Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Minor Leagues

I got to thinking the other day about ballplayers who played in the minor leagues. Wondering why they had to play in the minor leagues.

A broadcaster during the Brewers/Cubs game listed the statistics and awards of Rickey Weeks (Milwaukee-2b) and the numbers reminded me of a young Hank Aaron, the young Milwaukee Brave second baseman in 1951 and Willie Mays in 1950. What were their statistics in the minors and why did they have to lose any time in the majors? Aside from being African-American?

For some reason, it was in the players' best interest for Hank Aaron and Willie Mays to get some innings in the minor leagues.

Al Kaline and Ernie Banks didn't have to play in the minor leagues.

Not one game.

Both made it into the Hall of Fame and that's no small achievement, it's an honor of longevity and achievement. Let's hope there never comes a time when people elected into the Hall of Fame didn't deserve to be inducted. I'm just curious as to how many players performed admirably in the minor leagues and yet, for some reason have to stay in the minor leagues.

The Oakland Athletics have a player who exemplifies the lifetime minor leaguer. His name is Jack Cust.
Check these numbers out.
YEAR: 2001 TEAM: Arizona Games Played: 3
2002 Colorado 35
2003 Baltimore 27
2004 Baltimore 1
2005 not in majors
2006 San Diego 4
2007 Oakland (currently on A's roster)

Jack Cust has two things I never liked,
as a pitcher,
short arms.
-Mike Krukow

Willie Mays was signed in 1950 and first played in Trenton, New Jersey. Then he was sent to the AA (American Association) to play for a Giant affiliate, the Minneapolis Millers. Willie was hitting .353 in Trenton when they sent him to Minneapolis. In Minneapolis, Willie batted .477 in 35 games.

After this proof of how good Willie Mays was, and only then, was Willie Mays allowed to play in the major leagues.

And the proof of Hammerin' Hank Aaron's minor league visit was nearly as phenomenal. Awesome numbers throughout his career. Not only did he retire the All-Time Home Run Leader, he also has one of the better nicknames. Hammerin' Hank had more hits than Ted Williams, the Splendid Splinter.

All-Time Leaders in Hits
1- Pete Rose 4256
2- Ty Cobb 4189
3- Hank Aaron 3771
4- Stan Musial 3630
5- Tris Speaker 3514
11- Willie Mays 3283 (488 behind the Hammer)

All-Time Runs Batted In (RBI) Leaders (*asterisk denotes active player)

1- Hank Aaron 2297
2- Babe "Sultan of Swat" Ruth 2217
3- Cap Anson 2076
4- Lou"IronHorse" Gehrig 1995
5- Barry Bonds 1956*
6- Stan "the Man" Musial 1951
7- Ty "GeorgiaPeach" Cobb 1937

kevin marquez