Friday, February 27, 2015

If the Boys can't win this year I want ........to win

Look I love the Birds-but if they are unable to take the series this year I want the Bucs to win, there I said it. I could make a smart arse comment about the Cubies-but I am not. I say the Bucs for a few reasons. One, it would make Matt over at Bob Walk the Plank very happy indeed. It could be because in my life I have probably spent at least month in the 'burgh. It could be that I have had several craft beers at Penn Brewing and Church Brew Works, or endless pierogi here and there, or huge sandwiches at Primates, or incredible hot dogs at the place across from Carnegie Mellon, or driving across the Clemente Bridge. But really it is because I love Andrew McCutchen, no not in a way I love my wife, but like a fat kid loves cake. He recently wrote an essay on the challenges of keeping lower class kids in baseball Left Out and his experiences with growing up without the opportunities many of us take for granted. If I can only pull a 'cutch auto-Matt you better claim the Bucs from Chris' Heritage Break of I will.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Where are they now namesake edition.



This is a namesake edition of whatever happened to... This post’s subject is Brady John Raggio. Like him already, this Brady was born in LA on 9/17/72. He attended San Ramon High School in Danville, CA (Bay Area) and then Chabot Community College in Hayward, CA. He was drafted by the Redbirds as a right-handed 6’4” 210lb pitcher in the 20th round of the 1992 Amateur Draft. He signed with the Birds on June 23, 1992 and made his MLB debut on April 15, 1997. Brady’s final game was July 12, 2003 with the Diamondbacks.

Brady started off with the Cards in the Arizona League in 1992 and worked his way up the through the system until 1997 when he made his debut against the Marlins and pitched 5.1 innings allowing 5 hits, 3 earned runs, 3 Ks, 3 walks on the way to his first win. In 1997 he would go 1 and 2 with an ERA of 6.89 over 15 games. In 1998 with the big team over 4 games he went 1 and 1 with an ERA of 15.43. Brady was released by the birds on December 14, 1998 and signed with the Rangers January 3, 1999.  Brady was granted free agency October 15, 1999 and headed to Japan to play with the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks from 2000-2002. After the Hawks Brady signed with the D’backs in 2003 and over 10 games in that year he went 0 and 0 with an ERA of 6.48. Granted free agency in October of 2004 he signed with the Phillies August 2005 but was released October of that same year.

I can’t find too much out about Brady after his playing career but Wiki says he went into the oil business then he worked for the PCL D’Backs Triple-A Reno Aces in sales. A quick Google search shows that Brady started a organization called Battle Born Prep which “At Battle Born Preps it’s our mission to unite communities in northern Nevada by bringing the achievements of high school athletes and athletic programs to the forefront. We will work to create successful, mutually beneficial partnerships with local businesses and organizations that seed the growth of high school athletics in northern Nevada.”



Saturday, February 21, 2015

Skinny Yadi

As the days click by and pitchers and catchers get underway I would be remiss if I didn't mention Yadi's weight loss-dude has no junk in his trunk! Says he lost 10-15 lbs. Seems like more to me.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

MLB St. Louisian Bill Mueller

This edition of MLB St. Louisian has a West Cost vibe to it. The subject of this post is Bill Mueller. Bill was born in Maryland Heights, Missouri on 3/7/1971. He attended the all boy DeSmet Jesuit High School then the “notorious” party school Southwest Missouri State University and was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 15th round of the 1993 MLB Draft. Bill was a switch hitting right handed third baseman.
In 1993 Bill made his pro debut with the Giants’ low A team the Everett Giants. Eventually he would reach the big club and made his debut as a pinch hitter on April 18, 1996 against the Cubs. The following day he would have his first big league hit as pinch hitter. Bill would play as a regular with the Giants for the next five seasons. However, he was traded to the Cubs for pitcher Tim Worrell, Cardinals’ legend Todd’s younger brother, prior to the beginning of the 2001 season. However, the stop in Chi-town would be short as the following year he was traded back to the Giants for another pitcher.
WTF?

He signed with the Red Sox as a free agent in 2003 and it would be with his new team that he and the Red Sox would take on his childhood team in the 2004 World Series. The bummer for me is the Redbirds were very very good that year-and went 105 and 57 only to get swept by the Sox. Other than the 1985 Series this one is the most disappointing for me as a Cards’ fan. Bill had a remarkable first year with the Sox as he won the AL batting title with a .326 average and he also had 45 doubles and 19 home runs


In 2006 Bill would sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers but his knee was giving him trouble and he lasted just 32 games which would prove to be his last. Following his injury, he was named Special Assistant to the GM of the Dodgers-funny how many ex-players are named a Special Assistant to the GM? He later became interim hitting coach with the Dodgers in June 2007 after Eddie Murray was fired.  He would remain hitting coach for the year then would head back to the front office to be a Special Assistant to the GM again. He would eventually become hitting coach with the Cubs in 2013 but within a year he would resign.  On November 17, 2014 the Cardinals named Bill Assistant Hitting Coach.
For his career Bill had a .291 batting average, 85 home runs, and 494 RBIs.

