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Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got exc

Talk shop about the various prospects and teams that make up the Cleveland Indians organization.

Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got exc

Postby daingean » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:42 pm

Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got excited about?

1. Karl Pagel - I remember hearing about this guy at AAA (was it Charleston WV in those days). I heard this guy had power. I didn't realize Pagel was acquired from the Cubs in a trade. He never really showed that ability at the Major League level.

2. Luis Medina - read an article on him in BA back in about '86. Again he didn't really make it in the Show.

3. Jim Thome - Huge year at Burlington after not making a full season team out of ST. First real star that I followed through the minors.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby TitoFrancona » Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:05 pm

I of course go way back to the early 60s.

#1 Sudden Sam McDowell. Which of course was a no-brainer.

#2 Tony Martinez. A shortstop who was rated one of the top prospects in baseball. Kid came up but had problems and was demoted. He just couldn't seem to handle the demotion well and was never the same.

#3 Tony Horton. Got him from the RSox and there seemed to be no doubt this kid was going to be special. He showed he could hit in the majors - but he simply couldn't handle the day to day pressures.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby elrod enchilada » Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:10 pm

To date myself: Vic Davalillo and then Bill Davis. Gabe Paul regarded Bill Davis's career-ending injury a devastating blow to the Tribe. http://www.baseball-reference.com/minor ... vis-004art

Of course, Ray Fosse. Before his injury he looked like he would be the best catcher of the 1970s, and that was possibly the best decade for catchers in baseball history.

Then, in the 80s, Butch Garcia: http://www.baseball-reference.com/minor ... rcia005vic He was deadly in his first 1/2 season.

Now, thanks to this incredible website and the Internet, I have dozens of players who intrigue me and that I root for.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby artgold » Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:36 pm

I didn't start following the Indians until the later 1970's, when I was already in my mid-20's. Therefore the guys don't really reflect my age.

The first Indians farmhands I was interested in were 1st baseman Wayne Cage, and starting pitchers Nate Puryear and Eric Wilkins.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minor ... ge--001way
http://www.baseball-reference.com/minor ... ryea001nat
http://www.baseball-reference.com/minor ... lkin001eri

As far as baseball itself, I began life rooting for the Phillies, and the first prospects I ever was excited about were 1st baseman Costen Shockley and starting pitcher John Boozer.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minor ... ockl001joh
http://www.baseball-reference.com/minor ... ozer001joh
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby Edible14 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:55 pm

Back in the 90s, when I wasn't even a teenager yet, I got one of those programs that had the entire 40 man roster of the Indians. That's probably the first time I got excited about players who weren't even on the team yet. I remember Jeret Wright, Bartolo Colon, Danyz Baez, Tim Drew and CC all having a lot of hype around them, and being excited about them improving the starting pitching for the team.

I only really started following the minors (mostly through this site) around 2005, after watching so many guys come up through Buffalo and really playing well.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby osueddy » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:05 pm

I can remember the first year of the Canton-Akron Indians when my H league baseball team went to watch a game at Thurman Munson Stadium against the Albany-Colonie Yankees. I got to see Joey Belle for the Indians crush the ball and I also watched a speedy outfielder for the Yankees named Deion Sanders...in the same game! That's when I knew minor league baseball was fun!
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby danh8 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:32 am

Rick Manning
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby TonyIBI » Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:48 am

Nice thread!

Being on the wrong end of 30, my time following the minors is not as long as some here. I never really dove into it head first until after the 2001 season when the Indians started their rebuild.....but I always read BA and kept abreast of things for years before that.

But before the internet and my knowledge of BA, I used to simply follow the minors with the full two page spread in the Sunday paper (News Herald) that had all the statistics in baseball and then all the stats for the Indians minor leaguers at every level. The stats for the minor leaguers were not complete as they only showed the top 5-6 guys in average, HR, RBI, wins, ERA, etc, but it was enough to get me excited each and every week to see who improved and who was doing well.

