April 19, 2014

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 […]

106 Major League Victories This Season; You Bet, and That Is Just for Independent Leaguers

September 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Twenty-one years ago when Kash Beauchamp was signed off the St. Paul (MN) Saints’ roster in the Northern League and assigned to Class AA the naysayers were continuing to pooh-pooh the future of this new thing called Independent Baseball.  Those who believed it could succeed likely were in the minority. We have pointed out the […]

Indy Leagues Serving It All Up Right Now With League Records, MLB Calls and Maybe a 20-Game Winner

September 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Baseball people realize this is a magnificent time of year for numbers crunchers because of the pursuit of various individual and team records, and there certainly will not be any disappointment as this season works toward its climax. The Independent game is right in the mix with such heady topics to drool over as a […]

With Talent and Motivation, Kevin Hooper ‘Without Concern’ As Wichita Powerhouse Readies for Playoffs

August 30, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

“To be honest, there is no concern.” How often does a manager talk in such confident terms?   Never might be too soon, right? Yet, that was exactly what Wichita (KS) Wingnuts Manager Kevin Hooper said this week when I asked him what his biggest concern was heading into next week’s American Association playoffs. Let me […]

While New Leagues Are Slow to Develop, Independent Roster in Majors Grows Rapidly

August 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Independent Baseball is continuing to turn out major league players in impressive numbers—two more just this week—but operators are not finding it nearly as easy to start new leagues or even to nail down new franchises. A new league has not started and lasted since the Can-Am League launched in 2005, and even that was […]

A Familiar Name; Clemens, Son Koby, That Is, Catches Sugar Land Staff, Sets Home Run Record

August 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

So much has been said about the Sugar Land (TX) Skeeters in their first two seasons—gorgeous stadium and outstanding attendance, dominant pitching, national spotlight when Roger Clemens made two appearances, player sales left and right to major league organizations and this year Gary Gaetti’s club has been the best the Atlantic League has to offer. […]

Fox’s 3 Consecutive Walk-Offs May Be a First, But Albers’ Brilliant Debut Shares Top Billing

August 8, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

It does not happen this way often when two ultra-heroic events divide attention about deadline time.  When it does, one deals. Jake Fox made the first bid for attention when the Somerset, NJ (Atlantic League) designated hitter collected walk-off hits in three consecutive games.  We do not know if it has ever been done before, […]

In an Odd Way, This Former Manager Now More Valuable to Independent Leagues as a Scout

August 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The first time I met Chris Carminucci he was managing the Can-Am League’s travel team, the Grays, in 2005.  Travel teams are not expected to do well, but his energy and upbeat nature were infectious. The Grays actually won half of their games the first half of the season, and it seemed obvious Carminucci would […]

It Is the Same Five Teams Who Lead in Attendance Although Kansas City, KS Makes a Nice Jump

July 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The deck has been shuffled, moving Winnipeg, Manitoba, ahead of 2012 newcomer Sugar Land, TX and Kansas City, KS has jumped two spots to third, but the same five teams that led Independent Baseball in per-opening attendance one year ago remain the same past the halfway mark in the ’13 season. Winnipeg, pacing four American […]

With Scherzer Leading the Way, Independent Hurlers Already Have Topped 2012 Major League Win Total With Lofty 69

July 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

One statistic regarding the pre-All-Star Game portion of the major league season may blow a few minds, including those in high powered front offices. To set the stage, I went back to last October when in this space I wrote that 17 pitchers with Independent Baseball experience combined for 67 regular-season wins, even without the […]

Reminiscent of Dramatics of Five Years Ago, Independent Baseball Has Two Major League All-Stars

July 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Independent Baseball will never have the marketing impact of the powerhouse major league franchises when it comes to pushing for All-Star votes, but it still will have some bragging rights when the game’s marquee names gather for their annual mid-season classic at Citi Field in New York next week. For one thing, the American League […]

Kansas Teams Excel in American Association, Wichita on Diamond, Kansas City at Box Office

June 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Kansas‘s only two professional baseball teams, both in the American Association, have been creating positive headlines of late although for largely separate reasons. Wichita has been doing in mostly on the diamond where the Wingnuts, aptly named because of that city’s major aircraft-building industry, have the best record (26-14) in the sprawling, 13-team league.  Kansas […]

Nava Getting Some All-Star Buzz; Speculating on Cities for New Diamond League

June 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

As strange as it would have seemed a few months ago, onetime Independent leaguer Daniel Nava is getting attention for major league baseball’s All-Star Game. It still is a long shot for the Boston Red Sox outfielder and occasional first baseman to be part of the July 16 contest at Citi Field in New York […]

After Years in Dodgers Farm System and Play for Six Independent Teams, Bridger Hunt Catches Fire

June 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

One cannot wonder if Bridger Hunt, who turns 28 next month, is a late bloomer. The shortstop was a sixth round draft choice of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2006, had nearly four years in their farm system without climbing above Class A, and spent time with six Independent teams spread over three leagues the […]

Mike Gedman Has Whirlwind Week With NCAA Regional And Game-Winning Homer; Coaching Has His Heart

June 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Ask any minor league baseball player—Independent or affiliated—his primary goal, and the answer is very predictable.  “I want to play in the major leagues”.  One might think the proclamation would be doubled if your father had a 13-year career in the bigs, primarily as a bulldog catcher for the Boston Red Sox. Mike Gedman, one […]

Improved Angels Benefitting From Trio of Hurlers Who Came Via Independent Ranks

May 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The Los Angeles Angels’ bid to bounce back from their horrific start—they have won nine of 11—was fortified Wednesday night when onetime Atlantic League (Camden, NJ) trainee and current ace Jered Weaver came off the disabled list to start the 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the truth is the Halos would not […]

Chris Colabello’s Journey From Can-Am League To Majors Has Uniqueness Written All Over It

May 24, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

To put Chris Colabello’s feat into proper perspective one must realize he is only the 38th player in the 21 seasons since Independent Baseball started up to break into the professional game at the non-affiliated level and climb all the way the major leagues. But not a single one of the 37 before Colabello, who […]

Can-Am League Welcomes Second French City As 32 More Independent Baseball Teams Start Season

May 17, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Thirty-two of the 46 Independent Baseball teams in the five most established leagues start their season within the next 24 hours or so, but it is difficult to imagine any one place where the initial intrigue will be any higher than at venerable Stade de Quebec.  The Can-Am League has had to settle for one […]

Even a Dominant Scott Kazmir Could Not Make Sugar Land Much Better

May 10, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Scott Kazmir was masterful this afternoon (Thursday) with 10 strikeouts (no walks) among his 18 outs in six innings of one-run pitching to lead Cleveland to a 9-2 triumph against Oakland, but even if the veteran left-hander still was with Sugar Land,TX for a second season it seems doubtful the Skeeters would be doing much […]

Half a Dozen Bridgeport Players Had a Year Off, Yet Fulchino, Krum and Bluefish Are Doing Well

May 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The roster the Bridgeport (CT) Bluefish are using to dominate the early going in the Liberty Division of the Atlantic League has a rare twist to it.  Nearly one-fourth of the team—six of the 26 players—were virtually nowhere to be seen one year ago. Such former Independent players as Seattle closer Tom Wilhelmsen and newly-prized […]

Some Independent Leagues Have Vanished, But They Still Leave Reasons to Be Remembered

April 26, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

It is only natural that some leagues would vanish since the experiment that turned into today’s successful modern day Independent Baseball is now 21 years old.  No one could have expected more than two decades to pass without the landscape of cities, teams and leagues being altered. But even though such leagues as the Northern, […]

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