Happy Groundhog Day! Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow this morning, which means there’s only 61 days left until the new Midwest League season starts …
… which brings us to Roger Maris, who hit 61 home runs in 1961. The New York Yankees star played for the Three-I League’s Keokuk Kernels in 1954, four years before the franchise moved to the Midwest League as the Keokuk Cardinals. He batted .315 with 32 HR in 134 games with the Kernels, who were a Cleveland Indians affiliate.
“Meet the Cubs” in Kane County
Kicking off their first year as a Chicago Cubs affiliate, the Kane County Cougars hosted a “Meet the Cubs” event Friday at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark. It was a cold, dark night there … at least on the field.
If you’re interested in reading about the event, check out Bruce Miles’ blog post for the Daily Herald and Kevin Druley’s account for the Kane County Chronicle. For those wondering about which Cubs prospects might be assigned to Kane County to start the season, here’s the pertinent passage from the Daily Herald piece:
Fans definitely want to know what players would be at Kane County. The Cubs aren’t committing to that yet, but as I tweeted, [Cubs exec Jason] McLeod did let an “Almora” slip during our media session. (He was setting up a hypothetical.) That would be last year’s No. 1 pick, Albert Almora, a center fielder. The brass termed him a “plus defender now” last night, and I’d bet on him starting the season at Kane County. Last month at the Northwestern minicamp, McLeod indicated that outfielder Jorge Soler would start at Class A Daytona because the Cubs want to push him. That could change.
Almora batted .321 with 2 HR, 19 RBI and 5 SB in 33 games split between the rookie-league Arizona League Cubs and the Class A- Boise Hawks. Baseball America recently named him the No. 2 prospect in the Cubs organization, behind Javier Baez, who is wearing a Peoria Chiefs uniform on the cover of the new issue of Vine Line, the official magazine of the Chicago Cubs.
Baez batted .333 with 12 HR, 33 RBI and 20 SB in 57 games with the Peoria Chiefs last year before getting promoted to the Class A+ Daytona Cubs.