Volume XVI December 2016 through March 2017 Issue 55

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Chicago Cubs Win World Series in Game 7 Thriller

For a legion of baseball fans who waited a lifetime, the Chicago Cubs are 2016 World Series champions. Ending more than a century of flops, futility and frustration, the Cubs won their first title since 1908, outlasting the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in 10 innings of a Game 7 thriller early Thursday, November 3. They even had to wait out an extra-inning rain delay to end the drought. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and a Cubs teammate are pictured here leaping high into the air after Rizzo made the final out at first base.

For the story, go to Major League

Cubs' Ben Zobrist Chosen World Series Most Valuable Player

Ben Zobrist of the Chicago Cubs was chosen as the 2016 World Series Most Valuable Player, a year after he helped the Kansas City Royals win the 2015 championship. Zobrist was among the players brought to the Cubs by Theo Epstein, the baseball guru who added another crown to his collection. "This is an epic game --- 108 years in the making," Zobrist said. "We did it. The Indians never quit, either. They kept coming at us." From Curse of the Bambino to the Billy Goat Curse, Epstein ended another jinx, adding "It was one of the best games of all time."

For the article, go to Major League

Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs Ace Pitcher

Chicago Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks lost his shot at history on September 12 with a no-hitter, but instead may have secured himself the National League Cy Young award. Hendricks was outstanding all season, putting on a finishing kick just like teammate Jake Arrieta a year ago when he won the Cy Young. Hendricks was a two-pitch pitcher in the past, adding a curveball this year, and a 91-mph four-seam fastball. He challenges hitters with his control and savvy.

For the article, go to Newsletter

Daniel Murphy, One of Baseball's Best Hitters

Daniel Murphy, the line-drive hitting second baseman of the Washington Nationals, produced in 2015 the greatest display of power hitting in post season history. He belted home runs in a record six consecutive playoff games, and seven overall. He hit those seven homers in a span of 38 at-bats, powering the New York Mets into the World Series. Murphy has since changed teams, now doing his slugging for the Washington Nationals. During the 2016 season, he had a .347 batting average, 25 home runs, 104 RBIs, and a .955 on-base plus slugging average.

For the story, go to News Release

David Ortiz Given a Standing Ovation in Yankee Stadium Finale

Playing in the Bronx one last time, Boston Red Sox batting star David Ortiz was given a 30-second standing ovation at Yankee Stadium instead of the usual boos. There were many Red Sox colors in the crowd on September 29, which chanted his nickname "Pa-pi! Papi!". Only a smattering of booing could be heard. Hitting .315 with 37 homers and 124 RBIs, the 40-year-old designated hitter, was having one of the greatest final seasons in big leagues history. Red Sox manager John Farrell said, '"It was a weekend of celebration well-deserved, and David will have time to recover."

To read, go to Newsletter

Unhittable Aroldis Chapman and His 105 - M.P.H. Fastball

Aroldis Chapman threw 13 pitches in his World Series debut on October 26 in Cleveland. The fastest was clocked at 102.5 miles per hour by Major League Baseball's Statcast radar gun. Chapman was the only pitcher to throw as hard as 104 m.p.h. during the 2016 season, which he did 26 times, peaking at 105.1. He came to the majors in 2010 and was an All-Star four times for the Cincinnati Reds. Chapman came to the majors from Cuba in 2010. He strides so far that he releases the ball nearly a foot closer to the plate than the average pitcher, adding perhaps another mile an hour of perceived velocity to his pitches.

For the story, go to Feature Stories

Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza Inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame

Two players who began their baseball careers at opposite ends of the spectrum nearly three decades ago ended up in the same place on Sunday, July 24 --- with their names etched on plaques at the Baseball Hall of Fame. For Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza, the culmination of their long journeys was tinged with tears all around. A 13-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove Award winner in center field, Griffey hit 630 home runs, and drove in 1,836 runs. A .308 career hitter, he posted 6 seasons with at least 30 home runs, 100 RBI's and a .300 batting average. Piazza hit 427 home runs, including a major league record 396 as a catcher. The 12-time All-Star won 10 Silver Slugger Awards.

For the article, go to Feature Stories

Terry Francona's Touch in Making the Right Moves for Indians

Terry Francona didn't get a hit, steal a base or record an out as the Indians swept the Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series. He did just about everything else. He had the perfect touch as the Indians won three straight and advanced to face Toronto in the AL Championship Series. Francona, affectionately known as Tito, his dad's name, refused to take credit and turned the attention on his players. "I've done it before," said Francona, who led the Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004 and '07. "Sometimes, good players make you look smarter than you probably are."

