Tuesday, April 22, 2014

1989-90 Pacific Senior League, Steve McCatty

#89 Steve McCatty

Here is the third and final card of Steve McCatty that I got signed at a Royals game last season. Steve is the pitching coach for the Washington Nationals and he signed the cards for me before the game. Since I am mainly only able to see the Royals on Sundays, my autographs mainly consists of the pitching and bullpen coaches anymore. I used to be able to get pitchers on Sunday, but they do not workout on the field like they used to.

The first card of Steve can be seen here and the second one here. I may have missed out on his '81 Donruss card, but at least I was able to get this one signed.

Steve spent his entire Major League career with the A's, so he looks at home in the green and gold of the Ft. Myers Sun Sox. Steve went 5-6 in the SPBA with a 4.60 ERA. His five wins were good enough to tie him for the team lead.

Monday, April 21, 2014

1989-90 Pacific Senior League, Rick Manning

#86 Rick Manning

Here is the third and final card that Rick Manning signed for me through the mail in 2012. The first card was Rick's '77 Topps that I unlocked in the Topps Diamond Giveaway. The second card was his '81 Donruss card.

Rick played in the Majors for thirteen seasons with the Indians and Brewers. He was a .257 hitter with 56 home runs and 458 RBI. He never played in the playoffs, but he did bring home a Gold Glove award in 1976.

Rick currently works with the Indians as the color commentator for their TV broadcasts. This season marks Rick's twenty-fifth year in that role. It just so happens that he started that gig after his season in the SBPA.

With the Sun Sox, Rick hit .288 with 6 home runs and 33 RBI.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

1989-90 Pacific Senior League, Gene Richards

#48 Gene Richards

Here is the second card that Gene signed for me through the mail in 2012. The first card was his '81 Donruss card and that can be seen here.

Gene spent eight seasons in the Majors, playing seven with the Padres and one with the Giants. He never made an All Star team and he never played in the playoffs. The Padres made a World Series run in 1984 and, of course, that was the year Gene was with San Francisco. Gene was a career .290 hitter with 26 home runs and 255 RBI. His best season was probably the '78 season, his second in the Majors. That year, Gene hit .308 with 26 doubles, 12 triples, and 45 RBI. Those were all career highs. Gene also stole 247 bases in his career, swiping fifty or more twice.

In his one season in the SBPA, Gene hit .326 with 4 home runs and 25 RBI. He lead the Super Sox with 11 stolen bases.

Since the SPBA played during the winter, I think that the Super Sox should have been called the Winter Sox. Or maybe that could have just been a shortened version of Winter Haven Super Sox.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

1989-90 Pacific Senior League, Doug Simunic

Here is a card of Doug Simunic that was signed for me at a Wichita Wingnut game in 2012. Doung is the manager for the Fargo Moorehead Redhawks and he signed this lone card for me before the game.

Doug was pretty unique when it came to the SBPA. He was one of the few guys in the league that never played in the Majors. He was drafted in the third round by the Expos in 1976. He then went on to play in the minors for nine seasons, spending parts of the last three at the AAA level. He spent time in the Expos, Royals, Indians, and Mariners organizations, but he never got the call. He ended up a career .249 hitter with 71 home runs and 361 RBI.

In the SPBA, he hit .230 with a home run and 12 RBI for the last place Super Sox.

Doug started managing with the Rochester Aces in 1993. He spent one season there and two in Winnipeg before moving on to the Redhawks, where he has been ever since. During his tenure in Fargo, he has won five league championships and has been to the playoffs every year except for two. His clubs have had a winning record every season except for one. Not too shabby.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

1989-90 Pacific Senior League, Randy Lerch

#23 Randy Lerch

Here is the second card that Randy Lerch signed for me through the mail last year. The first one was his '81 Donruss card and it can be seen here.

At the end of September in 1978, Randy started a game against the Pirates. His Phillies just barely lead Pittsburgh in the standings with just a few days left in the season. Randy pitched six innings that day and picked up his eleventh win and the Phillies clinched the NL East. The final score was 10-8 and the two run difference was the result of the two solo home runs that Randy hit in the game.

By the time the SPBA came around, Randy hadn't pitched professionally in three years. That might have explained his 4-5 record and 6.88 ERA with the Pelicans. Nevertheless, the Pelicans managed to win the lone SBPA championship. I find it strange, though, that the league's season spanned 72 games and then the playoffs were just single games rather than a series. I guess the league founders forgot that Spring Training was starting up and they would be losing their parks. So, all three playoff game were played in the same park and were completed in just two days.

In 2008, the Tampa Bay Rays payed tribute to the Pelicans by wearing their uniforms for a throwback night. You can see a couple of pictures from the event here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

1989-90 Pacific Senior League, Steve Kemp

#10 Steve Kemp

Here is the fourth and final card that I have to post from Steve Kemp. All four cards were signed through the mail in December of 2012. The main card out of the bunch was his '81 Donruss card for obvious reasons. I also sent along his '83 Donruss card, because of the nice beard he is sporting, and his '85 Fleer Update card, just because I have a not so complete set of it laying around. I don't usually send out four cards to be signed by a player. In fact, this is the only time I have done so. But, for some reason, I really wanted those four cards signed and others have had good success with Steve. So, I gave it a shot.

After some searching, I have found that Baseball Reference has some partial stats for the only full season of the SPBA. Steve batted .329 that year with 3 home runs and 32 RBI.

Steve had only been out of baseball for one full season when the SPBA started. He hit real well that season, but his .329 average was only the seventh best on the team. It seems that the batters had lost a little less than the pitchers had and the league was very hitter friendly.

Monday, April 14, 2014

1989-90 Pacific Senior League, Jon Matlack

#9 Jon Matlack

For the next month, I will be showcasing cards from my second favorite set, the 1989-90 Pacific Senior League set. For those not familiar with the Senior Professional Baseball Association, it was a league that lasted all of a season and a half and all of the players in the league were at least 35 years old. The league was based in Florida and the teams played a 72 game season over the winter. Poor attendance eventually forced the league to close its doors. I'm not sure if a league like that would do any better today, but I'm sure it would be a great place to get some autographs.

Most of the cards I will be showing from this set were signed through the mail when I mailed off an '81 Donruss card. This one, though, is an exception. While Jon does have a card in the Donruss set, I have not gotten it signed. Instead, I sent this card to him with his '74 Topps card that I unlocked in the Topps Diamond Giveaway. I had a little trouble getting the cards signed as they got "Return(ed) to Sender" at one point. But, a second attempt made it through and the cards came back a month later.

I did not send the '81 Donruss card to Jon because I did not have it at the time. I have it now, but my SCN membership has expired. I haven't sent out any TTMs this year, but maybe I will keep an eye out for Jon's new address.

Jon won ten games for the Pelicans.