I knew I had a good story for my weekly Independent Baseball Insider column this week. I just underestimated how good it was.
When you have been doing baseball research as long as I have I should not come up short, but I did this time.
The story was about the number of players who were in Independent leagues as recently as all or part of the 2006 season and are playing for major league organizations at either the Double-A or Triple-A level now. I found 21 right way. What I overlooked until a couple of readers sent me emails was another group almost as large.
The list I printed in the Insider ended up with 39 players, a mighty impressive number in this reporter's mind. (I hope I have not missed anyone else.) Not surprisingly, the Atlantic League led the way with 18 of the 39. Somewhat more surprising is that five of them--four playing just one notch below the major leagues in Class AAA--were on Sparky Lyle's Somerset (NJ) Patriots, and they did not even make the playoffs. Five also represented Bridgeport, CT, which lost in the championship round to Lancaster, PA.
The first year American Association, which hardly was a rookie operation since groups of clubs had moved from both the Central and the Northern, had nine players make the move.
Independent Baseball has 91 of its former players in AAA and AA overall with another 11 in the majors. Nearly 60 others are in Class A or in extended spring training awaiting assignments.
Friday, April 27, 2007
A GREAT STORY, BUT A RED FACE AT THIS DESK
Former chief spokesman for Major League Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth. Six years as publicity director for the Kansas City Royals, and a background in newspaper, radio and television. Started Wirz & Associates, a sports PR and consulting firm, in 1985. Has written extensively on Independent Baseball since 2003.