September 26, 2021

What Fabulous Match-Ups in Major League Games

September 16, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The influx of Independent Baseball players into the majors this month has been exciting, and it is much more than a pure numbers game.  Think about these feats, which should have every non-affiliated player, executive and fan jumping for joy:

When Bobby Cramer made his debut in a start for Oakland his mound opponent was none other than Luke Hochevar, who started in an Independent league.

  • Jay Gibbons’ latest headline-grabber in a series of events that has him playing virtually every day for the Los Angeles Dodgers was a monster home run off a pitcher (Nelson Figueroa, Houston) who had played for one of the same Independent teams (Long Island, NY, Atlantic League.
  • No fewer than five Indy graduates played significant roles in a single series between the Dodgers and Houston Astros.
  • John Lindsey got his first hit, and everyone seemed to be cheering.

In other words, Christmas came early and no less than seven Independent leagues could show pride for the role they played.

The series at Minute Maid Park when Jay Gibbons homered off Nelson Figueroa was important on the Independent Baseball scale for a few other reasons.  First baseman John Lindsey (New Jersey Jackals, Can-Am League) made the first start of his 16-year professional career, and collected his first hit—a line drive single to left—the next day.  He is 1-for-7 in six appearances so far.  And, the Dodgers and Astros paraded no less than five Indy players with reliever George Sherrill (Evansville, IN, Frontier League, Sioux Falls, SD, now in the American Association, and Winnipeg, Northern League) for LA and another southpaw, Tim Byrdak (Joliet, IL and Gary, IN, both Northern League), for Houston.

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Shreveport Triumphs, Pittsfield, Maui in Finals

While four Independent leagues are in their championship finals and the Atlantic League is about to start its playoffs, underdog Shreveport-Bossier, LA is the latest team to enjoy a title run.  Ricky Van Asselberg added to the managerial resume he built with United League titles at Alexandria, LA in ’06 and ’07 by leading the Captains to a three-game sweep of powerful Sioux Falls, SD to take the American Association title.

Two first-year teams are in the finals, Pittsfield, MA, led by Manager of the Year Brian Daubach, is in the Can-Am League championship round and Cory Snyder has Maui in a similar situation in the Golden League. A complete rundown of the remaining playoffs:

American Association:  Shreveport-Bossier, LA swept Sioux Falls, SD, in three straight to win its first championship.

Atlantic League: Defending champion Somerset, NJ will be at York, PA and Bridgeport, CT will open at Southern Maryland (Waldorf) when the best-of-five division finals begin Wednesday.

Can-Am League: 2009 winner Quebec and league newcomer Pittsfield, MA are 1-1 with the balance of the five-game series starting Thursday night in Canada.

Frontier League:  Traverse City, MI, leads River City (O’Fallon, MO), 1-0, in best-of-five finals.

Golden League:  Chico, CA leads Maui, HA, 2-0, in best-of-five finals with the rest of the games in Hawaii starting Saturday.

Northern League: Defending champion Fargo, ND has a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five championship series with Game 2 at Kansas City, KS Thursday night.

(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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