For the stories, go to Feature Stories

Mark Teixeira Gracefully Bowed Out Against Former Manager

Mark Teixeira felt this year was the right time to retire from baseball. The powerful switch-hitter and Gold Glove first baseman played his final major league game on Sunday, October 2 at Yankee Stadium. Teixeira became the fifth switch-hitter in history to reach at least 400 home runs. He averaged 34 home runs and 110 RBI's per season from 2003-2012, before a wrist injury. Last season, Teixeira came back to have an All-Star season with 31 homers and 79 RBIs in 111 games. He said, "I'm proud of being able to come back last year and have an All-Star season knowing that I can still put together that type of year."

For the article, go to News Release

Vin Scully's Last Time on Air for Dodgers Is Another Solo Flight

Vin Scully's final game on Sunday, October 2, was something close to a miracle in sportscasting, an 88-year-old man performing a solo act, conversing with us for more than three hours. He kept track of the game while telling stories, invoking memories and reminding us that he did this single job for 67 consecutive seasons. Scully's working alone was a gift to all of us. He could carry games by himself, as he proved every day. Anyone else competing for air space would have interrupted his flow, as he proved every day.

For this story, go to Newsletter

Max Scherzer Wins 20th Game on Final Day of Season

Max Scherzer earned his 20th victory of the season and drove in a career-high four runs to help the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 10-7 on Sunday, October 2. It was his second career 20-win season. "There's something about 20 in the game, 20 strikeouts, 20 wins," said Scherzer. "Those are huge numbers, and to be able to go out there and accomplish one of those, that was a huge feat. I don't win 20 games without the rest of the players in the clubhouse. Scherzer became the second pitcher to win 20 games for the Nationals since they moved to Washington.

For this article, go to Feature Stories

Jose Altuve's Big Day Paces Astros in Win VS Angels

Jose Altuve has never been known for his power. That has started to change this season. Altuve hit two of Houston's season-high five homers and had a career-high six RBIs to lead the Houston Astros to a 13-3 win on Sunday, July 24. Altuve extended his hitting streak to nine games. His 17 homers are a career high, and he leads the majors with a .360 batting average. "I'm still impressed a little bit about my homers," Altuve said with a grin. Luis Valbuena, Preston Tucker and Evan Gattis also homered for the Astros, who extended their winning streak against the Los Angeles Angels.

For the article, go to News Release

Don's Photo Gallery Features All-Time Major League Greats

Featured in this edition of Don Weiskopf's Photo Gallery are career descriptions of seven all-time major league baseball greats, followed by sequence-series photos Weiskopf took with his high-speed camera. In BPA's new photo gallery are batting sequence-series of Stan Musial, Ernie Banks, and Pete Rose; fielding series of Bobby Richardson and Brooks Robinson; and pitching series of Tom Seaver and Sandy Koufax. Pictured here is Musial, one of baseball's greatest hitters.

To read and view, go to Photo Gallery

As MLB Honors Roberto Clemente, It Casts Eye on Future of Latins

On the day Major League Baseball celebrated the life and career a Hall of Fame great, who tirelessly advocated for equal treatment for Latin players, signs of his legacy abound in the game. Roberto Clemente Day on September 7 preceded a series of events during Hispanic Heritage Month. Nearly 25% of the players on current major league rosters were born in Latin American countries, as were 35% of the players at this year's All-Star Game. Clemente, pictured here, who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, was one of the many Latin players through the years.

For the story, go to Newsletter

Giants' Matt Moore Loses No-Hitter with Two Outs in 9th Inning

San Francisco Giants left-hander Matt Moore lost his no-hit bid with two outs in the ninth inning on a soft, clean single by Corey Seager, and the Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0 on August 25. Moore's try ended on his 133rd pitch after the ball landed onto the grass in shallow right field. The 27-year-old Moore nearly gave San Francisco a major league record five straight years with a no-hitter. And he almost became the first Giants pitcher to no-hit the Dodgers since 1915, when New York's Rube Marquard. Moore struck out seven and walked three. Reliever Santiago Casilla needed just one pitch to get the final out.

For the article, go to News Release

Home Run Records in Sight. The Question Is Why?

