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Archive for January, 2013
Each week leading up to the 2013 South Atlantic League All-Star Game at FirstEnergy Park, we’ll look back at one of the game’s alumni. This feature will run 20 weeks, as we are 20 weeks from the game, and include some outstanding players, perhaps none better than the one that we chose to start the feature with, Steve Carlton.
In 1964, Carlton pitched for the Rock Hill Cardinals and made 11 starts in the South Atlantic League (formerly the Western Carolinas League). He went 10-1 in those starts with a 1.03 ERA and was tabbed a league All-Star. In the same year, “Lefty” advanced to Double-A Tulsa and finished the season 15-6 with a 2.22 ERA with three different teams. In 1965, Carlton made 15 appearances with the St. Louis Cardinals, in just his second year as a professional baseball player.
In 1966, Carlton started in Triple-A Tulsa and made 19 starts before he was promoted to the MLB for good. He went on to play 24 seasons for six different teams, but it was his time with the Philadelphia Phillies (1972-1986) that earned him the most praise. While with the Phillies, Carlton won four Cy Young Awards and a World Series. Overall the southpaw was a 10-time All-Star, two-time World Series Champion, and a Gold Glove Award Winner.
He finished his career with 329 wins, a 3.22 ERA, and 4,136 strikeouts.
In 1994, Carlton was enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame, garnering 95.8% of the vote. The Phillies retired his number, 32, and honored him with a statue that stands outside Citizens Bank Park.
Winning the Triple Crown in any league is quite the task, so we’d like to congratulate 2010 BlueClaws IF Adam Buschini, who accomplished that feat in the Australian Baseball League while playing for the Canberra Calvary this winter.
Buschini hit .363 to win the batting title by 16 points over Mitch Dening (his BlueClaw teammate Jeremy Barnes finished 3rd at .343). Buschini’s 15 home runs were seven more than anyone else and his 50 RBIs were 18 more than anyone else.
He was a 4th round pick of the Phillies in 2009 out of Cal-Poly, and played with Lakewood in 2010. After being released by the Phillies, he spent 2011 with Chino in the North American Baseball League and 2012 with Amarillo of the American Association.
We hope Adam gets a chance to earn a spot on an affiliated roster this spring.
Below the fold, however, you can see 11-30. We’ve put their 2012 finishing level in parentheses. Many of those on this list could be BlueClaws in 2013.
As we mentioned in our previous post, we had some other comments from Jesse Biddle that didn’t quite make the story and wanted to share with you here.
On his off-season work…I’ve thrown a bullpen once a week for the last six or so weeks. I’m getting there. More and more game ready, closer to where I want to be, but I’m light years from where I need to be in May, June, July.
When he turned his season around in May (2012) – One of the things that happened was I started to throw a slider, which is something I was throwing in high school. That helped me with all my other pitches, and I felt a lot more comfortable with all my other pitches.
Ready for Double-A…Hopefully if the Phillies believe I’m ready for AA coming out of Spring Training and they put me there, the way it works is it seems they take the best hitters from Hi-A and put them in AA and you face the best of the best. I just have to really focus and bring my A-game every time and I can’t take a pitch off. Everyone says the biggest jump is from A ball to AA so it’s something that I’m really excited about, to see if you’re ready or not. We’ll see.
What he’s heard about Reading’s FirstEnergy Stadium…I’ve heard from pitchers that the wind blows out and the park isn’t very big, but the way I see it is if I keep the ball down and throw the pitches where I want, they can’t hit too many out. They’ll still have to get a hold of it to get it out. Unless I’m pitching against Darin Ruf, I can’t worry about it too much.
About Ruf and his major run last year (20 HRs in August), do the players on other teams in the system follow that and get into that?…We did. A guy hits 20 home runs in a month…that doesn’t happen very often. Especially for a guy like Ruf who you hear nothing but nice things about. For him to be able to ride that wave into the big leagues is a great opportunity and something that we were all rooting for.
Most interesting thing he did in the off-season…I just went to the inauguration. I had an amazing time there. One of my friends goes to George Washington and is in the ROTC program. He has a lot of connections and works on a few congressional campaigns, and got us some tickets. We were pretty close to the front. It was a great experience and something that I”ll remember for the rest of my life.
More on the inauguration…It’s not something you see every day. Watching on tv is great, but it’s nothing like in person. You can’t really understand having 800,000 people in the same area. The Phillies parade was a million people but it’s on a long stretch of Broad Street. So to have this many people crammed into one area is very overwhelming, but everyone was extremlely happy. You didn’t realize how cold you were.
