February 24, 2020

Moved by Jose Lima’s Death, Joe Klein Looks Back at Going To the Dominican to Sign Him and on His Atlantic League Days

May 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Jose Lima’s sudden death was felt throughout baseball, amplified by the fact he was pitching as recently as last summer, but the depth of the loss of the fun-loving 37-year-old may not have been felt much deeper than in the Atlantic League’s home office in Camden.

“I knew Jose when he was 16, and I am very moved by his death,” Executive Director Joe Klein said in an email.  It was Klein, then on a special assignment scouting mission for the Detroit Tigers, who signed Lima to his first professional contract.  “Not a bad scouting trip to the DR (Dominican Republic)”, explained Klein, since he also landed outfielder Danny Bautista on the same junket.  Both players went on to play for the Tigers and to have significant major league careers.  Lima was 89-102, including back-to-back 16 and 21-win seasons for Houston in ’88-’89, which helped him earn more than $24 million as a major leaguer.  Bautista hit .272 in 895 games and was one of the thorns for the New York Yankees in the 2001 World Series when he batted .583 (7-for-12) and drove in seven runs in Arizona’s seven-game triumph.

Klein pointed out another memorable involvement with Lima, and probably could site many more since the hurler was in the Atlantic League twice, with Newark in 2003 and with Camden in 2008 after he had posted another 27 major league wins, including a five-hit shutout for the Los Angeles Dodgers over St. Louis in the 2004 National League Division Series.

One memory came during the player strike in 1994, when he and Tigers Manager Sparky Anderson drove to Toledo to see the team’s top farm club.  All Lima did on that August 17 date was no hit Pawtucket. “How did you get him to do it in front of me,” Sparky asked.  “We have to bring him up.”  The Tigers did just that the same year for the first three of Lima’s 348 major league games.

Boulton Says One Western Team Not Enough

Frank Boulton added his support to last Friday’s Notebook story saying “Sugar Land (Texas) is a great starting point” toward Western growth by the Atlantic League although the league founder and chief executive officer had a few added thoughts.

“I’m going to approach it as ‘smart growth’”, he explained, saying he did not feel it would be wise (from an expense standpoint) to take on one team by itself.

* * * *WANT MORE INDEPENDENT BASEBALL COVERAGE?  Check out                  www.AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com and www.IndyBaseballChatter.com * * * *

York Much Better, But Etchebarren Not Yet Satisfied

York’s 17-15 record and second place standing in the Freedom Division is a runaway success in comparison to the Revolution’s first three seasons in the Atlantic League, yet I get the impression Manager Andy Etchebarren is so determined to make the club better that he is not relaxing one bit.

“We have 13 wins”, Etchebarren said Friday before winning four of the next five, “but it could easily have been 17 or 18.”  The manager, who took over in the middle of last season, added:  “I think we’ve got a chance (at winning the division).”

The record certainly would be better if the bullpen had been as strong as the starting staff during the early weeks of the season.  “I’ll fix the bullpen shortly,” Etchebarren said, before adding that “I said I’d give everyone a month” to prove their worth.

(These are excerpts from the Atlantic League Notebook. Subscriptions to the Notebook are available on a monthly or full season basis via www.AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com or www.WirzandAssociates.com.  Bob Wirz also writes a weekly column, the Independent Baseball Insider, as well as a blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com. The author has 16 years of major league baseball public relations experience with Kansas City and as chief spokesman for two Commissioners and lives in Stratford, CT.)

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