September 16, 2014

Atlantic League Honors Ken Shepard’s Memory And Bridgeport Pays Tribute to Its General Manager

September 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Both the Atlantic League and the host Bridgeport (CT) Bluefish had already gone to extraordinary lengths to make Sunday’s Ken Shepard Day an memorable experience.  Extra steps were taken this week in light of the sudden death of the popular Bluefish general manager only nine days ahead of the event when kidney cancer claimed him […]

Independent Baseball Ties Its Record With 40 in Majors After John Holzkom’s Meteoric Climb in 10 Weeks

September 4, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Nearly 200 players have made their way to the major leagues after playing Independent Baseball although very few debuts have carried the significance of John Holdzkom’s first appearance, which came this week with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The fact the giant Californian struck out all three St. Louis Cardinals hitters he faced in the eighth inning […]

Call-Ups Start With Edwards, Herrera, Axelrod; Some Thoughts on Who May Follow to Majors

August 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Jon Edwards started the parade of Independent players getting a late-summer major league reward when the Texas Rangers added him to their pitching staff–and giving the young-but-determined Pecos League its first major leaguer–then the postseason-bound Los Angeles Angels added right-hander Yoslan Herrera (Lancaster, PA, Atlantic League) to their staff and Cincinnati did the same with […]

Former Atlantic Leaguer Nearly Perfect in Class AA Game While Raben, Fox Continue Huge Displays of Power

August 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Independent Baseball’s player contributions to Major League Baseball never cease to amaze.  Sometimes, it seems almost impossible to study a minor league box score without the names of one or more players popping up because they have spent time improving their skills in a non-affiliated league. One such event in recent days was nothing short […]

York Revolution Max Out Every Indy Team’s Goal With a Title and Five Players in the Major Leagues

August 7, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Various Independent Baseball leagues have different objectives in that they may cater to the more youthful professionals with time on their side to develop or to the more experienced players, but every team  is in agreement that it has two objectives every season.  One is to win a championship and the other is to get […]

Majors Not Alone With Storied Lefties; Lane, Willis, Paxton Bring Indy Leagues Into Play

July 31, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

For our weekly quiz, ladies and gentlemen, what do Jason Lane, Dontrelle Willis and James Paxton have in common? Hint:  While they have not been involved in as many trade rumors or have as many zeroes in their contracts as Jon Lester, Cole Hamels or David Price they also share the same similarity. If you […]

A Breakthrough: First Castro Regime-Approved Cuban Player Debuts in Can-Am League

July 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The Can-Am League appears to have pulled off a major feat any professional league would like to duplicate. Culminating an effort that started about five years ago, the league’s Quebec Capitales have the first Cuban Government-sanctioned imported player since the Fidel Castro regime started decades ago.  More Cubans could be allowed to compete in the […]

All-Star Start Last Appearance for Tracy McGrady; Atlantic League Mound Visits to Shrink–Dramatically

July 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Unlike the attention paid when Michael Jordan aborted his effort to play professional baseball, recent NBA star Tracy McGrady’s experiment to try pitching ended without great fanfare even though the Atlantic League gave him the rare platform of being the starting pitcher for host Sugar Land, TX in this week’s All-Star Game against the other […]

Atlantic League Seems Poised to Introduce Some Speed-Up Measures as Early as Next Week

July 10, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

The Atlantic League has already enjoyed a big week because of Julio DePaula’s record-breaking ascension from the York (PA) Revolution to the Baltimore Orioles bullpen although after getting a sneak peak at some of its possible pace-of-play recommendations the 17-year-old circuit seems to be on the brink of stirring up considerable debate, possibly stretching throughout […]

Atlantic League Record-Holder Welcomes New ‘LHP’ Son, Discusses Recent No-Hit Teammate Scarpetta

July 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Therecord-holder for career mound appearances knows a great deal about wake-up calls for players coming into the Atlantic League because he has seen a lot of them the last 10 years although, if I may try to interject a little humor, Ross Peeples has learned about a different type of wake-up alert the last 20 […]

Oh, Yes! The Four-Man Rotation Is Alive With Tagert’s American Association Team

June 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The four-man rotation is not dead.  Far from it. Greg Tagert, who has his defending champion Gary (IN) SouthShore RailCats atop the American Association’s Central Division, has long been a proponent of having only four starting pitchers, which has to have him respected by old-school baseball people since virtually all of the professional baseball universe […]

Whether It Is a Pete Rose Appearance, Community Pride Or Anti-Bullying Efforts, Independents Bring Dividends

