Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Doug Simunic had achieved just about everything in his 10 previous season as manager of the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of the Northern League. Two championships (plus one at Winnipeg in 1994), three-time Manager of the Year, winning record every season, all-time winningest NL manager.

But he hadn't experienced having one of his player proteges reach the major leagues until Chris Coste joined the Philadelphia Phillies this week. Lefty Jason Pearson, a 10-game winner in 2000, had a couple of brief stints with the Padres and Cardinals, but he didn't really plant down the same roots in Fargo as hometown product Coste, who was with the Redhawks for four seasons.

So big Doug had reason to be happy and proud.

Was there one game Coste had played that stuck out in his mind, I inquired on the telephone, as I was building my Independent Baseball Insider column which features Coste this week. Simunic pointed to a single at bat.

It was a three-run home run Coste hit, Simunic said, after a rain delay off Northern League stalwart and Winnipeg rival Rick Forney in a playoff game in 1998. Sorry, Doug. Coste told me Wednesday from his New York hotel room he remembered the home run, which came "in Game 2" but it was not a three-run job. "It was a grand slam."

Just a small detail since 1998 was the season Simunic and Coste won a Northern League title together.

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