My earliest memory of following a minor leaguer was the end of my sophomore year in high school in the summer of 1990 when I couldn't wait to see what Thome did from week to week. Back then I pronounced his name with full TH sound like in "thumb" and the rest of his name like the word "home". Was very susprised when he got the call up and I heard his name announced the first time!

I had followed Joey Belle some before that, but Thome was the first real guy I monitored, and later guys like Giles, Ramirez, Costo, Mutis, Embree, Mlicki, etc. Is why Thome will always be my favorite Indian, and why I still hate that backstabbing bastard so much still. :diablo:
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby indianinkslinger » Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:29 pm

I go a little further back than most of you and he isn't exactly someone from the minor league system but my first rookie hero was Luke Easter. How I loved to watch that man hit! Unfortunately, he was in his mid 30s when he got to the majors because of the color of his skin. Around the same time was his running mate at 2B, Bobby Avila, who had a much longer ML career and was in the minor league system as I recall. Still have baseball cards from both.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby dazindiansfanuk » Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:32 pm

I'm a little junior to some of you guys, both in age and my baseball following history.

My Indians fandom was really reaching the level it is now around the time of the Robbie Alomar deal, so Alex Escobar was the first minor leaguer I pegged for stardom.

The day he tore his knee up I was crushed!
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby TonyIBI » Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:41 pm

dazindiansfanuk wrote:I'm a little junior to some of you guys, both in age and my baseball following history.


We'll cut you guys across the pond some slack. :drinks:
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby jellis » Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:41 pm

Colon was the first I was in middle school and me and my father got excited to check out his crazy numbers in A ball. After that it was Scott Morgan and Russel Branyan I read an article on the top power prospects in baseball 1 was derek lee, Branyan was like 13 and Morgan 47.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby GhostofTedCox » Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:39 am

I never knew there were so many old geezers, like me, on this board.

When I was much younger I loved watching Dennis Eckersly pitch for the Indians. He had the stuff and a swagger. But the Indians needed help in the field. So they traded him to the Red Sox for (ta-dah) Ted Cox. Cox wax a big kid that was a first round pick for the Sox. He had batted like .375 in AAA at age 22. He passed the eyeball test, but that's all. He lasted a couple of years, and Eckersly is in Cooperstown.

Imagine trading a young, dominating pitcher for a prospect. I guess some things never change. :cry:
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby jellis » Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:42 am

GhostofTedCox wrote:I never knew there were so many old geezers, like me, on this board.

When I was much younger I loved watching Dennis Eckersly pitch for the Indians. He had the stuff and a swagger. But the Indians needed help in the field. So they traded him to the Red Sox for (ta-dah) Ted Cox. Cox wax a big kid that was a first round pick for the Sox. He had batted like .375 in AAA at age 22. He passed the eyeball test, but that's all. He lasted a couple of years, and Eckersly is in Cooperstown.

Imagine trading a young, dominating pitcher for a prospect. I guess some things never change. :cry:



Well we did kind of have to trade Eck, We should have traded Manning instead but one had to go
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby jellis » Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:45 am

jellis wrote:Colon was the first I was in middle school and me and my father got excited to check out his crazy numbers in A ball. After that it was Scott Morgan and Russel Branyan I read an article on the top power prospects in baseball 1 was derek lee, Branyan was like 13 and Morgan 47.


Oh and I wanted to mention Alex Rameriz who I loved because he was just so nice to all the young fans when I went to the Canton Akron games, he was like a superstar to all us younger fans
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby Hermie13 » Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:28 pm

jellis wrote:
GhostofTedCox wrote:I never knew there were so many old geezers, like me, on this board.

When I was much younger I loved watching Dennis Eckersly pitch for the Indians. He had the stuff and a swagger. But the Indians needed help in the field. So they traded him to the Red Sox for (ta-dah) Ted Cox. Cox wax a big kid that was a first round pick for the Sox. He had batted like .375 in AAA at age 22. He passed the eyeball test, but that's all. He lasted a couple of years, and Eckersly is in Cooperstown.