June 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Pete Rose’s one-day managerial stint provided the biggest national publicity bump in some time, but if one is willing to look just a bit beneath the surface of the baseball games themselves it is easy to find all sorts of positives emerging in communities with Independent Baseball teams. We will see all sorts of flag-waving […]

Laredo’s Travis Denker Putting Up Stunning Numbers; Pete Rose Luring the Media for One-Day Managerial Role

June 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Travis Denker is putting up such gaudy offensive numbers this season as if there is no tomorrow. He won’t turn 29 until August, not exactly ancient the way major league organizations are snapping up 30-somethiing Independent players these days, nevertheless, if you have only had 37 big-league at-bats in a 12-year pro career it probably […]

David Peralta, Jason Lane Debuts Highlight Busy Week of Indy Players Getting to Major Leagues

June 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

David Peralta would seem to have the greatest upside of four former Independent players promoted to the major leagues since the left-handed outfielder, who was playing in the American Association (Amarillo, TX) only 11 months prior to his major league debut with Arizona, has not even reached what normally is prime time for a baseball […]

What Would Farm Systems Do Without Indy Players? Atlantic League Team Loses 4 Hurlers in a Week

May 31, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

One has to wonder what the major leagues would do these days to keep their farm system rosters full if Independent Baseball teams were not available. The Somerset (NJ) Patriots have filled the equivalent of nearly one-third of a pitching staff all by themselves in the last week.  Four pitchers, including three starters, were purchased […]

As Can-Am League Opens Season, A Former MVP Breaks Up No-Hit Bid

May 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Perhaps it was an omen with the Can-Am League starting its season less than 24 hours later (Thursday) that a onetime Most Valuable Player in the league made news by breaking up a no-hitter in its companion league, the American Association. Nick Giarraputo, who won MVP honors while with the New Jersey Jackals (Little Falls) […]

Long Island’s Blevins Has Done a Great Deal While Still ‘Fighting for An Opportunity’

May 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Bobby Blevins has accomplished a great deal on the pitcher’s mound, including establishing the all-time record with 32 victories at LeMoyne College, playing a key role in the Long Island (NY) Ducks’ back to back Atlantic League championships and getting to take part in the Asia Series last November, but when you talk to the […]

Nathan Winston Wants to Pitch Despite Prosthetic; Chris Martin Latest Indy Player in Majors

May 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Longtime Independent scouting expert Nick Belmonte alerted me to a possible story when I ran across him in Florida in late February, then called a few days ago to explain that Nathan Winston, who had his left leg amputated when he was four because of a birth defect, had been a part of the intently […]

Major Leagues Still Grabbing Independent Talent With Arizona and Atlanta the Busiest

May 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

This week’s tip to Independent Baseball players hoping to attract a major league organization:  Reach out to the first Arizona Diamondbacks scout you can find. While all 30 major league organizations have at least one player who has been in an Independent league, the D-Backs are the most active in trying to utilize such talent.  […]

Atlantic League Boss Reveals Start of Licensing, and Talks Of MLB Meeting and Expansion as 17th Season Launches

April 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The unveiling of the Atlantic League’s 17th season–Independent Baseball’s 22nd campaign–begins in earnest Thursday night with the usual suspense because teams have such a short pre-season to sort through roster issues although the on-the-field interest could be rivaled this time around by some of the board room planning which could change the league’s business dynamics […]

NBA Star Tracy McGrady, Japanese, Cuban Hurlers All Part of Buildup to New Atlantic League Season

April 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The 2014 Independent Baseball season debuts next week with the startup of the Atlantic League season, which once again opens about three weeks ahead of everyone else on the non-major-league-affiliated map because of its 140-game season. The interest in the Atlantic League seems especially high ahead of Thursday’s (April 24) openers not only to eventually […]

Adjustments Paying Off for Chris Colabello, Who Still Speaks Highly of Years in Independent League

April 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Speaking of 2011 Independent Player of the Year Chris Colabello, the seven-year Can-Am League (Worcester, MA and Nashua, NH) vet currently hitting cleanup every day for Minnesota, has another honor, sharing American League Player of the Week honors with the Los Angeles Angels’ now-injured Josh Hamilton. Colabello, who has already been used at first base […]

Independent Count in Majors Doubles in Two Years And Opening Week Performances Are Dazzling

April 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Baseball’s Opening Day is such a celebration some have suggested it should be a national holiday. No group has more reason to be happy with the first few days of the season this year than the Independent Baseball industry because a record 20 of its former players were on active major league rosters and another […]