Friday, February 13, 2015

What ever happend to... Chance Caple



Chance Caple is the subject of this edition of “What ever happened to…” Chance was born in Plano, TX on August 9, 1978 and attended Texas A&M University. Chance was chosen by the Padres in the 1996 June Amateur Draft while in high school. However, he was drafted again by the Birds in the 1st round (30th overall) of the 1999 June Amateur Draft while at A&M.
Chance was a 240 lb 6’6” righty hurler. Chance started with the NY Penn League New Jersey Cardinals in 1999.  With the NJ Cards (A-) he went 0-4 in 7 starts with an ERA of 4.38, 36 Ks, 35 hits, 18 Earned Runs, and 18 Walks. In 2000 he was promoted to the A+ Potomac Birds, and then he missed the entire 2001 season due to an injury. In 2002 he was sent to Peoria Chiefs (A) and finished his Cardinals career with the Palm Beach (A+) club in 2004.
In his 5 years in the Cardinals’ system his record stood at 11 wins, 20 loses, winning % of .355, 4.36 ERA, 139 earned runs, and 136 walks in 57 games and 287 innings. I assume he was released because of this performance. The only post-Cardinals information I can gather on Chance is that he went to University of North Texas from 2004-2006 and majored in finance then becoming a pharmaceutical rep for various companies and according to his Linked in profile he is Strategic Client Executive at Cerner Corporation in Dallas (where I will be soon). So it looks like he went on to become very successful.  I have many of his cards and now know where he is. Who knows if he Googles himself he may come across this.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My First 2015 Topps

In honor of pitchers and catchers reporting to camp one week from today and even though I am waiting for the results of Chris' (Nachos Grande) group break and I will be buying my own jumbo box I couldn't resist picking up my first packs of 2015 Topps. So what did I get out of the hanger box and when did they go to one giant pack of cards? I like busting packs. First up the Redbirds; Waino, Marp, and Mack and the Man.


Now the inserts; Free Agent 40 Pujols, Archetypes the Babe, First Home Runs Robinson Cano and Anthony Rizzo, and the 1960 Debate.







Now the the "hit"and future possession of Mr. Fuji-a Yu Darvish Photo Variation-oddly enough I pulled one of his last year.

I really enjoy and appreciate this years Topps' flagship edition even though I find it a bit busy. I also think the Athletics and the Rockies with their color scheme really benefit from this particular design. 

MLB St.Louisian Dick Williams


This long delayed and I hope much anticipated edition of MLB Players from the STL is dedicated to St. Louisian and long time player/manager Dick Williams.

Richard Hirschfeld "Dick" Williams was born in STL on May 7, 1929 and grew up there and Pasadena-two fine cities I must say. Dick was signed to his first pro contract with the then Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 but didn’t get into his first game in the majors until 1951. Because of a shoulder injury he learned to play several different positions but was most often at first or third base. Over 13 seasons with the Dodgers, Orioles, Indians, KC A’s, and the Red sox he played in 1,023 games, had 2,959 Abs, scored 358 runs, had 768 hits, 70 home runs, 331 RBIs, 227 Walks, 392 Ks, career .260 average, .312 OBP%, and a slugging % of .392. Let us say he wasn’t known for his play but for his managerial legacy from 1967-1969, and 1971-1988. During this time his teams won three AL pennants, one NL pennant, and two World Series.


In 1967 he began managing the Red Sox and would bring the Sox to faced my Redbirds in the 1967 World Series, the first WS during my lifetime-granted I was three months old, where Bob Gibson won three times and continued “the curse”. In 1968 the Sox landed in 4th place and at the end of the ’69 season he was fired. From the Sox he went on to manage the Oakland A’s to two Word Series in 1972 and 1973. Upset with some issues with the owner he resigned after the ’73 season and was hired by the Yankees to manage but he “owed” the A’s another year and the Yankees hired former Redbird Bill Virdon instead.
Next up for Dick was the CA Angels where things didn’t go so well and the last place Halos never really took to him and his managerial style so he was fired on my birthday, July 22, 1976. A story about his time there is which a hoot is that he once had his team conduct batting practice with only wiffle balls and bats in their hotel to show them how weak they were and couldn’t even hit the ball out of the lobby. That is humiliating but absolutely funny. In 1977 he went over the NL and managed the Expos. He helped turn around an awful 107 loss team into a contender and could have went far but for the two powerhouses of the Keystone State-Pennsylvania in 1979 and 1980. In 1981 he was fired again after the team began to falter-and again his managerial style was an issue.


Back to Southern California he headed in 1982 when he began the Padres manager. He led the Padres of the Cubbies into the World Series where they would loose to the Tigers. He would stay in San Diego until just before the 1986 season when he was fired. Dick was brought in has a replacement manager by the Mariners in the first part of the 1986 season only to be replaced by the Mariners in June of 1988. Following this tenure with the Mariners he would coach in the Senior League and the minors but never again in the bigs. His managerial record over 21 seasons was 1571 wins and 1451 loses with a winning percentage of .520. He won 4 Pennants and 2 World Series Titles in those 21 season.


Dick was inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 27, 2008. Dick died of a ruptured aortic aneurysm at a hospital near his home in Henderson, Nevada on July 7, 2011.