With Jose Herrera playing the role of Reggie Jackson to perfection, the minor league baseball season ended triumphantly in Newark, New Jersey, Tuesday night.
People in these parts--and much of the country, for that matter--still remember that night in 1977 when Reg-gie, Reg-gie, Reg-gie blasted three home runs in one World Series game at Yankee Stadium.
I could not help but notice as I watched what turned out to be the final game in minor league baseball this season how the Newark (NJ) Bears had gotten so far into the Atlantic League's championship series with only one left-handed hitter in the batting order.
It turned out that southpaw hitter, 35-year-old Jose Herrera, crashed three homers, the last a three-run jolt in the Bears' eight-run, come-from-behind eighth that carried Wayne Krenchicki's Bears to a 13-7 win over Sparky Lyle's Somerset (NJ) Patriots. Somerset had a 7-3 lead behind venerable Lincoln Mikkelsen after 5 1/2 and a 7-5 lead into the bottom of the eighth as the Patriots tried to claw their way to a 2-2 series tie.
The mild September night with a bright and full moon overhead brought out a crowd of 3,152, which was noisy every time the Bears gave them reason, and frenzied during the lengthy eighth in which Mikkelsen tired and three relievers could not help out.
What a way to end the first minor league season in which attendance topped 50 million during the regular season, including 8.4 million who witnessed Independent Baseball games.
It was as much a joy to be there as to be able to share some of the happenings with you.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
FULL MOON, JOSE HERRERA'S THREE HOMERS USHER MINOR LEAGUE SEASON OUT
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.