Imagine trading a young, dominating pitcher for a prospect. I guess some things never change. :cry:



Well we did kind of have to trade Eck, We should have traded Manning instead but one had to go


Yup. Reason I (and many other fans) hate Manning to this day. Shows how classy the Tribe organization was back then too......we traded the guy who's wife was slept with....not the a-hole that broke the #1 locker room rule in all of sports.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby Pork Chop Pough » Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:49 pm

daingean wrote:2. Luis Medina - read an article on him in BA back in about '86. Again he didn't really make it in the Show.

Yep, Medina stole my prospect innocence, although that was probably influenced heavily by his small sample size MLB debut at the end of the 1988 season. My introduction to following minor leaguers probably started with buying the Street & Smith preview mags in the late '80s, because they printed the 40-man rosters with the most complete stats. Then it was following the original Canton-Akron Indians in '89. So probably the first ones I really followed during their minor league careers were Joey Belle and Beau Allred.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby petes999 » Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:25 pm

For me, I grew up a Dodger fan as I was born in LA....

The first two rookies I remember following were

Mike Marshall http://www.baseball-reference.com/playe ... mi02.shtml
and
Greg Brock http://www.baseball-reference.com/playe ... gr01.shtml

But, the first few minor leaguers that I followed were after I graduated from college and could afford a few bucks on USA Today - baseball publication as there was no such thing as the internet in those days. There were two kids following in their brothers footsteps

Pedro Martinez http://www.baseball-reference.com/playe ... pe02.shtml

and probably as they quoted the best of the brothers as he was a lefty
Jesus Martinez http://www.baseball-reference.com/minor ... rtin006jes

I never really followed the Indians minor leaguers until the Colon trade and Brandon Phelps and then Peralta.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby Jamooky » Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:26 pm

Paul Shuey :fool:
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby gotribe31 » Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:18 pm

indianinkslinger wrote:I go a little further back than most of you and he isn't exactly someone from the minor league system but my first rookie hero was Luke Easter. How I loved to watch that man hit! Unfortunately, he was in his mid 30s when he got to the majors because of the color of his skin. Around the same time was his running mate at 2B, Bobby Avila, who had a much longer ML career and was in the minor league system as I recall. Still have baseball cards from both.


I figured you were gonna go with Old Hoss Radbourn :s_biggrin
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby criznit2009 » Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:36 pm

For me it is the ball player, now manager known as: Brad Komminsk. I grew up a braves fan (boo yrselves) and as a little kid I was going through a new pack of baseball cards when I came across this brave I have never heard of. Flipped it over and checked out his stats. Well based on that, I WAS going to hear of him, he was going to be their best hitter/player THAT year and lead them to a WS! Oh and because of all that, I had just scored an awesome rookie(not sure now)card..... Or something like that.

Easily my first exposure to the the minor leagues, i drove my dad nuts asking about where these AA and AAA cities were, what their teams names were who else played for them and so on over the next couple days.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby gotribe31 » Fri Jan 07, 2011 8:01 pm

criznit2009 wrote:For me it is the ball player, now manager known as: Brad Komminsk. I grew up a braves fan (boo yrselves) and as a little kid I was going through a new pack of baseball cards when I came across this brave I have never heard of. Flipped it over and checked out his stats. Well based on that, I WAS going to hear of him, he was going to be their best hitter/player THAT year and lead them to a WS! Oh and because of all that, I had just scored an awesome rookie(not sure now)card..... Or something like that.

Easily my first exposure to the the minor leagues, i drove my dad nuts asking about where these AA and AAA cities were, what their teams names were who else played for them and so on over the next couple days.