The 2000 MLB season represented the high point for home runs in baseball history. That season, players combined to hit 5,693 of them, a record average of 1.17 per team per game. But those records could fall this season. Teams are matching that 1.17 home runs per game average, putting them on a pace to tie or surpass it. Fifty-one batters were within four home runs of 30 for the season or surpassed that number. How did Major League Baseball go from a nadir of 0.86 home runs per team per game in 2014, which was the lowest level since 1992, to where it is now?

For the story, go to Newsletter

Mets' Curtis Granderson Wins Roberto Clemente Award

Curtis Granderson has won the Roberto Clemente Award, becoming the fourth player from the New York Mets to receive baseball's honor for sportsmanship and community involvement. Granderson helps run baseball clinics and character development programs through the Grand Kids Foundation. He also made a $5 million donation to his alma mater of University of Illinois-Chicago for the construction of an indoor/outdoor facility. Clemente, a Hall of Fame outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, died while on a charter plane carrying relief aid to Nicaragua following an earthquake.

For the story, go to Feature Stories

Jon Gray Sets Rockies Single Game Strikeout Record

Jon Gray thought a complete-game performance was reason enough to celebrate. Little did he know he had also etched his name into the Colorado Rockies' record book. Gray struck out a franchise-record 16 and pitched a four-hitter to lead the Rockies to an 8-0 victory over the San Diego Padres on September 17 in Denver. He struck out four batters in the second inning, including a strikeout on a passed ball. Gray (10-8) threw 113 pitches in surpassing Darryl Kile's 14-strikout performance on August 20, 1998. Tom Murphy homered twice and Nolan Arenado added his National League-leading 38th home run.

For the article, go to News Release

Reds' Johnny Bench Named American Legion's 'Good Guy'

Johnny Bench, Hall of Fame great and recipient of the American Legion's 2016 James V. Day "Good Guy" Award, has only one regret. "I didn't get to go to college," he says. Instead, Bench, who was his high school's valedictorian, decided to play baseball. Considered by many baseball historians as the greatest catcher to ever play the game, Bench was a key member of Cincinnati's Big Red Machine which won World Championships in 1975 and 1976. The award was presented to Bench by the American Legion Past Department Commanders Club during a luncheon at the 98th National Convention in Cincinnati.

For the article, go to Newsletter

Adrian Gonzalez Hits 3 of Dodgers' 7 Homers for 18-9 Win

Adrian Gonzalez got the most pleasure out of watching his teammates circle the bases. Nobody made as many trips as he did. Gonzalez hit three of the Dodgers' seven homers, driving in a career-high eight runs, and rookie Corey Seager had a noteworthy homer as well on August 22, leading Los Angeles to an 18-9 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. Four of Gonzalez's teammates also homered in the Dodgers' biggest power performance since they hit seven during an 11-10 win over San Diego on September 18, 2006. Andrew Toles and Rob Segedin hit their first career homers back-to-back in the fifth inning.

To read, go to Feature Stories

Todd Frazier Sets Team Homer Record; White Sox Beat Twins 11-4

When Todd Frazier was acquired by the Chicago White Sox, there was an expectation that he would add a powerful component to the Chicago lineup. Frazier's home run on September 2 was his 35th of the year and put him in sole possession of the most home runs in a single season by a third baseman in team history. Throughout the long history of the White Sox, there has never been a player to hit more than 34 home runs in a single season. Robin Ventura hit 34 home runs in 1996. In 2015, Frazier hit 35 home runs for the Cincinnati Reds.

To read, go to News Release

Walter Alston, Los Angeles Dodgers' Hall of Fame Manager

Walter Emmons Alston, nicknamed "Smokey", is best known for managing the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers between 1954 and 1976. He signed 23 one-year contracts with the Dodgers. Alston led Dodgers teams to seven National League pennants and four world championships, retiring with 2,063 victories. He was named National League Manager of the Year six times and elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983. Broadcaster Vin Scully said, "Walter was quiet and very controlled. He never made excuses. He gave the players the credit and he took the blame. He was so solid, so American."

For his life story and managerial career, go to Skills and Strategies

Evan Longoria Keeps Home Run Streak Going in Rays' 5-2 Win

Evan Longoria continued to excel in a season that did not go well for the Tampa Bay Rays. On September 17 in Baltimore, he homered, tripled and scored three runs to help the Rays beat the Orioles 5-2. Despite the Rays' poor season, Longoria put up impressive numbers down the stretch. He homered in three straight games and four of the last six. Hitting over 35 homers, he passed Jose Canseco for the single-season franchise record for a right-handed batter. "I'm seeing the ball pretty well right now," Longoria said. He led off the 6th inning by hitting a long fly ball outside the left-field foul pole. He then sent the next pitch over the center-field wall.