Ian Thomas of Braves May Be Biggest Surprise Among Former Independent Players in Major League Camps

March 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The biggest surprise among the 51 former Independent Baseball players who started spring training with major league teams may be southpaw reliever Ian Thomas, who spent his first three seasons and part of a fourth after coming out of Virginia Commonwealth University as a non-drafted player in three separate non-affiliated leagues.  He always struck out […]

After Four Years of Seasoning, Still Another Independent Star Could Be Heading Toward the Minnesota Twins

March 21, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The stars all seem aligned perfectly for C. J. Ziegler as last year’s power king tries to become another Independent Baseball product to pull on a major league baseball uniform.  It probably will not come as early as this year, but the leader of last season’s Wichita (KS) Wingnuts bears close scrutiny. Ziegler seems to […]

Which Independent Players Will Make It to Opening Day? 51 Have Been in Major League Camps

March 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

One year it was Chris Coste, another Jon Weber and last season Scott Rice and Chris Colabello. The names change, but the stories are similar.  Players who have devoted years of determination and grit to beat the odds of climbing all the way from Independent Baseball leagues, through the affiliated minors and perhaps…just perhaps…squeezing their […]

Twins, Nationals Take Two of Independent Baseball’s Power Hitters in Ziegler and Peterson

December 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

With so much talk in the baseball universe about the lack of power hitting prospects, it is good to see that people in the Minnesota and Washington scouting departments have been paying attention. They have grabbed two of the best long-ball artists the Independent leagues have produced recently. The Twins stepped up to ink the […]

They May Not All Be Like Scott Kasmir, But Independent Baseball Has Another Crop Within Reach of Majors

December 8, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Not everyone will end up with a $22 million contract as Scott Kazmir has only a year removed from working his way back through Independent Baseball and the winter leagues, but a new crop of players who have taken the same route over the last nine months is making it appear others could follow the […]

With 58-21 Record and Shelf Full of Awards, Josh Lowey Is Still Looking for a Major League Organization

November 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

It is a never-ending question why some players get their contract picked up by a major league organization while others with decidedly better credentials do not. Our focus today is on pitcher Josh Lowey. Start with the fact the right-hander has put together a 58-21 record the last five seasons in three separate Independent leagues.  […]

Long After Surgery, Top Independent Find Sherrill ‘Hoping Track Record’ Will Lead to New Opportunity

November 8, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

It is very easy to have a soft spot toward George Sherrill because he has been one of Independent Baseball’s greatest finds, right up there with Kevin Millar, Rey Ordonez and Daniel Nava, but the truth is the 36-year-old lefty faces the same predicament as many other free agents on this November day.  He needs […]

Success From Last Year’s Class Bodes Well For Trio of Independent Hurlers in Arizona Fall League

October 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The Arizona Fall League still plays pretty much in anonymity for everyone operating outside of baseball’s talent evaluation offices, but players realize all too well that with an invitation to spend several weeks in the desert they are looked at as real candidates to break into the major leagues in the not-too-distant future.  They can […]

Onetime Independent Reliever Leaves Emphatic Message In Confidence on Way to American League Championship Series

October 10, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The latest lesson in the confidence needed for an Independent player to succeed on baseball’s greatest stage was delivered emphatically this week when Boston’s Craig Breslow marched out of the Red Sox bullpen and struck out four consecutive Tampa Bay hitters to keep the Beantowners’ deficit at a single run, 1-0, until their offense could […]

Ottawa and Montreal Buoy Can-Am Spirits For Two Years From Now

October 3, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Barring any stunning surprises at league meetings in the next two weeks, the American Association and Can-Am League appear headed for their third consecutive season with some form of inter-league play, but two Canadian developments have Miles Wolff feeling optimistic the Can-Am is getting some traction to build beyond its current five-team landscape. The commissioner […]

Coaches, Players Who Came Through Independent Leagues Will Have Roles in American League’s Postseason

September 27, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

The constant search this column undertakes to find meaningful stories on current or former Independent Baseball personnel has once again resulted in some nice nuggets heading into major league baseball’s postseason with the further tip that every fan of the unaffiliated game should lean heavily to the American League starting next week. It is a […]

Salvi Family Claims the Independent Game’s First Double With Championships in Both Gary and Schaumburg

September 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The last time I wrote extensively about Chicago attorney Pat Salvi was at the end of last season’s college football season when this proud father—plus wife and business partner Lindy—were rightfully popping their parent buttons because they had two sons on the Notre Dame football team. They have two more reasons to be more than […]

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