If it makes you feel any better, Komminsk is a nice guy. I interviewed him for about 15-20 min after Fausto started for Akron against Bowie a couple years ago. He took the time to chat with me about not just his team, but all the guys he coached when he was in the Indians system as well. Still very passionate about the game (obviously) and I had a lot of fun talking to him.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby elrod enchilada » Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:20 pm

Wow. Indiansinkslinger goes back to Luke Easter. Man, those were the true glory days for the Tribe. I became a fan in 1960, at age 7, just as the team was entering its three decade snoozefest. Sure there were some decent teams, some great players, and some good memories, but there were too many 62-100 seasons for my taste. And it seemed like every time we finished last, whenever got the first or second pick in the draft there was no Ken Griffey, Jr. available. We always got Steve Dunning or Mark Lewis.

I have a few stories about those days of particular interest to this board. I have to run now but I will mention one tomorrow.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby martyinnewyork » Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:41 pm

interesting about komminsk... I too was a Braves fan way back... Komminsk, Gerald Perry, Brook Jacoby and Brett Butler were going to lead them to glory. Then they traded Butler and Jacoby to the Tribe and Komminsk & Perry didn't pan out.

I didn't start following the minor leagues till about the '90's. Willie Martinez was a guy I paid attention to, remember seeing him pitch in Rochester (AAA) and being beaten by a Karim Garcia homer.

Followed lots of guys on the Bisons. ARam (Alex Ramirez) was a good one, had a lot of success in Japan later.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby elrod enchilada » Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:48 pm

Here is the first of my two stories about "Great Moments in Tribe Farm Club History."

Back in 1969, I was 16, and a fanatical Tribe fan. I read The Sporting News every week and devoured the minor league statistics. In those Dark Ages, that was the only place you could get them which is why TSN was called the "Bible of Baseball."

In 1969 the Tribe was having one of its all-too-common 60-100 type seasons, and this one was especially disappointing., In 1968 the Tribe had finished third with an amazing young pitching staff featuring Sam McDowell, Luis Tiant, Steve Hargan and Sonny Siebert. In 1969 the bottom came out of the cup. Every week I devoured the minor league stats hoping for some good news and hope in the farm system. In those days the Tribe farm system, as a rule, some great pitching earlier in the decade notwithstanding, generally sucked. The cheapskate owners had a budget that seemed about 1/10 that of other teams.

1969 was a bleak year for prospects in the Tribe farm system. There was Ray Fosse, who was hurt and then riding the bench unproductively in Cleveland. He would break out the following year in 1970. At AAA, there was Jack Heidemann, and when Jack Heidemann is your stud you know you are in trouble. I latched on to a 20 year old middle infielder at Waterbury named Nelsen Peguero who was young for AA ball. Peguero started in A ball and got promoted to Waterbury where he was hitting close to .300. Finally, we had our star!

In September the Red Sox came to town for a weeknight series. By then the attendance in Municipal Stadium was around 1,000-2,000 people, although they usually listed the attendance at 3-4,000. I had just gotten my driver's license so I borrowed my parent's car and drove down to the stadium. I went very early to watch BP. Basically there were only a few hard-core junkies at the Stadium.

Boston had called up its September rookies, and one of them was a player from the Eastern League whose name I recognized, a catcher named Carlton Fisk. (Fisk would not make it to the majors until 1972, when he became rookie-of-the-year.) He was standing right next to the stands in the bullpen playing catch so I went down to talk to him. I used this opportunity to get a side scouting report on my prized prospect for the Tribe's future: Nelson Peguero.

I approached Fisk, said hello, and wished him luck. He said thanks. Having warmed him up, I popped the big question: "I notice you played in the Eastern League. What did you make of that Tribe prospect Nelson Peguero?"

Fisk paused. "Who did you say?"

"Nelson Peguero," I repeated.

"Peguero?" said Fisk. "Oh, he sucks."

I was devastated and mumbled "thanks" as I drifted back to my seat. My hope for the future had been shattered.

Peguero was back in A ball in 1970 and out of baseball altogether at age 22.

