It is Labor Day, but how can it possibly be labor when I am writing about baseball, right? Anyway, a few Independent Baseball thoughts today.
How disappointing to read that Kansas City released southpaw Bobby Madritsch, one of the bright lights from the Indy game. I haven't researched it thoroughly to this point, but they must have given up because of the shoulder woes which have had him sidelined for virtually two full seasons. Even if it should be the end, it was quite a ride for the 30-year-old who still calls his birthplace of Oak Lawn, IL home.
He was Cincinnati's sixth rounder in '98, but they cut him loose after three seasons, including 1999 when he was injured. The Independent trail through the Texas-Louisiana League (Rio Grande and San Angelo), Western League (Chico) and Northern League (Winnipeg) finally led to the Seattle Mariners chain after an 11-4, 2.30 campaign with Winnipeg in '02. By midway through 2004 he was with the American League Mariners, and soon after in their starting rotation. If he doesn't make it to the mound again no one will ever be able to take away the fact he has a 6-4 major league record and gave up a stingy 78 hits in 92.1 innings.
When I wrote in last week's Independent Baseball Insider
about the former Independent catchers making an impact in the major leagues, I had one of those terrible boo-boos. I focused on the Giants' Eliezer Alfonzo, Chris Coste at Philadelphia and Chris Widger at Baltimore, but left out Milwaukee's Mike Rivera, who was signed from Atlantic City in the Atlantic League last season. It was especially embarrassing in that I had written about Rivera earlier this summer. The Brewers' Brad Del Barba, who had signed Rivera, pointed out my oversight. Rivera has been a solid contributor (.269-3-12) the second half of the season for Milwaukee.
Lloyd Johnson, who along with Miles Wolff is editing the next edition of the Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, contributed some details about that 20-game losing streak suffered recently by the Can-Am League's Sussex, NJ team. The Skyhawks shouldn't feel too bad in that 13 previous minor league teams had longer streaks. Muskogee in the Southwestern League is the champ, if you want to call it that. Muskogee lost 38 in a row in 1923. And how about Granite Falls of the Western Carolina league in 1951? It lost 59 of its last 60, with streaks of 33 and 26. Ugh!
Johnson tells us they hope to have the new Encyclopedia out by Christmas. The current volume you can purchase now through this blog.
And, one final note that hits home with this writer. When the American Association starts its championship series Monday, it will be between St. Paul and Fort Worth. The Saints are managed by George Tsamis and the Cats by Stan Hough. I was President of the Independent team in Waterbury, CT, which played in the Northeast League from 1997-2000. Who managed those Spirit teams: Hough 1997-98 and Tsamis 1999-2000. A little piece of trivia for this Labor Day.
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