Also from last night’s Winter Tour…
Jesse Biddle finished 2011 as a South Atlantic League Post-Season All-Star, and after a big season last year with Clearwater, he finished 2012 as the Phillies top prospect, at least in the eyes of Baseball America. The Philadelphia native was at the Phillies Minor League Week stop in Lakewood on Wednesday, and is anxious to get down to Clearwater for spring training.
“You try to enjoy your last couple of weeks in the off-season, but you have to make sure you’re in shape,” he said. “I’m enjoying time with my family and friends but I can’t stop picking up my glove. I can’t wait to have some hitters in the box and get ready for the season.”
Joe Jordan, the Phillies Director of Player Development, was impressed with Biddle’s year.
“No one had a better year, developmentally, than him,” said Jordan, who was also at Wednesday’s Winter Tour. “But when you get to know him and see him work, there are reasons why he’s successful.”
We’ll have a companion to this story in a little bit, which will be more long-form Biddle quotes on a variety of topics.
The plan today is to roll through a bunch of content and interviews that we did last night at the Phillies Winter Tour in Lakewood. That event started at 6, but Phillies manager Charlie Manuel came over earlier in the day to volunteer as part of Restore The Shore efforts.
“I really enjoyed meeting the people that are out there working and the people that are trying to clean up and still got quite a ways to go,” said Manuel.
He was pleased he was able to donate his time for service on the Shore, but Manuel added that attention needs to stay on the area and that there is still a greater need for aid.
“I really enjoyed it, but the biggest part about it was that they need help and I think that everybody in the United States knows that.”
“I’m glad I got to see that,” Manuel said Wednesday night at the Phillies Winter Tour at the Woodlake Country Club. “It kind of brings reality back to you, how bad and how quick things happened, and how destructive a storm like Sandy was.”
“We talked to them and also went around the whole area over there,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to believe and this is three months after it happened. They’ve been cleaning up ever since and there’s still a lot of work there. It’s unbelievable when you think about it. It’s every bit as bad as I heard it was.”
We will have interviews with Jesse Biddle, Joe Jordan, and more Manuel, this time on the upcoming season.
In 12 years of play, the BlueClaws have had 10 different field managers. Only Steve Roadcap (2007-2008) and PJ Forbes (2004-2005) have come back for multiple seasons (though Mickey Morandini will be added to that list this year). But in those 12 years, the BlueClaws have had only one General Manager, Geoff Brown.
That streak is ending, as Geoff accepted a position with Rutgers Athletics and will begin there on February 11th as the new Senior Associate Athletic Director/Chief Marketing Officer.
“This is a bittersweet day for me,” said Brown. “For 13 years, this has been my home and my second family. Leaving Lakewood and the BlueClaws was certainly a difficult decision, but the opportunity to work for Tim Pernetti [Rutgers Director of Intercollegiate Athletics] in this new position as they join the Big Ten was something that I could not pass up.”
He added: “I’d like to thank the hundreds of staff members we’ve had over the years that have put so much into the BlueClaws, and helped make the BlueClaws a special place,” he said. “I’d also like to thank the fans of Ocean and Monmouth Counties, who have been so supportive over the years.
“The people we work with and the fans that support the BlueClaws are what made this decision so difficult.”
Brown was the first employee hired by the BlueClaws and started with Lakewood in November of 1999, a full 17 months before the first game was played and five months before they broke ground on FirstEnergy Park.
The plan is to sit down with Geoff before he leaves for a podcast-style interview that features some reminiscing, but that will come in a few weeks.
Everyone here with the BlueClaws congratulates him and wishes him the very best with Rutgers.
The BlueClaws unveiled a program this morning on the main site through which we will honor one individual, group, or company, that has contributed to local Restore the Shore efforts.
“While Sandy did great damage all across our area, the positive response that came from the community and from grassroots organizations was overwhelming and inspiring,” said BlueClaws General Manager Geoff Brown. “This is our way of saying thank you to these individuals or groups that went out of their way to help those in need at such a difficult time.”
To apply, please return this order form to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once the season starts, we’ll be interviewing on the radio many of these honorees and we’ll be sure to share their stories and work with you here on this blog.
Yesterday, we went to the annual NJ Sportswriters Association luncheon up in Edison.
Steve Falk has a recap here of many of the Shore-area honorees.
The most touching moment of the luncheon, without question, was the standing ovation received by Manasquan High School football coach Jay Price, who was honored to represent Hurriacne Sandy First Responders.
