October 22, 2014

At 23 and 5-Foot-6, ‘Veteran’ Independent Umpire Takes His Talent to Affiliated Baseball

April 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Kevin Winn couldn’t be blamed if he popped a few pride buttons these days with three of the umpires he has supervised working major league spring training games and half of the 10-man umpire contingent in the Class A California League coming out of the American Association, but I found him this week largely singing […]

How Is This as Handsome Reward for 19 Indy Grads? They Are on Pace to Top $37 Million in Majors

April 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Does it pay for an aspiring major leaguer who goes undrafted or needs to re-energize his career to play in an Independent league? And how!  Think about earning salaries totaling more than $37 million for the regular 2013 season.  Pay is prorated for most everyone, of course, so if a player is only in the […]

Underdogs, Yes, But Independent-Packed Team Spain Players Are Used to Fighting for Approval

March 8, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Spain seems to be a long shot among the 12 teams remaining in the third World Baseball Classic, but there were plenty of smiles and expressions of hope when I tracked down several of the 13 current or former Independent Baseball players on the 28-man roster shortly before they left Florida for their first round […]

Good Guy Octavio Martinez Finally Gets Major League Job Seven Years After Initially Being Singled Out

February 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

We have charted more than 200 people from Independent leagues who have earned non-playing opportunities in major league organizations in recent years, and one of the most heart-warming of these stories is that of longtime minor league catcher Octavio Martinez. Although still more than a competent catcher last season with the new Sugar Land (TX) […]

One More Record Haul With 54 Independent Baseball Players Headed to Major League Camps

February 10, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The numbers are staggering.  A record of at least 54 players who have played in one or more Independent leagues will be in major league spring training camps starting next week.  Seventeen of them started their professional journey in a non-affiliated league, and eight spent at least part of last season in one of the […]

How Impressive Is This for Independent Baseball? Two Stars Earn Top Pitcher Awards in Winter Leagues

January 24, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

It seems amazing—and likely a first—that Independent Baseball veterans earned Pitcher of the Year honors in two of the four major winter leagues, which are bearing down on starting the Caribbean World Series.  Dwayne Pollok, who spent two years in the American Association (Fort Worth, TX) and last summer with Lancaster, PA (Atlantic League) earned […]

Journalism Career on Indefinite Hold As Bo Schultz Takes His Power Arm to Bid for D-Backs Job

January 11, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

I became intrigued with Bo Schultz some time back, not entirely for his baseball talent because it was said he was not a major league prospect, but largely in that he came out of the prestigious Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern and was likely to become a baseball journalist.  It seemed writing might take […]

Indy Owner Pat Salvi Has Vested Interest in Unbeaten Irish And Colabello’s Major League Dream Comes True

December 20, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

While Notre Dame will not have any shortage of supporters when the Irish go after their first national football title since 1988 in the BCS Championship game January 7, it seems unlikely anyone will be more amped than Pat Salvi. In case the name escapes, Salvi is the successful Chicago attorney who along with his wife […]

Latest Rash of Player Sales (10 in Two Weeks) Reinforces Some of Independent Game’s Best Attributes

December 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Even though there is an urge this early to focus on spring training because of so many promotions to 40-man major league rosters and earlier-than-usual non-roster invitations, truth be told the big story right now is the rash of signings of Independent players to affiliated contracts. This corner can pinpoint 10 such signings to major […]

While Uncertainty Prevails for Many Free Agents, Kris Johnson Has a Date in Major League Camp

November 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Kris Johnson was playing video games in the basement of his home outside Kansas City when he picked up the phone to hear a voice say he would like to talk to him about his latest news as well as his days pitching in an Independent league little more than one year ago. While he […]

Appreciative Lew Ford Is Major Leaguer Today, But Will Get Championship Ring From Long Island

October 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The delightful story of Lew Ford’s journey from the Atlantic League in April and May to the parent Baltimore Orioles in late July to the American League Postseason in October still has, dare we say, “a nice ring” to it for Independent Baseball as the major league season marches to a conclusion. Pardon the reach […]

Look No Further Than 67 Victories Posted by Pitchers To See How Independent Baseball Contributed to 2012 Major League Season

October 5, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Major league baseball does not get any better than it is in October when it is keeping us glued to our seats on a daily basis, but in order to reach this plateau it seems necessary to spend some time looking back on the last six months to see the role products of the Independent […]

