Saturday, April 17, 2010

Former Major Leaguers in the Minors

Minor League Baseball games are a great place to catch some former Major Leaguers taking on new roles as managers or players. Due to the size of Minor League parks, you can really get a close-up view of these former stars.

Last year, I went to a Williamsport Crosscutters game when they were playing the Mahoning Valley Scrappers and sat about a foot away from former Detroit Tiger star, Travis Fryman. Fryman and his bench coach sat in two plastic chairs outside their dugout, while I was seated in the front row on the stands. I could basically hear their conversation. Pretty cool! I also saw former New York Met and Hall of Fame Catcher, Gary Carter manage the Orange County Flyers in California.

Here are some of the former Major Leaguers who are now in the Minors with either affiliated teams or independent teams......

In the independent leagues, you'll find quite a few former MLB greats. Head on down to Campbell's Field in Camden, NJ and you'll see former Philadelphia Phillie, Von Hayes managing the Riversharks. Hayes spent 9 years with the Phillies and was a member of the National League All-Star team in 1989.

Take a trip out to Lancaster, PA and you'll be able to see the Lancaster Barnstormers skipper, Tom Herr. Herr spent 9 years with the St. Louis Cardinals and was a 1985 All-Star. Former St. Louis Cardinal pitcher, Danny Cox is the pitching coach. Tom Herr's son, Aaron Herr is also on the team. Former Minnesota Twins Star, Gary Gaetti's son, Joe Gaetti is also on the team.
If you venture out to Somerset, NJ, you'll find three people of interest. Former New York Yankee, Sparky Lyle manages the Patriots. Also, Jeff Nettles is a player on the team (Former Yankee, Graig Nettles' son). Lyle was the 1977 Cy Young Award winner who spent 6 years with the Yankees. Lyle has managed the Patriots since 1998 and is the only manager they have had. Jeff Nettles played in the minors but never got the call to the big leagues. Tim Raines, Jr. also plays for the Patriots.

Tim Raines, the former Montreal Expos standout is the current manager of the Newark Bears in Newark, NJ. Raines was a 7 time All-Star. Former Chicago White Sox catcher, Ron Karkovice is the hitting coach for the Bears. Karkovice spent 11 years with the White Sox. Former MLB players, Edgardo Alfonzo, Scott Spiezio, Armando Benitez, and Willie Banks are on the Bears roster this year.

If you're willing to battle the traffic out to Long Island, you'll find three familiar faces. Dave LaPoint (played for the Yankees in '89 and '90) is manager of the Long Island Ducks. Bud Harrelson, former manager of the New York Mets, is the first base coach for the Ducks and Kevin Baez (former New York Met) is the infield Coach. You might even see Sidney Ponson (played for the Yankees in 2006 and 2008) on the mound for the ducks. Robinson Cancel who also played in the majors is a catcher on the Ducks.

If you survived the drive to Long Island then you might as well head up to Brooklyn and catch former New York Met second basemen, Wally Backman as the skipper of the Brooklyn Cyclones.

Some other notable former Major Leaguers in the Minors:

Cory Snyder- Manager of the Na Koa Ikaika Maui (The Strong Warriors of Maui), former Cleveland Indian.
Rich Gedman- Manager of the Worcester Tornadoes, former Boston Red Sox Catcher
Butch Hobson- Manager of the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, played for the Boston Red for 5 years.
Travis Fryman- Manager of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, former Detroit Tiger and 5 time All-Star.
Ken Oberkfell- Manager of the Buffalo Bisons, former MLB 3rd basemen.
Chris Chambliss- Manager of the Charlotte Knights, former New York Yankees player and bench coach.
Butch Wynegar- Bench coach of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, former New York Yankees catcher in the 80's.
Larry Parrish – Manager of the Toledo Mud Hens, former Major Leaguer
Randall Simon- Rockford Riverhawks, played in the Majors for 9 seasons. Best known for hitting the Milwaukee Brewer's Sausage in the "Sausage Race" with a baseball bat. He was fined and charged with disorderly conduct.
Hal Lanier- Manager of the Normal CornBelters, former Houston Astros manager.
Tim Wallach- Manager of the Alburquerque Isotopes, former Montreal Expo for 12 years. Wallach was a 5 time All-Star selection.