It should be a well-above-average trivia question.
Name the three Tampa pitchers who came from the same high school (Hillsborough), played together on two youth teams in national championships (Little League World Series and Senior League World Series) and made it to the major leagues?
I was reminded of this unusual feat while interviewing new Los Angeles Dodgers Pro Scouting Director Vance Lovelace for this week's subscriber-driven Independent Baseball Insider column. Lovelace, the No. 1 draft choice of the Chicago Cubs in 1981, was one of them, of course. The other two, Hillsborough grads a year later and ultimately more successful as major league players, were Dwight Gooden and Floyd Youmans, with the latter ironically giving Lovelace a chance to extend his career at the end. Youmans was pitching coach for the Catskill (NY) Cougars of the Northeast League. That move got Lovelace back into the game in the U.S., he moved on to pitch and be pitching coach for the New Jersey Jackals, now in the Can-Am League, then started scouting in the Dodgers system in 2001.
"Inconsistency" was Lovelace's pro pitching legacy, he admits, which limited him to nine games between California and Seattle in his brief major league playing career. Still, he was an important part of a trade in which third baseman Ron Cey moved from the Dodgers to the Cubs.
Lovelace laughed when I reminded him of the only home run he hit in 18 pro seasons. It came in his final season of 1998. "It was in Adirondack (Glens Falls, NY, Northeast League)," he said instantly. "I got all of it", with the ball going out in dead center. "I always swung hard," he joked.
PITTSFIELD HEADED TO CAN-AM LEAGUE
Pittsfield, MA, with ancient but updated (by more than $1 million) Wahconah Park, appears to be the sixth team for the Can-Am League in 2010.
A preliminary okay has been given by league directors, and it would not seem formal approval from the Berkshires community should be more than a formality in January since onetime Boston Red Sox General Manager Dan Duquette, who would be part of the ownership group, and his partners already had a lease to use the stadium for their New England Collegiate Baseball League team. In effect, Chairman Buddy Lewis and Duquette will be moving their previous Can-Am team from Nashua, NH to Pittsfield. Wahconah last hosted professional baseball in '03.