Mike Ness Keeps Winning as Can-Am No-Hit Hurler Moves Into Heat of Last Remaining Atlantic League Race

September 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Even though Mike Ness still is pitching in Independent Baseball, the 24-year-old has established quite a prestigious fan club while wearing three different uniforms this summer.  It is important to understand this fan club is made up exclusively of his managers.       It is not difficult to see why the field bosses would like the […]

Lew Ford Far From Rookie in September Races, But This One ‘Is Different’ for Recent Indy Outfielder

September 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

This isn’t Lew Ford’s first pennant race.  Far from it.  He was part of the Minnesota Twins teams that played in the American League Division Series in ’03, ’04 and ’06, and was a regular outfielder in the middle of those years when they were ousted by the New York Yankees in four games. But […]

Colabello’s Record RBI Season Only a Start With European Championships, Mexico Next for Former Can-Am Star

September 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Chris Colabello’s run from being last season’s Independent Player of the Year (Baseball America) to setting a new team record for runs batted in during his first affiliated season to earning runner-up honors as the Eastern League’s Most Valuable Player is little short of miraculous.  It also has given the 28-year-old first baseman a full […]

Big Two of Atlantic League and American Association Give Independents Pair of 2,000,000 Draws

August 31, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

When the curtain drops on most every Independent league’s regular season schedule this Labor Day Weekend the one factor that will be increasingly clear is that two circuits have become dominant. Look no further for proof than at the gate where the American Association and the Atlantic League give the non-major league-affiliated brand of the […]

Getting on the Back Page of Newsday, Sports Center Clips And Live National TV All Part of Buildup to Clemens Appearance Saturday

August 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

So much has been written already since word came out Monday that Roger Clemens would take the mound for the first time in five years Saturday night in an Atlantic League game to fill another file in the National Baseball Hall of Fame where the 50-year-old phenom may one day have his own plaque depending […]

With Baseball Players Always Looking for a Difference Maker, Brian Burgamy May Have Found It in Australia

August 17, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Except for the relatively few who come into Independent Baseball with a superb professional resume, players always try to look for an edge, some type of door-opener that will help them get recognized as better than run-of-the-mill talent so they can elevate their career. The major leagues almost always are the goal. Brian Burgamy is […]

Relief Pitching Best Path to Majors For Indy Players, Including Saves Milestone-Chaser Wilhelmsen

August 10, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Many baseball people like to say the easiest path to the major leagues is to become a catcher.  Statistics prove otherwise for Independent Baseball players striving to reach the promised land where the minimum salary is a not-so-measly $480,000 a year. Fifteen of the 18 players who have worn Independent uniforms and currently can boast […]

Eddy Rodriguez’s First At-Bat Homer Tough to Top Although New Leadership at Newark Makes a Statement

August 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

For every pitch during nearly three and a half hours (3:28), the game had every bit the look of the final game in a championship series.  The lead changed hands three times and the game was tied on four occasions.  Play was crisp throughout with 25 hits and 15 runs.  And the winning run scored […]

‘It Feels Really Good’ to Be Back on Diamond After Four Years Away for Fit-Looking Shea Hillenbrand

July 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the more improbable of comeback attempts is that of two-time major league all-star Shea Hillenbrand, who averaged just over 85 runs batted in for his first four full seasons (’02-05 with Boston, Arizona and Toronto) before falling out of any level of affiliated baseball five years ago.  He did log 36 games (.340) […]

A Key Acquisition From Independent Baseball Gets Attention Right Before All-Star Game

July 14, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

It was only a couple of hours before Tuesday’s All-Star Game in the massive tent outside of Kansas City’s handsome Kauffman Stadium where the official pre-game party was held when Royals Hall of Famer Art Stewart was remembering the important role Jose Lima played for the American League team after his contract was purchased from […]

Joliet Turns Windy Thunderstorm Into Its Latest Success With 550,110 You Tube Viewers

July 6, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

What is it some people say about all publicity being good? The Joliet (IL) Slammers hit the publicity jackpot, in a very unusual—and scary—manner this week, and more than half a million people have seen the visual evidence. Since no one was injured when a major thunderstorm hit Silver Cross Field in the suburban Chicago community, […]

‘Cookie-Cutter’ Approach Out the Window As Mark Mason Develops Pitchers

June 28, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Mark Mason has been unusually busy in recent days as interim manager of the Atlantic League’s two-time defending champion York (PA) Revolution while Andy Etchebarren recovers from his latest back surgery, but with that stretch ending he will slide back into concentrating on being a pitching coach with a record most people can only dream […]

