This is a little later than it might have been, but let me say Independent Baseball should tip its fedora to Pat Gillick for his election to the Hall of Fame. Gillick was one who seemed to embrace the Indy game from the beginning when some of his major league brethren were not so certain.
Gillick's closest association, he confirmed at the Winter Meetings last week, has been with Winnipeg Owner Sam Katz. I cannot help but wonder if that relationship had something to do with Seattle purchasing pitchers George Sherrill and Bobby Madritsch back in 2003 when Gillick was general manager of the Mariners.
Both made the majors, and Sherrill, who started his pro journey in the Frontier League in 1999, ranks as one of the very best to climb all the way to the top from a start in an Indy circuit. His last five full seasons have been in the major leagues, with Atlanta the latest to obtain the free agent's services (for 2011). Sherrill hurled in Evansville, IN for two years, then spent 2001 in Sioux Falls, SD and a season and a half with Winnipeg before ever getting a shot with a major league organization. Winnipeg and Sioux Falls, originally Northern League teams, now are part of the American Association.
PENSACOLA TO DOUBLE-A?
We hope to sort it out more before Thursday's Independent Baseball Insider column, but if Pensacola, FL does go dark next season while preparing to launch a Double-A franchise in its new stadium in 2012, as is being rumored, that move likely would get the American Association back to an even number of teams instead of fielding a very awkward 15 next season.
Monday, December 13, 2010
HALL OF FAMER GILLICK'S LINK TO THE INDEPENDENT GAME
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.