Weekends With Toby: All-Stars, Trades And Remembering Dick Williams
Toby’s Crystal Ball
So we know that the Trade Deadline approaches and we know the Rangers are looking for bullpen help. They may have to settle for Mark Hamburger.
They are interested in closer Heath Bell but they are more interested in Padres right-handed setup reliever Mike Adams. The Washington Nationals were thought to have some relievers available but right now are operating under the assumption they are still in the N.L. wild card race. They do have a winning record.
The Florida Marlins are out of it but the best they can offer is Leo Nunez. The Rangers might have some interest there. The Rangers wanted Jim Johnson from the Orioles but go nowhere, just as they did with Joel Hanrahan with the Pirates.
So how does Hamburger fit into all of this. Going into Thursday night’s game, he was 3-0 with a 1.96 ERA in his last ten games. He is a sinker/slider guy and who was acquired from the Twins a few years ago for Eddie Guardado. He had 21 saves in the Rangers farm system last year.
He might be the sleeper among relief pitching prospects in the system.
Toby’s Honor Roll
1. Josh Frasier – The Rangers bullpen catch will be handling those duties for the American League All-Star team in Phoenix. That’s a deserving honor for a guy who is in his sixth season as the Rangers bullpen catcher.
2. C.J. Wilson – Not only is he on the All-Star Game but he will be tweeting – twittering? – during Monday’s Home Run Derby.
3. All-Star Fans Voting – Hey, when three Brewers are voted into the National League starting lineup, that’s a good sign that fans are actually paying attention and the system isn’t completely weighted toward big market teams.
Hall of Famer Wanted To Come To Texas
Dick Williams managed the Red Sox, Athletics, Angels, Expos, Padres and Mariners in his career. He wanted to make it seven teams.
This was back in 1992. The Rangers had fired Bobby Valentine in mid-season and Toby Harrah finished the season as the interim manager. At the end of the year, the Rangers opened up a search for a new manager. General manager Tom Grieve was doing the interviewing along with assistant GM Sandy Johnson.
Johnson and Williams had worked together in San Diego. Williams called Johnson and let him know that he was interested. Johnson politely told his old buddy that it wasn’t going to happen. Grieve said Thursday he has no recollection of Johnson telling him that Williams was interested. The Rangers ended up hiring Kevin Kennedy.
Williams was 63 at the time. Back then it seemed almost far-fetched that a team would hire a 62-year-old manager. Out of touch and all that. But the list of 60-and-over managers in the big leagues the past two seasons includes Jack McKeon, Davey Johnson, Tony LaRussa, Cito Gaston, Jim Leyland, Bobby Cox and Charlie Manuel.
Of course the Rangers in 1993 had Jose Canseco. Wonder if Dick Williams would have let him pitch.
Toby’s Puppies: June Players of the Month!
SS Leury Garcia – Advanced A Myrtle Beach (Not Drafted – Signed 2008) The 20 year old Garcia was named Topps Carolina League Player of the Month for June. He posted an impressive: .341 BA/ .387 OBP / .459 SLG /.856 OPS with 38 Hits and 14 RBI.
3B Tommy Mendonca – AA Frisco – (2009 Draft – 2nd Round) is the Topps Texas League Player of the Month for June. He had a 13 game hit streak during month, with 4 HR and 30 RBI.
Birthdays: Nicknames and team names just aren’t what they used to be.
“Rowdy” Elliott, a catcher for the 1910 Boston Doves and the 1920 Brooklyn Robins was born on July 8, 1890. Anyone remember “Button” Briggs a right handed pitcher for the Chicago Orphans who was born on July 8, 1875? How about “Biddy” Dolan a first baseman with the Indianapolis Hoosiers from 1896 to 1904 whose birthday is July 9th, 1881. Then there is “Pop” Schriver born on July 11, 1865 – he played catcher and first base with the Philadelphia Quakers in 1888. 100 years ago the Philadelphia Athletics were the World Series champions, right handed pitcher “Lep” Long (born July 12, 1888) was briefly a member of that team. “Iron Man” Piatt, a left handed pitcher for the 1903 Boston Beaneaters, was born on July 13, 1874. One more: July 14, 1871 is the birthdate of infielder “Jiggs” Parrott of the 1892 Chicago Colts.
Former Ranger Birthday of the Week: Jesus Maria (Adujar) Frias aka “Pepe” Frias. We’ve always used Pepe as our litmus test for those claiming to be long time Ranger fans – if they know his name, postion and when he played – then we’re satisfied they are truly, deeply, madly a Ranger fanatic. (Pepe Frias, shortstop, 1980 – hit .242)
Toby’s Reading List: Everyone has an opinion on the All-Star Game.
“I thought he was a really good baseball man. I thought he loved the game and he expected the game to be played the right way. He wasn’t tough to play for from my perspective. You knew his expectations and if you play the game the way it’s supposed to be played, he didn’t mess with you. The players who had problems were the ones who didn’t work hard enough or didn’t give 100 percent when they were out there.” — Nolan Ryan on Dick Williams
Woof! – Toby