For the story, go to Newsletter

White Sox Promote Bench Coach Rick Renteria as Manager

Rick Renteria is getting a second chance to manage in Chicago, this time on the South Side. The White Sox promoted Renteria from bench coach to replace Robin Ventura on October 3, hoping he can help turn around a struggling franchise. Renteria takes over a team with one playoff appearance since the 2005 championship year. He said, "We want to field a team that plays smart baseball and competes hard each and every day in a way that makes White Sox fans proud of our team's effort." Renteria also thanked Ventura and singled out his former boss for 'unmatched' class and professionalism.

To read, go to Newsletter

Addison Russell's Sliding Catch Caps Cubs' August Success

Addison Russell's sliding catch near the left field line typified the Chicago Cubs' spectacular play during the month of August. Russell's catch to end the seventh inning preserved a three-run lead that loomed large on August 31, as the Cubs held on for a 6-5 win over the Pirates at windy Wrigley Field. From his shortstop position, Russell caught up to the ball in time to make a sliding catch. "It was more like a running, one-legged jump slide," he said. "I had to track the ball into my glove, not knowing where the foul line is. I kind of put my head down."

For the story, go to Newsletter

Adam Wainwright Tosses Gem After Cards Celebrate W.S. Title

No doubt, Adam Wainwright was motivated by a pregame ceremony to honor the 2006 World Series champions. The 6-foot-7 inch right-hander got the final out that season as the Cardinals' stand-in closer, as St. Louis cruised to a 5-0 victory over the Miami Marlins. Wainwright (9-5) struck out five hitters and two walks and didn't allow a hit until Adeiny Hechavarria doubled to open the sixth inning. Wainwright and his catcher Yadier Molina are the only two remaining Cardinals players from the 2006 title team. Jhonny Peralta homered and Stephen Piscotty had two hits, a walk and two RBIs for St. Louis.

For the story, go to Feature Stories

Nationals Record First 3-3-5 Triple Play in MLB History

The Washington Nationals turned the first triple play in its 12-season history, holding on in the eighth inning to help preserve a strong outing by Max Scherzer and defeat the San Francisco Giants 4-1 on July 29. The Giants loaded the bases in the eighth inning with two walks and a single. Brandon Crawford lined an 0-1 pitch from Sammy Soltis to first baseman Ryan Zimmerman who quickly stepped on first base for the second out then threw to third baseman Anthony Rendon to catch Denard Span to complete the triple play. It was the first 3-3-5 triple play in history.

To read and view, go to Feature Stories

Rookie Phenom Gary Sanchez Hits 20 Home Runs in 51 Games

Gary Sanchez is hitting home runs at a record pace for a rookie. The catcher connected for a two-run homer off David Price in the first inning, and the Yankees beat the Red Sox 6-4 on September 27. Brought up from the minors on August 3, Sanchez matched Wally Berger of the 1930 Boston Braves as the fastest major leaguer to reach 20 home runs, accomplishing the feat in 51 games. "Everybody on the team calls home run when he steps up there," said Tyler Austin, who broke a 4-all tie in the seventh inning with a two-run homer off Price. The 23-year-old Sanchez was batting .316, as of September 27, with 42 RBIs.

For the story, go to Feature Stories

Gio Gonzalez Earns 100th Victory as Nationals Beat Rockies

On a night when Gio Gonzalez earned his 100th career win, the Nationals starter deflected praise to his teammates. There was plenty to go around after Washington beat the Colorado Rockies 8-5 on August 26. Gonzalez became the fourth player to earn his 100th win in a Nationals uniform joining Livan Hernandez, Jason Marquis, and Max Scherzer. Gonzalez threw six innings and allowed two runs and four hits. "Gio kept his pitch count low," said Nats' manager Dusty Baker. "That's the key to his success, not getting runners on base or not walking people.

