Winter Wonderland: Caribbean Series, Day Two


Jesus Flores hit a two-run homer in a three-run second that put Mexico up 3-0.  It was 4-1 through seven, when David Vidal hit a two-run homer to cut the margin to 4-3.  Puerto Rico did not get the tying run past first base.  Eddie Rosario was 0-for-4 with a walk for Puerto Rico.  Omar Bencomo struck out six in five innings for Venezuela, giving up one run on four hits and two walks.


Jason Bourgeois hit a two-run triple in the fifth to give Mexico a 3-2 lead and C. J. Retherford hit a two-run homer in a three-run seventh that put the game out of reach.  Hector Velazquez struck out seven in five innings for Mexico, giving up two runs on four hits and three walks.  Chris Roberson was 4-for-5 with two runs and an RBI for Mexico.  Bourgeois was 3-for-4 with two triples, scoring once and driving in two for Mexico.


Mexico, 2-0
Cuba, 1-0
Venezuela, 1-0
Dominican Republic, 0-2
Puerto Rico, 0-2


Puerto Rico v. Cuba
Venezuela v. Mexico

1987 Rewind: Game One Hundred Twenty-three


Date:  Thursday, August 20.

Batting stars:  Steve Lombardozzi was 2-for-3.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4.  Roy Smalley was 1-for-3 with a walk.

Pitching star:  George Frazier pitched two shutout innings, giving up only a walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Doyle Alexander pitched eight shutout innings, giving up five hits and two walks with four strikeouts.  Pat Sheridan was 3-for-5 with a home run (his sixth), a double, and a stolen bases (his thirteenth), scoring twice and driving in two.  Chet Lemon was 1-for-2 with a double, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch, scoring once and driving in two.

The game:  The Tigers scored single runs in the first and third and took control in the fourth, when they scored four times.  Jim Morrison had an RBI single, Lemon hit a two-run double, and Sheridan drove in one with a single.  The closest the Twins came to scoring was in the eighth, when singles by Lombardozzi and Dan Gladden put men on first and third with one out.  Greg Gagne was caught looking and Kirby Puckett lined to center to end the threat.

Of note:  Puckett raised his average to .313...Twins starter Joe Niekro, back from his suspension, lasted only 3.1 innings, allowing six runs on seven hits and a walk with three strikeouts...The Tigers swept the three-game series between division leaders, winning each game by a big score.  This was probably one of the reasons Detroit was made the prohibitive favorite when the two teams met in the Division series.

Record:  The Twins were 66-57, in first place by four games over Oakland.

Player profile:  Perhaps the second most important Jim Morrison in history, this one played in the majors for parts of twelve seasons.  He was born in Pensacola, Florida, attended South Georgia College and Georgia Southern University, and was drafted by Philadelphia in the fifth round in 1974.  He reached AAA in 1976.  From 1976-79 he hit .295/.366/.475 in AAA but played in only 58 games for the Phillies and got just 115 at-bats.  His problem, of course, was that his primary position was third base, and Philadelphia had a guy named Mike Schmidt playing there.  No matter what Morrison did he wasn't going to beat out Mike Schmidt, so in July of 1979 the Phils sent him to the White Sox.  He played both second and third for the White Sox for the remainder of the season, then moved to second for the entire 1980 season.  It was his first season as a regular and he made the most of it, batting .283/.329/.424 and playing in all 162 games.  One suspects the White Sox found him defensively challenged at second, though, because they moved him back to third in 1981.  He had a poor year offensively and was traded to Pittsburgh the following June.  He was a reserve for the Pirates through 1985, playing mostly third base behind Bill Madlock.  In 1986, though, Madlock was gone and Morrison became the regular more-or-less by default.  It was really only the second time he'd been given a chance as a regular and he again made the most of it, batting .274/.334/.482 with a career-high twenty-three home runs.  He again couldn't sustain it, although he wasn't doing too badly when he was traded to Detroit on August 7 of 1987.  He didn't do much for the Tigers that season and did even less in 1988, getting released in early June.  He signed with the Braves and stayed there the rest of the season, but that ended his playing career.  He is currently the manager of the GCL Rays.  For his career he hit .260/.305/.419--not awful, but not great.  He played in over a thousand major league games, though, and played in the post-season twice.  All in all, not such a bad career.

Happy Birthday–February 3

Lou Criger (1872)
Slim Sallee (1885)
Larry MacPhail (1890)
Joe Stripp (1903)
Buck Ross (1915)
Dick Tracewski (1935)
Joe Coleman (1947)
Bake McBride (1949)
Fred Lynn (1952)
Ronald Williamson (1953)
Fred Toliver (1961)
Joe Klink (1962)
Scott Klingenbeck (1971)
Skip Schumaker (1980)
B. J. Garbe (1981)

Larry MacPhail was the general manager of Cincinnati (1933-36) and Brooklyn (1938-42) and was president and part-owner of the Yankees (1946-47).  His son Lee MacPhail was president of the American League and his grandson Andy MacPhail was the general manager of the Twins (1985-94) and the president of the Cubs (2000-02) and the Orioles (2007-present).