Indy Domination? It Was in This Eastern League Game With Mates Getting Win, Save and All Six RBI

June 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Independent Baseball players who have had their contracts purchased by major league organizations seem to understand what a neat little fraternity they have.  They are in the minority on affiliated minor league rosters with the norm probably only a couple of hopefuls on a 25-man team. Longtime Can-Am League first baseman Chris Colabello knew all […]

New Grip Helps Brock Peterson Slug Eight Homers in Nine Games And Climb to Top of Atlantic League Ladder

June 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Brock Peterson remembers one time when he banged out something like 17 consecutive hits. But that was as an American Legion player, and he was using a metal bat. His latest streak was much more vital to his career because eight home runs in nine games in a 10-day period in the Atlantic League is […]

‘Fun to Watch’ Double Play Duo Helps Spark ‘Relentless’ Wichita to 13 Wins in Last 14 Games

June 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

It is not always easy to find just a word or two that describes a successful baseball team, but Kevin Hooper says he has found himself frequently using “relentless” in describing the Wichita (KS) Wingnuts he manages.  I have a feeling a second word to describe the American Association team that has run off 13 […]

Scheppers, Coello Added to Indy Roster in Majors While Stu Pomeranz’s Season Is Interrupted

June 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

It was just a week ago when we projected that Tanner Scheppers, who started his professional career with the St. Paul Saints in the American Association, could well be one of the next Independent players to reach the major leagues.  It happened Thursday when the Texas Rangers added the right-hander to their roster.  Scheppers was […]

Willie Upshaw Already Has a Significant Major League Resume, But Bridgeport Skipper Longs for Chance to Lead a Team

May 31, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Willie Upshaw’s post-playing-days reputation as both a major and minor league hitting guru seems unchallenged and he enjoys the opportunity to be near his home in Fairfield, CT, but he is much like those he manages in the Atlantic League in that he wants a different job. “I get pigeonholed as a hitting coach”, the […]

While Early, Attendance Is Strong With Numerous Crowds of 7,000

May 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Joke all you want about how everything seems bigger in Texas, but there is a certain truth in the early weeks of the Independent Baseball season with El Paso luring the biggest single game crowd (7,823) and Sugar Land reaching the 7,000 plateau in each of its first six home games. Lone Star State teams […]

Triple-A Veteran Ed Nottle’s Willingness to Move In ’93 Was an Early Sign Independent League Baseball Would Work

May 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The 20th season of modern day Independent Baseball gets going full steam tonight (Thursday) when the Frontier League, American Association and Can-Am League join the Atlantic League, which has a three-week head start. Miles Wolff and Ed Nottle, two of the prominent names in the business which currently has 50 teams and annually entertains from […]

Independent Baseball Season Fires Up Next Week With Three More Leagues Starting Play

May 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Joe Calfapietra is one of the real veterans among the 32 Independent Baseball managers preparing teams to open the season in one week (May 17) when the Can-Am League, American Association and Frontier League hear the “Play Ball” cry. The 42-year-old New Jersey Jackals skipper has had time to develop a plan for building a […]

Jerome Williams (Three-Hit Shutout), Jered Weaver (No-Hitter) Strut Their Stuff With More Than 100 Others at MLB Doorstep

May 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

My intention this week was to talk up the fact more than 100 Independent Baseball players now populate the rosters of the top two levels of major league-affiliated minor league teams, and while I will get back to that point it is impossible to overlook the masterful shutout turned in by Jerome Williams, who still […]

It Is Nail-Biting Time for Several Independent Players Although ’11 Standout Jerome Williams Is ‘On Track’

March 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

It appears 2011 Lancaster (PA) Barnstormers (Atlantic League) starter Jerome Williams could win that fifth starting job with the Los Angeles Angels after all even though his hamstring strain forced him to miss some 24 days of spring training. The 30-year-old, who also at one time hurled for Long Beach, CA in the Golden League, […]

Independent Map Seems Set With 50 Teams, But North American Is Without Its CEO

March 26, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

It now seems pretty certain the 20th season of Independent Baseball, which started with two leagues in 1993, will consist of 50 teams, not counting any late-developing circuits or pay-to-play leagues. The final tally includes the return of Orange County (Fullerton, CA) to become the fourth team in the second-year North American League’s Northern Division.  […]

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