Part II forthcoming.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby wrestlecd4 » Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:25 pm

elrod enchilada wrote:Here is the first of my two stories about "Great Moments in Tribe Farm Club History."

Back in 1969, I was 16, and a fanatical Tribe fan. I read The Sporting News every week and devoured the minor league statistics. In those Dark Ages, that was the only place you could get them which is why TSN was called the "Bible of Baseball."

In 1969 the Tribe was having one of its all-too-common 60-100 type seasons, and this one was especially disappointing., In 1968 the Tribe had finished third with an amazing young pitching staff featuring Sam McDowell, Luis Tiant, Steve Hargan and Sonny Siebert. In 1969 the bottom came out of the cup. Every week I devoured the minor league stats hoping for some good news and hope in the farm system. In those days the Tribe farm system, as a rule, some great pitching earlier in the decade notwithstanding, generally sucked. The cheapskate owners had a budget that seemed about 1/10 that of other teams.

1969 was a bleak year for prospects in the Tribe farm system. There was Ray Fosse, who was hurt and then riding the bench unproductively in Cleveland. He would break out the following year in 1970. At AAA, there was Jack Heidemann, and when Jack Heidemann is your stud you know you are in trouble. I latched on to a 20 year old middle infielder at Waterbury named Nelsen Peguero who was young for AA ball. Peguero started in A ball and got promoted to Waterbury where he was hitting close to .300. Finally, we had our star!

In September the Red Sox came to town for a weeknight series. By then the attendance in Municipal Stadium was around 1,000-2,000 people, although they usually listed the attendance at 3-4,000. I had just gotten my driver's license so I borrowed my parent's car and drove down to the stadium. I went very early to watch BP. Basically there were only a few hard-core junkies at the Stadium.

Boston had called up its September rookies, and one of them was a player from the Eastern League whose name I recognized, a catcher named Carlton Fisk. (Fisk would not make it to the majors until 1972, when he became rookie-of-the-year.) He was standing right next to the stands in the bullpen playing catch so I went down to talk to him. I used this opportunity to get a side scouting report on my prized prospect for the Tribe's future: Nelson Peguero.

I approached Fisk, said hello, and wished him luck. He said thanks. Having warmed him up, I popped the big question: "I notice you played in the Eastern League. What did you make of that Tribe prospect Nelson Peguero?"

Fisk paused. "Who did you say?"

"Nelson Peguero," I repeated.

"Peguero?" said Fisk. "Oh, he sucks."

I was devastated and mumbled "thanks" as I drifted back to my seat. My hope for the future had been shattered.

Peguero was back in A ball in 1970 and out of baseball altogether at age 22.

Part II forthcoming.



Awesome story. I love hearing stories from back in the day from baseball. I am 29 but love to know what was going on with my beloved Indians before I was alive to bleed wahoo.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby wrestlecd4 » Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:30 pm

My minor league baseball interest is different then most. I have been a lifetime Indians fan and have always watched them and loved them. I never knew much about there farm system other than the fact that they did indeed have one. A few years back I went through a divorce. I had twin boys with my previous wife. On my weekends I was always looking for things to do with them that would be fun for the 3 of us. One weekend we decided to check out the Aeros team down the road. It took all of 5 minutes for my boys to find the love that I had for our team. We now go to 15-20 Aeros games a year and this year plan on attending some Lake County, Mahoning Valley and Columbus games to see most of our system. The Aeros have served us as a place that we can grow together and have something in common that we can share with each other the rest of our lives.
As far as favorite players:
Mine: Lonnie Chisenhall super nice guy
Twin A: John Drennan (my boy will love this guy forever for just taking a moment out of his day to talk to a 5 year old was really a special moment)
Twin B: Jared Goedert and Jerad Head (His name is Jared as well)
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby ACrank » Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:45 pm

i think it was a Hal Lebovitz article that introduced me to the Big A - Angelo LoGrande.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby TonyIBI » Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:49 pm

Great stories fellas!
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby daingean » Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:50 pm

criznit2009 wrote:For me it is the ball player, now manager known as: Brad Komminsk. I grew up a braves fan (boo yrselves) and as a little kid I was going through a new pack of baseball cards when I came across this brave I have never heard of. Flipped it over and checked out his stats. Well based on that, I WAS going to hear of him, he was going to be their best hitter/player THAT year and lead them to a WS! Oh and because of all that, I had just scored an awesome rookie(not sure now)card..... Or something like that.

