August 5, 2021

Another Independent Player Gets to Major Leagues

September 2, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

      It was not such usual candidates as Michael Ryan or Scott Richmond or John Lindsey or Randy Williams, but Independent Baseball has had one interesting promotion in the first couple of days since major league teams started taking advantage of the opportunity to expand rosters in September.  This ranks right up the excitement level with some of the affiliated all-star selections which have come out of the Indy ranks.

       Oakland’s elevation of right-handed pitcher Justin James is a landmark case, actually, in that the Northern League believes it is the first time in its storied 18-year life when a player has gone from the league to the major leagues in the same season.  It is the second time this has happened for an Independent player in 2010, with the first also with the Athletics because outfielder Matt Watson started the season at Lancaster, PA of the Atlantic League and was playing in McAfee Coliseum in Oakland a short time later.

       James made his major league debut at Yankee Stadium Thursday, giving up three singles and a run in the eighth inning of a 5-0 loss to the American League East-leading Yankees.  He also struck out Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter during his 28-pitch, 17-strike inning.

      In James’s case, the 28-year-old went from a mediocre season with the Kansas City (KS) T-Bones last summer (4-6, 5.73 in 34 games, including 11 starts) to a more dominant type start this year with the same team when he had a 1.69 earned run average and six saves over 11 relief outings in less than four weeks before Oakland purchased his contract.       

      “He was so much better this year because he understood his role (closer),” praised T-Bones Manager Tim Doherty, who will take his team into the Northern League playoffs next week. 

      While more call-ups seem likely when minor league play ends, 26 former Independent players have been in the major leagues this season, two less than in all of 2009.

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Lindsey, Smith, Cochran Get Postseason Honors

       Former Independent standouts have earned three coveted postseason honors already with more almost certainly to follow.  John Lindsey and Corey Smith have been honored for their big bats, and stylish southpaw Tom Cochran has been named the top left-handed pitcher in the Class AA Southern League just two years after taking a similar honor on Baseball America’s all-Independent team after a standout season with the Worcester (MA) Tornadoes of the Can-Am League. 

 Two Varieties of Quesadillas and a Radio Broadcast

      One has to applaud the gusto of the Pensacola (FL) Pelicans, who have set up a potluck dinner so fans can get together on the party deck and listen to Game 3 of the American Association playoff series against Shreveport-Bossier, LA Friday.  It should help to know a quesadilla casserole—both spicy and mild—along with meatballs, scalloped potatoes, and cookies are among the items fans have promised to bring.  A little good fortune would not hurt since one more loss will end the Pelicans’ season.  

         (This is an excerpt from the column Bob Wirz writes year round on Independent Baseball.  Fans may subscribe at, enjoy his blogs, and, or comment to  The author has 16 years of major league baseball public relations experience with Kansas City and as spokesman for two Commissioners and lives in Stratford, CT.)


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