Archive for January, 2012

Happy Birthday Juan Richardson

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Today is Juan Richardson’s birthday.

Who’s that, you ask?

Richardson, who turns 33 today, was the third baseman on the first-ever BlueClaws team. That 2001 team was managed by Greg Legg, current BlueClaws hitting coach.

Richardson had played in this league (South Atlantic League) in 2000 but with Piedmont (now Kannapolis) before the Phillies moved their affiliation from down in North Carolina to up here at the Jersey Shore.

That first season, Richardson hit 22 home runs, the BlueClaws single-season and franchise records, and drove in 83 runs. The 22 home runs stood alone until this year, when Jim Murphy hit 22 of his own to tie the single-season mark and, combined with the 14 he hit in 2009, Murphy passed Richardson’s all-time home run total.

Richardson played five years of Double-A ball, two with Reading, two in the Cardinals system and one (2008) in the Royals system. He has spent the last three years in independent leagues, this year with Wichita in the American Association where he hit .360 with 12 home runs in 98 games.

Richardson will always hold a place in BlueClaws history, and his 22 home runs are still the most ever hit by a BlueClaw in a single season (now tied with Murphy).

Happy Birthday to Juan Richardson.

Good Luck to Jack Morris

Monday, January 9th, 2012

jackmorris2Jack Morris is one of several players up on the 2012 Hall of Fame ballot. The class will be unveiled at 2 pm (watch on MLB.com) and we are rooting for Morris, who signed autographs at a BlueClaws game in July.

Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune has a good article here, summing up Morris’ chances.

When Morris’ vote total climbed from 44.0 percent to 52.3 percent in 2010, that was an important step. Since the BBWAA held its first Hall of Fame vote in 1936, the only player to receive at least 50 percent of their vote and not eventually reach the Hall of Fame is Gil Hodges.

While that sounds positive,

“Really, looking at (Morris’) case right now, I don’t see any way the BBWAA ever puts him in,” said Chris Jaffe, a history instructor who has done extensive research on the annual voting and publishes his findings at HardballTimes.com. “Under normal circumstances, I think Morris would have a good shot. He’s around where Blyleven was after 12 or 13 years, but the problem for Morris is, Blyleven had a couple fairly weak incoming classes when he got to that point, and next year …”

Next year won’t be anything like this year, when Bernie Williams was the only newcomer on the ballot (with apologies to Brad Radke and Ruben Sierra) who figures to receive enough votes — 5 percent or more — to remain eligible.

Next year, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio and Curt Schilling all crash the ballot. The arguments will be furious, with voters forced to confront all the performance enhancing drug allegations against Clemens, Bonds and Sosa, not to mention returnees such as Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro.

Jayson Stark of ESPN has Morris in on his ballot.

It wasn’t just misguided sportswriters who thought he had that ace aura. The whole sport thought he had it. There’s no other explanation for why this man was chosen to start three All-Star Games, or why he started on Opening Day 14 years in a row, or why his manager handed him the ball in Game 1 of six of the seven postseason series he participated in — with three different teams.

Previous BlueClaws autograph signers in the Hall of Fame include Bob Feller, Steve Carlton, Goose Gossage, Jim Rice, and Andre Dawson.

3:10 pm: Barry Larkin was the lone inductee – but Jack Morris jumped up to 67%, putting him within 8 points of election, and two years to make up the ground. Congrats to Larkin, whose election was well deserved.

Hyatt, Rosenberg Among Non-Roster Invitees

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

bjrosnbergblogAustin Hyatt and BJ Rosenberg, both members of the 2009 BlueClaws, will head to spring training this year as non-roster invitees.

Both spent this year with AA Reading, where Hyatt went 12-6, 3.85 as a starter and Rosenberg went 5-7, 4.28 split between the bullpen and the starting rotation.

They were never formally teammates with Lakewood, as Rosenberg, who was drafted in the 13th round in 2008 from Louisville, was promoted (straight to Reading) in early August. He did not allow an earned run after Memorial Day (28.2 consecutive innings). He was also a non-roster invitee last year.

Hyatt, who was drafted that year from Alabama in the 15th round, joined Lakewood for the final five regular season games (he appeared in just one) and the playoffs. That post-season, he appeared in four games (four of the five BlueClaws wins) and threw six shutout innings.

Todd Zolecki of Phillies.com has the rest of the 15 non-roster invitees announced in November:

Right-handers Dave Bush, Scott Elarton and Brian Sanches; left-handers David Purcey, Pat Misch and Raul Valdes; catchers Steven Lerud and Tuffy Gosewisch; infielders Pete Orr, Kevin Frandsen and Hector Luna; and outfielders Scott Podsednik and Luis Montanez.

Gosewisch, of course, is another former BlueClaw, who was here in 2007. He hit .247 with 13 HRs and 66 RBIs this year with Reading.

Best of luck to those players.

By the way, Opening Day in Lakewood is just 98 days away and assuming a Valentine’s Day report date, you’re looking at just 40 days until pitchers and catchers (I say this as we got our first snow dusting here at the Shore this morning).