Easily my first exposure to the the minor leagues, i drove my dad nuts asking about where these AA and AAA cities were, what their teams names were who else played for them and so on over the next couple days.


I moved down here to Atlanta in '84. The Braves team had Dale Murphy and Bob Horner but finished 2nd to the Padres that year. All of these guys that I met that year were talking about Komminsk about how good he was gonna be. They talked about his power and speed.

I remember that off season they signed Bruce Sutter and everyone was talking World Series (Smith and Street picked them). Alas they finished way out.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby danh8 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:53 am

ACrank wrote:i think it was a Hal Lebovitz article that introduced me to the Big A - Angelo LoGrande.



Yep, I remember Hal falling in love with the "Big A" back in the early to mid 70's. Big powerful kid that was a football recruit of Ara Parsegian at Notre Dame. He decided to join the Indians and become a baseball player. I remember watching him at Hi Corbett Field in Tucson, trying to hit a curve. He never could. But, what a show he could put on in batting practice.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby elrod enchilada » Sun Jan 09, 2011 6:03 pm

Ok, here is my second story on the Mighty Tribe farm system of yesteryear:

I am 18 and have just graduated high school in 1971. That summer I begin college at Antioch College on Yellow Springs, Ohio. Ever the baseball fanatic, I actually follow the amateur draft as much as its possible in the old days. I chew on every top Tribe pick envisioning them as potential Hall-of Famers. Going to high school in Connecticut I am already aware that the Red Sox drafted a guy named Jim Rice in the first round and he is a stud.

Antioch in this period is a hippie countercultural hotbed, in an otherwise completely squaresville southern Ohio scene. So people from around the area would head there on weekends occasionally to get stoned and party. Especially in the 60s and early 70s.

One Saturday night this really straight looking guy with short hair shows up at a campus party. The guy is around 30-35 and looks like a military guy with his short hair. It appears that he is trying hard to get laid and heard Antioch girls believed in free love, so there he was sticking out like a sore thumb.

A couple of us start talking to him and it seems he was a scout for the Kansas City Royals, for southern Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, as I recall. I questioned him and he definitely was a scout and he definitely worked for the Royals. He knew everyone that was drafted pretty much from the region and who picked them. The Royals had a reputation, even then, for putting a heavy emphasis on the draft and player development. In 1971, for example, they drafted George Brett out of high school in the 2nd round. Why the f*(k didn't the Tribe ever draft guys like that, or Jim Rice???

I asked him about the Tribe's recently completed 1971 draft. The guy started to laugh. "After the draft when we got together to look at how different teams fared, no one could believe who Cleveland picked. A lot of these players they took, even the high picks, were not even on our board. We thought they were almost all rejects."

Well that was a pretty sobering assessment. It was also somewhat accurate, as that Tribe draft produced Larry Andersen and Jim Umbarger but after that it barely produced any players who even had successful minor league careers. Like the guy said, a bunch of rejects. http://www.baseball-reference.com/draft ... ranch_year

The guy wasn't much in the looks or charm department so he struck out in his quest to bed an Antioch hippie chick. But he provided a painful reminded of just what a poorly run franchise I had fallen in love with as a boy.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby allhailshapiro » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:44 am

Wasn't even an Indians player. I didn't move to the OH until I was 12, grew up in AZ, and until then I was a general baseball fan with no real attachment to any particular team. What my family did do was go to a few Phoenix Thunderbirds (AAA) games. The first prospects I got excited about? Mike Benjamin and Kirk Manwaring. Mind you, I was 10, and looking back they weren't even really prospects by that point. I think my rooting interest in these two was based more on the baseball cards I got of them at a game than on their actual abilities.

