL 99 368 300 39 83 15 4 2 36 1 1 60 24 .277 .402 .373 .776
1976 23 St. Petersburg FLOR A STL 129 512 437 63 129 22 6 2 44 2 0 56 38 .295 .378 .387 .765
1977 24 3 Teams 2 Lgs A-AA CHC,STL 110 405 343 54 100 11 6 1 33 4 0 55 36 .292 .392 .367 .759
1977 24 St. Petersburg FLOR A STL 22 92 78 17 27 2 2 0 7 2 0 12 9 .346 .440 .423 .863
1977 24 Midland,Arkansas TL AA STL,CHC 88 313 265 37 73 9 4 1 26 2 0 43 27 .275 .377 .351 .728
1977 24 Arkansas TL AA STL 13
1977 24 Midland TL AA CHC 75
4 Seasons 371 1405 1175 169 338 51 18 5 123 14 3 189 114 .288 .390 .374 .765
Rk (1 season) Rk 33 120 95 13 26 3 2 0 10 7 2 18 16 .274 .402 .347 .749
A (3 seasons) A 250 972 815 119 239 39 12 4 87 5 1 128 71 .293 .393 .385 .778
AA (1 season) AA 88 313 265 37 73 9 4 1 26 2 0 43 27 .275 .377 .351 .728
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/10/2014.

As you can see, Boras was a pretty good player. In fact, in 1976 he made the Florida State League All-Star Team! However, he had knee problems, and that forced him to retire… and eventually led him to become an agent.

2014 Rochester Red Wings in Review, Part 1, AKA “The IL North is Tough”

If there is one lesson to be learned from the 2014 Rochester Red Wings, it is that minor league baseball is perhaps even more cruel than Major League Baseball, and perhaps even more unforgiving, at least to teams.

If you want to know what I mean, take a look at the standings of the International League this year. You’ll see on them a horrible unbalanced league, where one division clearly was better than the other two. That division was the IL North. Take a look at the near-final (there were one or two games still going on when I posted this) standings here:

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 4.04.16 PMNow, as you can see, the North simply owned the other divisions. The four teams with the best records in the league were in it (meaning the playoffs will consist of the first, second, fifth, and sixth best teams), and it’s two worst teams (Scranton and Lehigh Valley) would have been in a three-way fight with Gwinnett for second in another division (the South).

Sadly for the Red Wings, they were in the North. And, sadly, they were unable to win the Wild Card. To be sure, there were times this season where it could be said they blew their chance at the postseason: a horrible 0-for-Ohio road trip, a few blown games by the bullpen here and there, and some games where they got plenty of men on base but never got enough of them home. But, ultimately, the Red Wings were just unlucky victims of geography, stuck in what may have been the best division in all of baseball (relative to the rest of it’s league).

That said, despite the disappointing ending, it was a ton of fun, so on Wednesday, I’ll have a second part, a retrospective on the 2014 Red Wings season, complete with photos!

 

Greg Maddux as a Minor Leaguer… VIDEOS

Thanks Youtube! While looking up “Greg Maddux“, I found video of him as a 19-year-old in 1985 with the Peoria Chiefs. THREE VIDEOS OF IT, to be exact.

So, while I haven’t watched these yet, here are all three, for your viewing pleasure:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

The Roller Coaster Red Wings head to the Postseason

When announcing lineups, the Rochester Red Wings often play “Love Rollercoaster”. It fits this season, as the AAA Twins affiliate seemed to be on one that had highs, lows, loops, corkscrews and no shortage of screaming and yelling. And now, after a blowout 13-3 victory on the final day of the season and a stunning 1-0 extra-inning defeat by the Norfolk Tides (AAA Orioles), the Wings now have made the playoffs for the first time since 2006 by virtue of holding a tie-breaker against Norfolk.

It was by no means a sure thing. Then again, there was very little “sure” about this season. The Wings started 2-11, they were in last place as late as May 29, they were in first later in the year, only to lose both that lead and also seemingly the wild card in a late skid after their best player (Chris Colabello) and best pitcher (Andrew Albers) were called up… and then, finally, at the end, they were able to pick themselves up and get to the playoffs, with a little luck.

(Go below the jump for more)

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