His work was chronicled back in November here.
This was sent over to us by our buddy Todd a couple of days ago.
You may have heard of Billy Hamilton, the speedster in the Reds farm system that stole 155(!) bases last year.
Roman Quinn, who could well be the BlueClaws SS this year (and stole 30 to lead the NYPL last year), might be as fast, according to this Fangraphs post from Mike Newman of Scouting the SAL.
In a foot race, I’d place my money on Roman Quinn over any prospect not named Billy Hamilton. Heads up, it would be close — very close.
On the surface, comparisons to Billy Hamilton are difficult to ignore. Quinn is lightning quick, is considered to be suspect as a long term shortstop and is learning to hit from the left side to maximize his speed. The body type is different as Quinn is a few inches shorter, but his being more compact helps the up-the-middle infield profile.
Roman Quinn is a sleeper, but not for long. As he begins to post gaudy stolen base totals in full season baseball, he’s bound to gain momentum much like Reds Billy Hamilton. Quinn may never steal as many bases as Hamilton, but his all-around game has the potential to become more well-rounded due to defensive projection and cleaner swing mechanics from the left side. This time next season, he’s my bet for top prospect in the Phillies organization.
Quinn was #2 on the Phillies top prospect list from Baseball America, behind only Jesse Biddle, and he’ll be one to watch this summer at FirstEnergy Park.
This was sent to us by Dave Schofield, BlueClaws team photographer, who has been up in Bufflao for the past couple of days.
Last night was the Buffalo Bisons Hot Stove Dinner. The Bisons are the new AAA affiliate of the Blue Jays. You may recognize the two in the photo. On the left, is 2009 BlueClaws OF Anthony Gose, and on the right is former BlueClaws broadcaster Ben Wagner.
This off-season was a special one for 2012 BlueClaws outfielder Kelly Dugan – he got to enjoy his first “white Christmas.”
“Our family went up to Yosemite with my girlfriend and best friend. They had never seen snow before,” said Dugan. “You don’t get a white Christmas in LA.”
Now that the holidays have passed, however, the only white Dugan will be seeing is a baseball. He’s spent the last few months, and will spend the next month, diligently preparing for the baseball season that will begin when he reports to Clearwater for Spring Training next month.
“Being able to spend time with family is great, but one of the best parts of the off-season is being able to spend so much time in the gym and working on my craft,” he said. “That part makes you feel confident heading into a long year.”
Dugan took about a month off but beginning in October, got back in the weight room and has been hitting with former Dodger Reggie Smith at his facility five minutes from the Dugan residence.
Who is that? Richardson was on the first BlueClaws team, back in 2001 managed by Greg Legg.
That year, he had one of the best full seasons ever by a BlueClaw (Michael Taylor’s 2008 first-half is the best half). Richardson hit 22 home runs and drove in 83 runs as the team’s regular third baseman.
Those numbers are still part of the BlueClaws single-season record books. His 83 RBIs rank 4th, trailing Randy Ruiz’s 91, Jake Blalock’s 90, and Ryan Howard’s 87.
Jim Murphy made an assault of Richardson’s 22 home runs but could only tie the mark.
Richardson made it to Reading with the Phillies and played in AA with both Texas and Kansas City. He’s spent the last few years in independent leagues, playing last year with Wichita in the American Association and for two teams in the Mexican League.
We wish him a Happy 34th birthday.
If you missed this on the main page, the Phillies Winter Tour returns to Lakewood, and Woodlake Country Club, two weeks from today, on January 23rd. Here are the details of what is always a tremendous event, and this year will include Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, infielder Kevin Frandsen and several members of the Phillies front office.
As part of the event, we always have some great auction items (fans purchase raffle tickets), and this year’s set of Phillies merchandise is as good as we’ve had in the last five years (since yours truly has been going).
- Ryan Howard signed bat
- Chase Utley signed bat
- Cliff Lee signed baseball
- Jonathan Papelbon signed baseball
So anyway – hope to see you there. You can sign up (tickets are $40 per person) by calling Lindsay at 732-901-7000 ext 100.
All proceeds from the event benefit BlueClaws Charities, the BlueClaws official non-profit 501c3 organization. BlueClaws Charities has donated over $500,000 to local non-profit organizations and fundraising events in the last four years.
Of course that night and in the days following, we will have a lot of content and interviews from the guests as we look around the system and specifically at the team the BlueClaws have coming here in 2013.