As for the Tribe, I became a fan late in 92, and the minor leaguers I first got jazzed about where Alan Embree and Dave Mlicki. These two were supposed to come up and team with Chuck Nagy to give the team a rotation for the future. Both flamed out as prospects for the Tribe, but still managed to go on and have productive bigleague careers. There were others from that time as well, such as Tracy Sanders, Paul Byrd, Chad Ogea, Bill Wertz, and Brian Giles. Tom Hamilton was great back then at really talking up the youngsters during broadcasts. The irony is I don't remember ever hearing about Thome until I got a baseball card of him in an Upper Deck set.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby TitoFrancona » Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:19 pm

elrod enchilada wrote:Ok, here is my second story on the Mighty Tribe farm system of yesteryear:

I am 18 and have just graduated high school in 1971. That summer I begin college at Antioch College on Yellow Springs, Ohio. Ever the baseball fanatic, I actually follow the amateur draft as much as its possible in the old days. I chew on every top Tribe pick envisioning them as potential Hall-of Famers. Going to high school in Connecticut I am already aware that the Red Sox drafted a guy named Jim Rice in the first round and he is a stud.

Antioch in this period is a hippie countercultural hotbed, in an otherwise completely squaresville southern Ohio scene. So people from around the area would head there on weekends occasionally to get stoned and party. Especially in the 60s and early 70s.

One Saturday night this really straight looking guy with short hair shows up at a campus party. The guy is around 30-35 and looks like a military guy with his short hair. It appears that he is trying hard to get laid and heard Antioch girls believed in free love, so there he was sticking out like a sore thumb.

A couple of us start talking to him and it seems he was a scout for the Kansas City Royals, for southern Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, as I recall. I questioned him and he definitely was a scout and he definitely worked for the Royals. He knew everyone that was drafted pretty much from the region and who picked them. The Royals had a reputation, even then, for putting a heavy emphasis on the draft and player development. In 1971, for example, they drafted George Brett out of high school in the 2nd round. Why the f*(k didn't the Tribe ever draft guys like that, or Jim Rice???

I asked him about the Tribe's recently completed 1971 draft. The guy started to laugh. "After the draft when we got together to look at how different teams fared, no one could believe who Cleveland picked. A lot of these players they took, even the high picks, were not even on our board. We thought they were almost all rejects."

Well that was a pretty sobering assessment. It was also somewhat accurate, as that Tribe draft produced Larry Andersen and Jim Umbarger but after that it barely produced any players who even had successful minor league careers. Like the guy said, a bunch of rejects. http://www.baseball-reference.com/draft ... ranch_year

The guy wasn't much in the looks or charm department so he struck out in his quest to bed an Antioch hippie chick. But he provided a painful reminded of just what a poorly run franchise I had fallen in love with as a boy.


Back in the 60s and 70s, the Indians had a very small scouting team relying almost completely on the major league scouting combines. The problem is, the scouts in those combines worked for their respective teams and they held back a lot of information on players they really coveted. That's why the Indians had such bad drafts back then. Simply put, if they weren't high profile prospects that everybody knew about, then it was basically a guess for the Tribe. I'm pretty sure most of the players they drafted, their scouts never even watched.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby chitowntribephan » Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:51 am

For me it was 1985 when the The Sunday Plain Dealer began including a little box in the sports section about Tribe Farmhands. It may have been printed in prior years but that was the first I noticed them, began cutting them out and comparing the stats week-to-week.

At that point I was quite certain a team consisting of Cory Snyder, Jay Bell, Andy Allanson, Bernardo Brito, Luis Medina, Jim Weaver and Junior Noboa was going to be quite a powerhouse, particularly when you already had Julio Franco, Joe Carter and Brook Jacoby in the big leagues.