Ronald Williamson was a catcher in the Oakland organization from 1971-1973.  In 1988, he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death.  He was cleared in 1999 through DNA testing and became the subject of John Grisham’s first non-fiction book, “The Innocent Man.”  Williamson passed away from cirrhosis in 2004.

Outfielder B. J. Garbe was chosen by the Twins with the fifth pick of the 1999 draft.  He was with the Twins through 2004, ended his career in 2006, and never got higher than AA.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–February 3

Winter Wonderland: Caribbean Series, Day One


Roel Santos tripled and scored in the first and had a two-run double in a three-run fifth.  Lazaro Blanco struck out six in 6.1 scoreless innings for Cuba.


There was no score until the seventh, when David Vidal homered to put Puerto Rico up 1-0.  Mexico responded with three in the seventh, with two coming on a Chris Roberson homer.  Each team scored once in the eighth, with Ivan De Jesus, Jr. hitting a home run for Puerto Rico and Yuniesky Betancourt homering for Mexico.  Daniel Rodriguez pitched six shutout innings for Mexico, giving up one hit and two walks with four strikeouts.  Eddie Rosario was 0-for-3 for Puerto Rico.


Cuba, 1-0
Mexico, 1-0
Venezuela, 0-0
Dominican Republic, 0-1
Puerto Rico, 0-1


Venezuela v. Puerto Rico
Mexico v. Dominican Republic

1987 Rewind: Game One Hundred Twenty-two


Date:  Wednesday, August 19.

Batting stars:  Steve Lombardozzi was 2-for-2 with a home run (his sixth) and a walk.  Randy Bush was 2-for-4.  Tim Laudner was 1-for-3 with a double.

Pitching stars:  Dan Schatzeder struck out four in 2.2 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk.  George Frazier pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Walt Terrell pitched a complete game, giving up one run on six hits and two walks with four strikeouts.  Pat Sheridan was 2-for-4 with a double and a stolen base (his twelfth), scoring once and driving in three.  Johnny Grubb was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs.

The game:  With a man on first and two out in the second, the Tigers went single, double, single, double, producing four runs and a 4-0 lead.  Lombardozzi homered leading off the third, but that was as good as it got.  The Tigers scored two in the fourth and one in the fifth to put the game out of reach.

Of note:  Bush was again leading off and in right field, with Tom Brunansky in left and Dan Gladden out of the lineup...Gene Larkin was the DH...Kirby Puckett was 0-for-4, dropping his average to .312...Laudner raised his average to .201, the first time he was over .500 since July 24...Twins starter Bert Blyleven lasted only 4.1 innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits and two walks with two strikeouts.  He left a pitch up to Darrell Evans in the fourth and to Kirk Gibson in the fifth.  The solo home runs didn't hurt him, because the game was pretty much gone by then...This was the second straight game where the only Twins runs came on solo home runs.

Record:  The Twins were 66-56, in first place, four games ahead of Oakland.

Player profile:  You know how we have players that we just kind of take a liking to for no particular reason?  Catcher Matt Nokes was one of those players for me.  He was born and raised in San Diego and was drafted by the Giants in the twentieth round in 1981.  He spent two years in Class A and two more in AA, got a September call-up in 1985, was in AAA for most of 1986, getting another September call-up, and finally was in the big leagues to stay in 1987.  He was no longer a Giant by then, obviously, having been traded to Detroit after the 1985 season in a trade that included Juan Berenguer.  He was their mostly-regular catcher in 1987-88, sharing the position with Mike Heath.  He was very good in 1987, batting .289/.345/.536 with thirty-two homers.  He made the all-star team that year, won a Silver Slugger award, and finished third in Rookie of the Year voting behind Mark McGwire and Kevin Seitzer.  When you look at Nokes' career, that season sticks out like a sore thumb--he never came anywhere close to his .880 OPS in any season other than 1994, when he had only 79 at-bats.  In 1989 he lost the catching job to Heath, and by June of 1990 he'd been traded to the Yankees.  He was the Yankees regular catcher in 1991-92 and did provide some power for them, hitting a total of 46 home runs in those two seasons.  It wasn't enough, though, and in 1993 he lost the job to Mike Stanley.  He was injured much of 1994, played briefly for Baltimore in 1995 and for Colorado in 1996.  That was the end of his big league career, but he played in independent ball through 2002.  He never lived up to the promise of his rookie season, but he hit .254/.308/.441 with 136 home runs.  He now has a website,, which gives advice on both the physical and mental aspects of baseball.

Happy Birthday–February 2

Orval Overall (1881)
George Halas (1895)
Willie Kamm (1900)
Wes Ferrell (1908)
Red Schoendienst (1923)
George Toma (1929)
Don Buford (1937)
Max Alvis (1938)
Dale Murray (1950)
John Tudor (1954)
Pat Tabler (1958)
Buddy Biancalana (1960)
Scott Erickson (1968)
Melvin Mora (1972)
Adam Everett (1977)
Ronny Cedeno (1983)
Jason Vargas (1983)
Logan Darnell (1989)

Better known as a football coach, George Halas was an outfielder and played in 12 games for the Yankees in 1919.

Groundskeeper George Toma is a charter member of the Groundskeepers' Hall of Fame.  It is to be hoped that he will eventually be a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame as well.

We would also like to wish a very happy birthday to meat and to Mama SoCal.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–February 2