For article, go to Newsletter

Pitchers Are Using Bigger, More Traditional Wind-ups

A major change continues to occur in the game of baseball. A growing number of major league pitchers are using bigger and more traditional styles in winding up. They have switched from the no-wind-up delivery used by most pitchers the past couple of decades. Among the many hurlers using a traditional wind-up are Adam Wainwright, one of baseball's most dominant pitchers, pictured here with Tom Seaver; Max Scherzer, Matt Moore, John Lackey, and Francisco Liriano. Featured in BPA's sequence-series photo section are five former pitching greats: Steve Carlton, Bob Gibson, Jack Morris, Billy Pierce, and Sonny Siebert.

To read and view, go to Coaching Clinic

Royals' Danny Duffy Loses No-Hit Bid in 8th, Strikes Out 16

Danny Duffy pitched eight innings of one-hit ball and had a franchise-record 16 strikeouts to lead the Kansas City Royals to a 3-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on August 1. Duffy (7-2) flirted with the Royals' first no-hitter in nearly 25 years before giving up a line drive double to Desmond Jennings leading off the Tampa Bay eighth inning. "It was hittable, a good pitch to hit," Jennings said of the fastball he hit into the left-field corner. Bret Saberhagen pitched the Royals' last no-hitter on August 26, 1991, and Zack Greinke owned Kansas City's strikeout record of 15 on August 25, 2009.

For the article, go to Major League

Baker, Roberts 1st Opposing Black Managers in Playoff Series

The National League Division Series between Dusty Baker's Washington Nationals and Dave Roberts' Los Angeles Dodgers is the first postseason matchup in Major League history involving two black managers. "It gives us some pride, in being African-American, to show people that not only can we do the job, but we can do the job better than most, especially this year," said Baker, pictured here with Roberts at Nationals Park. "Hopefully, it motivates other organizations to get some African-American managers, also to motivate other players that are playing now."

To read, go to News Release

With Pinpoint Sinker, Zach Britton Raises Cy Young Award Chances

On his visit with the Baltimore Orioles to Yankee Stadium on August 26, Zach Britton sat in the left-field bullpen and waited for his chance to close out a victory. Britton has never closed out a World Series, so he is unlike Mariano Rivera in obvious ways. Yet in his manner of dominating the late innings, Britton is probably the closest thing to Rivera who retired in 2013. He does it all with one devastating pitch, the sinker, a 96-mile-per-hour anvil that hitters simply cannot lift. Over time, Britton learned to manipulate the grip and make the ball cut when he wants to.

To read and view, go to News Release

William P. Kinsella, Author of 'Shoeless Joe', Dies at 81

William P. Kinsella, who wrote "Shoeless Joe," the novel that became the basis for the 1989 movie "Field of Dreams," and the author of numerous baseball short stories, and poetry collections, died on September 16. He was 81. Kinsella's works were known for their affection toward baseball, with characters and plots frequently set with a magical realism. "I just think magically, I always have," said Kinsella. In "Field of Dreams", Kevin Costner played a corn farmer in Iowa who hears a voice that he interprets as a directive to build a baseball diamond in his fields, which he does.

For the story, go to Feature Stories

Baseball: Sharing the Game I Love with My Sons

The trophy is smaller than the memory it represents, wrote Carter Gaddis in Life of Dad.Com. Affixed to a low wooden block, the gold-painted figurine of a right-handed batter stands poised and ready to swing. Ready to play baseball. But the title still shines in gold, all-caps lettering on the front: HOW TO PLAY BASEBALL. Inside the front cover: To Carter and Jamie, From Daddy, Christmas 1976. The book was published by the Sporting News and written by Don Weiskopf. I learned about baseball fundamentals and strategy from that book.

For the article, go to Newsletter

Sacramento River Cats Manager Jose Alguacil a Rising Star

The year 2016 marked Jose Alguacil's first season managing at the Triple-A level, and he admits there has been a steep learning curve. "Control what you can control," said the manager of the Sacramento River Cats. The 43-year-old native of Venezuela spent six season (1993-98) as an infielder in the San Francisco Giants farm system and returned to the organization in 2007 to work as a roving instructor. Alguacil's promotion to Sacramento shows the esteem in which the Giants organization holds him. General manager Bobby Evans said that Alguacil has great potential because he is a "very positive person who is always learning."

For the story, go to Minor League

Astros' Alex Bregman Is USA TODAY Sports' MiLB Player of Year

Alex Bregman, who later was called up to the Houston Astros, has been named USA TODAY Sports MiLB Player of the Year. He follows in a recent pattern set by current major league stars Kris Bryant (2014 winner) and Xander Bogaerts (2013). "Versatility on the field is a big part of my game," said Bregman. "If I can play third base and help this team and go to the playoffs and hopefully win, that would be a dream come true." That's the kind of attitude that convinced the Astros they couldn't pass up on Bregman. He has shown an ability to adapt.