1986 brought us Greg Swindell, Jeff Shaw, Joe Skalski and the guy who had me really excited: Rudy Seanez

Amidst the disappointment that was 1987, Carl Keliipuleole, Kevin Bearse and Beau Allred gave me hope along with Joey Belle of course.

I still have a lot of those newspaper cutouts from the mid-eighties in a shoebox at my parent's house. Snyder and Bell were the big names as former first round picks but Medina was the one that got me the most excited b/c he came out of nowhere to hit 30+ HRs in 1986.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby TitoFrancona » Thu Jan 13, 2011 5:13 pm

Talking about Jay Bell doesn't bring back fond memories. I loved when they got him from the Twins and I absolutely was pissed when they traded him to the Pirates for a guy who's name I can't even remember. What a horrendous trade.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby Pork Chop Pough » Thu Jan 13, 2011 10:09 pm

TitoFrancona wrote:Talking about Jay Bell doesn't bring back fond memories. I loved when they got him from the Twins and I absolutely was pissed when they traded him to the Pirates for a guy who's name I can't even remember. What a horrendous trade.

How could anyone forget Felix Fermin? The deal worked out eventually, since they packaged Fermin with Reggie Jefferson to acquire Omar Vizquel.

This reminds me of some more prospect nostalgia. When the Indians traded former 1st round pick Tim Costo to the Reds for Reggie Jefferson in 1991, I happened to be at the Canton-Akron game where Jefferson made his debut in the Indians organization. I went with a high school friend of mine, and (iirc) our original idea was to go see Jim Thome, who was tearing up the Eastern League, but he'd been promoted to AAA just before the trade. Anyway, I believe Jefferson struck out three times in that first game, and by his final at-bat we were all booing him. As far as platooning DH's go though, Jefferson went on to have a nice career.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby ktriber » Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:04 pm

Been following the Kinston Indinas since childhood, but didn't get really involved until 4-5 years ago. I remember Colon, Sabathia,Ramirez and several others that had a buzz back then and went to be successful.

Once my kids got old enough to enjoy the game, we started going regularly. My kids first started following Jared Goedert and Josh Tomlin. We met them one day at McDonald's at an Indians function. My son sat down beside them and just started talking. We have followed both ever since. We also had the good fortune of seeing Tomlin make his major league debut against the Yankees. It was the series that A-Rod was going for 600. We sat in the 2nd row and the kids made a big sign with Josh's name on it. He saw it and wondered who in the heck that was with the sign.

Last year, my daughter took a liking to Jason Kipnis. She wanted to get a signed bat from him, but he got called up before she could. We came back through Akron on our way home from Cleveland to see the Aeros play. We had one of the K-tribe players call Kipnis to see if he could get our daughter a bat. Well, as luck would have it, Kipnis was sick that night and couldn't play. He didn't even come out of on the field. To make matters worse, the game was called in the early innings for rain. We tried to send word to see if Kipnis was still around, but 30-45 minutes later the stadium was clearing out and it was us and the groundscrew. One of those guys went and found Jason and he came out and talked to us for 15-20 minutes and had a bat signed for my daughter. Needless to say, he has a fan for life.
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Re: Nostalgia - Who was the first Minor Leaguer that you got

Postby Rocky55 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:10 pm

Went to my first game in '61. We lost. To the tigers. God I hate the tigers.

Anyway, that's not the thread. My first foray into prospectdom had to do with Neal Heaton. I read about him in SI and was psyched when we drafted him. Also liked Cory Snyder & Carmelo(Carmen) Castillo. No coincidence that they both had great arms.

My bro says I tend to favor the stereotypes in ballplayers, which is true. If you think about it, if you had a team with great defense up the middle, a big slugging LF & 1B, a catcher who could handle the staff & control the running game, you'd be in good shape.
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