Some odds and ends after another week of finishing the Independent Baseball Insider column.
It is difficult for this corner to realize that with Kansas City pitcher Luke Hochevar and Milwaukee outfielder Mel Stocker now in the major leagues for the first time, the number is up to 112 of players we can identify who have climbed to that level after playing in an Independent League. As Dick Vitale would say, "Awesome, Baby"!
Top draftee Hochevar was with Fort Worth in the American Association early last season and Stocker, a speedburner, played for Long Island, NY in the Atlatic League one year ago. Stocker was in the top five in five different offensive categories while playing for the Ducks after five years in the Kansas City farm system in which he did not climb above Class AA.
The duo are among five Indy players added to major league rosters so far this month.
INDEPENDENT PLAYER BREAKS CLAY BUCHHOLZ'S NO-HIT STREAK
It probably went largely unnoticed the way Boston's 7-6 win played out in Baltimore Thursday night, but the player who broke rookie Clay Buchholz's no-hit skein was the O's Tike Redman, who played in the Atlantic League (York, PA) for a short time this season. Buchholz threw the no-no last Saturday against the Orioles in Fenway Park, in only his second major league start
With the Red Sox pretty well stocked with starters, his first appearance since that time was out of the bullpen in the sixth inning of a 6-6 game. After Brian Roberts walked, Redman hit a clean single to halt the strike of no-hit innings. It was the only hit the young phenom allowed in his three innings, and when Boston scored in the top of the ninth his record was pushed to 3-0.
As an aside, this inquisitive mind can't help but wonder how long it has been since a no-hit hurler did not make his next appearance in another starting role. I hope we get that answer.
Redman also was a main culprit in ending Tim Wakefield's run of 22 scoreless innings when he singled, stole second (his third of the season) and came home on Miguel Tejada's single in the first inning. Redman would seem to be getting a full head of steam up for 2008 since he hit in the No. 2 slot, played centerfield and went 3-for-5 to elevate his batting average to .357.
MAJOR LEAGUE RECALL HELPS NORTHERN LEAGUER
When Milwaukee picked up catcher Mike Rivera's contract from Nashville to give the parent Brewers a backup, the moved also helped a second Independent player. Milwaukee promptly signed Brian Munhall from Edmonton of the Northern League to replace Rivera for the Pacific Coast League playoffs. Munhall, who hit .261 in 85 NL games and drove in 38 runs, caught Thursday night (0-for-3) when Nashville dropped its second straight in the best-of-five set against New Orleans.
His batterymate, ironically, was another former Independent player, the Golden League's Adam Pettyjohn, who went 12-4 (3.87) in the regular season. Pettyjohn had played in the GBL for Long Beach, CA.
Rivera played his Independent Baseball for Atlantic City, NJ before the Surf left the Atlantic League for the Can-Am.
Yes, Independent players seem to pop up everywhere. And, we like it.
Friday, September 07, 2007
AN IMPRESSIVE 112 INDEPENDENT PLAYERS HAVE MADE IT TO MAJORS
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.