For the article, go to Minor League

MiLB Attendance Tops 41.3 Million in 2016

A total of 41, 377,202 fans passed through the gates at Minor League Baseball games in 2016, marking the 12th consecutive year the organization drew over 41 million fans. The 2016 season saw eight teams set single-season franchise attendance records and seven set franchise records for largest single-game attendance. The 176 Minor League Baseball clubs across 15 leagues combined to record the ninth-largest attendance total in Minor League Baseball history. Pictured here, is a crowd enjoying a mid-summer sunset at Sacramento's Raley Field on July 23.

To read, go to Minor League

Rawlings, Minors Announce 2016 Gold Glove Award Winners

Minor League Baseball and Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc., have announced Minor League Baseball's recipients of the 2016 Rawlings Gold Glove Award for defensive excellence at their positions. The honorees were selected among qualifying players from the 10 domestic-based, full-season Minor Leagues. Each player will receive his own Rawlings Gold Glove Award, modeled after the iconic award given to Major League Baseball's top defensive players, during the 2017 season. To be eligible, players must have participated in one of the 10 domestic-based, full-season leagues.

For the article, go to Minor League

Phils' Dylan Cozens Wins 2016 Joe Bauman Award

Minor League Baseball has named Reading Fightin Phils right fielder Dylan Cozens winner of the 2016 Joe Bauman Award, presented by Musco Sports LIghting. In his first full season with Reading, Cozens hit 40 home runs. His teammate Rhys Hoskins hit 38 home runs. Cozens will be honored as Minor League Baseball's home run king at the Baseball Winter Meetings in December with a trophy and a check for $8,000 representing $200 for each home run he hit. The award is named for Joe Bauman, who set a then-professional record with 72 home runs in 1954 while playing for the Roswell Rockets.

For the story, go to Minor League

Las Vegas' T.J. Rivera Wins Pacific Coast League Batting Crown

T.J. Rivera entered the Triple-A Las Vegas' season finale on September 5 with a .350 batting average, down four points in the Pacific Coast League batting race with teammate and Mets' fifth-ranked prospect Brandon Nimmo. Rivera, the New York Mets' No. 30 prospect, wasn't aware he was within reach of the title at the start, but his 51s teammates let him know before he sealed it with a double to center in his final at bat. Riding a stretch of three straight multi-hit games, Rivera went 3-for-5 and drove in two runs in Las Vegas' 7-1 win over Salt Lake to pass Nimmo and capture the crown by one point with a .353 batting average.

For the article, go to Minor League

Former Midwest League President George Spelius Dies at 83

Longtime Midwest League president George Spelius died Wednesday night, September 28, at the age of 83. He was elected president of the Midwet League in 1987 and served in that position until 2015, when he transitioned into a "president emeritus" with the Class A circuit. Over the past 25 years, Spelius has served on several committees of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, Inc. He was a fixture in the league for decades while he and his wife, Nancy, owned and operated a local flower shop in Beloit, Wisconsin.

For the story, go to Minor League

Rod Barajas Catches on Quickly as El Paso Chihuahuas Manager

While the lineups were being read for his El Paso Chihuahuas before the Triple-A National Championship in September against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, manager Rod Barajas couldn't help but, well, manage. Standing near home plate, he could see the big picture. Aware there wasn't going to be enough room for his entire roster and staff, he showed his team the way with just a hand signal. "It's great having an ex-catcher like himself," said El Paso backstop Austin Hedges. "He knows how to manage a team." Stepping away from the game for just one year, Barajas returned in 2014 and seamlessly transitioned from being a big league catcher to a Minor League manager.

For the story, go to Minor League

Hillcats' Francisco Mejia Extends Hit Streak to 50 Games

Francisco Mejia, the Cleveland Indians' No. 4 prospect, extended his hitting streak to 50 games, matching the Minor Leagues' longest in nearly a century. A postgame scoring decision changed a third-inning error to a double in Class A Advanced Lynchburg's 7-5, 10-inning loss to Winston-Salem on August 13. Mejia was 0-for1 when he hit a ball down the third-base line in the bottom of the third. Initially, the official scorer charged the third baseman with an error, but changed that decision upon extensive postgame review. Mejia's on-base streak would have been extended to 50 games regardless of the scoring decision.

For the story, go to Minor League

Toronto Blue Jays Drawing Support from All Over Canada

Michael Saunders, an outfielder for the Toronto Blue Jays, is uniquely qualified to explain how Canada's love for major league teams have cultivated a strong following among baseball fans all across the country. Blue Jays reliever Jason Grilli said, "It is a unique situation. There is one team in Canada that everyone here supports. People don't know what it's like until they experience a game here and see the support." A winning team always helps, and Toronto was in the postseason for a second consecutive year after a dry spell that stretched back to the team's most recent World Series title in 1993.

For the article, go to World Baseball

USA Wins Gold Medal at Pan American "AAA" Championships

The USA Baseball 18U National Team defeated Cuba, 6-1, to win the gold medal at the 2016 CPABE Pan American "AAA" Championships in Monterrey, Mexico. Hans Crouse (Dana Point, Calif.) dominated on the mound for Team USA and threw a no-hitter through 4.2 innings. Cuba was awarded the silver medal, while Mexico received the bronze. After the game, Team USA players and staff received their gold medals. Jarred Kelenic (Waukesha, Wisconsin) received the award for MVP for his heroics at the plate. In another story, USA Baseball 18U National Team Loses to Mexico, 2-1.

To read, go to World Baseball

Alex Bregman Stars for U.S., But World Wins All-Star Futures Game

For the first seven innings of the All-Star Futures Game on July 10, Alex Bregman, pictured here, and the United States team looked unstoppable. The Houston Astros prospect had a triple, double and single in his first three at-bats. The World team, however, scored nine runs in the final two innings to turn a close game into a 11-3 rout, and end the U.S.'s six-game winning streak. Bregman got one more chance to get the elusive home run, against a pitcher he hit one against on July 4 playing for Class AAA Fresno, left-hander Adalberto Mejia. He struck out, much to the dismay of his teammates.

For the article, go to World Baseball

New York Defeats South Korea to Win Little League W.S. Title

When winning pitcher Ryan Harlost got Mincho Choi to chase a curveball away for the final out, Maine-Endwell's 12A Little League team had defeated South Korea 2-1, August 28, at Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Harlost's powerful right arm kept South Korea's lineup honest and his off-speed stuff often finished at-bats. He also contributed at the plate. A worldwide tournament that started in June with 7,500 teams now has a champion, one that hails from a pair of small towns in the Southern Tier of New York, their combined populations falling just short of 17,000.

For the story, go to News Release

Masahiro Tanaka Walks Off to Standing Ovation in Latest Win

As he walked off the field on September 5, Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka looked into the stands at Yankee Stadium and tipped his cap at the standing ovation. The Yankees were on their way to a 5-3 win against the division-leading Toronto Blue Jays. Tanaka is having one of the best seasons of any pitcher in the American League. He is the fifth pitcher in Yankees history to win at least 12 games in each of his first three major league seasons. He's 37-16 in his career for the highest winning percentage among active pitchers with at least 50 decisions.

For the article, go to World Baseball

Hiroshima Carp Clinches 1st Central League Title Since 1991

The Hiroshima Carp ended a 24-year-pennant drought on Saturday, September 10, when they clinched their first Central League championship since 1991 with a 6-4 win over the Yomiuri Giants at the Tokyo Dome. Ryuhei Matsuyama is pictured here, slugging a solo home run, giving his team the lead in the fourth inning. "This is the greatest," said Hiroshima manager Koichi Ogata, whose team overturned a two-run lead to win on enemy turf. Veteran pitcher Hiroki Kurodo was the winning pitcher in the pennant clincher. He had turned down a lucrative contract with the Yankees to return in 2015 to the Carp.

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Dodger Stadium to Host 2017 World Baseball Classic Finals

The premier event in international baseball is coming to Los Angeles next year. Dodger Stadium will host the championship round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Marlins Park and Petco Park are also hosting games leading up to the final on March 22. Japan and South Korea competed in the 2009 WBC championship game at Dodger Stadium, one of the most joyful events held there. Japan won the first two editions of the WBC and the Dominican Republic won the third. The 16-team tournament opens March 7 with first-round games in Miami, Tokyo, Seoul and Guadalajara, Mexico.

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The Right Role for Performance-Enhancing Drugs

The Balco scandal, which exploded in 2003, was a landmark event in the history of sport because it revealed for the first time how pervasive the use of PEDs was among elite athletes, including Major League Baseball players Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi. Don H. Catlin, MD, founded the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory, the first anti-doping lab in the United States. it is now the world's largest testing facility for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Dr. Catlin served as the laboratory director for 25 years. Another story is The Effects of Performance-Enhancing Drugs on an Athlete

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Coastal Carolina Gary Gilmore Named National Coach of the Year

After leading Coastal Carolina to its first-ever trip to the 2016 College World Series, Chanticleer head baseball coach Gary Gilmore has been named to National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association National Coach of the Year. The Chants have won 841 games during Gilmore's tenure and arrived in Omaha winners of 15 of their last 16 games, including a 5-1 mark in NCAA Tournament play. NCBWA Executive Director Bo Carter said, "Congratulations to Coach Gilmore on his first NCBWA National Coach of the Year award and getting his Chanticleers to Omaha," said NCBWA Executive Director Bo Carter.

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Andrew Beckwith, Coastal Carolina, Wins Gregg Olson Award

Coastal Carolina's Andrew Beckwith has been named the winner of the 2016 Gregg Olson Award for Breakout Player of the Year. The crowning of Beckwith as the winner was somewhat unexpected as the hurler had not been named on either the semifinalist or finalist lists. However, the incredible post-season performances has left little question that the Chanticleer pitching ace was deserving of the award. Beckwith saved his best and most impressive performances for the end of the season on the nation's biggest stage with a pair of phenomenal pitching performances in Omaha at the College World Series.

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College Graduates in Baseball a Rare Breed

College commencement ceremonies and Major League Baseball games are staples of American life in May. Only a small number of men can say they have participated in both. As of May 17, 2012, 917 players had appeared in at least one big-league game this season, according to STATS LLC. Of that group, only 39 --- or 4.3 percent --- were confirmed by their teams of MLB as having obtained four-year college degrees. Curtis Granderson's degree in business management and business marketing is about as impressive as the MVP-caliber numbers Granderson posted for the New York Yankees in 2011.

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Teurlings' Mike Thibodeaux Is National HS Baseball Coach of Year

Mike Thibodeaux, Teurlings Catholic baseball coach, will receive the ABCA/Diamond Division II high school baseball coach of the year award. He guided Teurlings to the Class 4A state championship and a top 25 national ranking. The Rebels finished No. 8 in MaxPreps.com and No. 9 in the USA Today Super 25. Teurlings finished the season with a record 35-4 mark and the school's sixth state title with a 3-2 victory over West Ouachita. Thibodeaux stated that, "It's not about trophies or the rings, but the opportunity to play the game of baseball and to play it at a high level."

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Kyle Muller Wins Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year

Kyle Muller of Jesuit College Prep high school in Dallas has won the 2015-16 Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year Award. The 6-foot-7, 245-pound left-handed pitcher and outfielder led the Rangers to a 34-8-2 record and the Class 6A Region 2 title. An elite hitting prospect, Muller batted .396 with 15 home runs, 52 RBI, and swiping 20 bases in 21 attempts, through 44 games. He set a national high school record by striking out 33 consecutive hitters last March. Muller has a low-to-mid-90s fastball and quality off-speed pitches.

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Santa Barbara Defeats Hays 6-2 to Win NBC World Series Title

Santa Barbara tied the NBC record with its sixth World Series championship, defeating Hays 6-2 on Saturday, August 13, at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. The Foresters equaled the number of titles won by Fairbanks, Alaska. Santa Barbara manager Bill Pintard said, "I remember them all, the teams of '08, '11, '12 and '14. This one was really, really sweet." Hays, which has never won an NBC World Series, finished second for the fifth time. Hays' Friday win over the Kansas Stars, a team of former major league players, lasted 17 innings. Santa Barbara followed that game with a 12-inning win over San Diego.

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Texarkana, Arkansas Post 58 Wins 2016 American Legion World Series Title

Texarkana, Arkansas, Post 58 won its first American Legion Baseball World Series title on August 16 in front of 8,500 spectators at Keeter Stadium in Shelby, North Carolina. The Razorbacks (42-5) rallied from a 4-0 deficit against Rowan County Post 342. Texarkana won the game with a four-run 12th inning, escaping a late comeback attempt to win 8-6 for the state's first ALWS title. Nick Myers hit a tie-breaking two-run single in the top of the 12th inning and teammate Parker Ribble followed with a two-run double to give Post 58 an 8-4 lead.

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