Beltran announces retirement after 20-year MLB career

Twenty-year MLB veteran Carlos Beltran is going out on top, announcing his retirement Monday after winning his first World Series title earlier this month. (Photo by Charles Krupa/The Associated Press)

Former Lansing Lugnuts outfielder Carlos Beltran announced his retirement Monday after playing parts of 20 seasons in the major leagues, capped by a World Series title won by his last team, the Houston Astros, earlier this month.

After appearing in 14 games with the Kansas City Royals in September 1998, Beltran won the American League Rookie of the Year award in his first full season. He batted .293 with 22 HR, 108 RBI and 27 SB in 156 games with the ’99 Royals. He ended up playing for seven different MLB teams during his career, collecting 2,725 hits, 435 home runs, and 1,587 RBI to go with a .279 batting average along the way.

In addition to winning the Rookie of the Year award, Beltran was a nine-time All-Star, won three Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger awards, and twice finished in the top 10 in voting for Most Valuable Player awards.

Though he fell short of 3,000 hits and 500 homers — milestones that go a long way toward helping players get into the Baseball Hall of Fame (though that’s not a guarantee anymore) — Beltran certainly will be a strong candidate when he becomes eligible for the HOF five years from now.

Beltran is already in a baseball hall of fame — the Lansing Lugnuts Hall of Fame. Although he batted only .143 (6-for-42) with two doubles, a stolen base, a walk, and 11 strikeouts in 11 games with the ’96 ‘Nuts, his subsequent major-league achievements led to him being one of three former Lansing players chosen for the team’s inaugural HOF class in 2010. (Carlos Zambrano and Brian Dopirak were the other two.)

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Posted in Baseball Hall of Fame, Gold Glove Awards, Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League | Leave a comment

Two ex-MWLers on Baseball HOF’s Modern Baseball Era ballot

Former MLB pitcher Jack Morris signs his autograph during a 2014 game at South Bend’s Four Winds Field. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Nine former major-league players and one former executive are the 10 people on the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Modern Baseball Era ballot to be voted upon December 10 at the Baseball Winter Meetings. Two of them played in the Midwest League.

The former players on the ballot are Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Ted Simmons, Luis Tiant and Alan Trammell. Also on the ballot is Marvin Miller, the influential leader of the players union from 1966 to 1982.

John and Simmons played in the Midwest League.

John was an 18-year-old pitching prospect for the Cleveland Indians when he suited up for the 1961 Dubuque Packers, his first professional baseball team. He went 10-4 with a 3.17 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 88 innings (14 games/13 starts). He made one more appearance in the Midwest League, 24 years later, when he made a six-inning rehab start for the 1985 Madison Muskies.

Simmons also played in the Midwest League during his first year as a professional ballplayer. The then-St. Louis Cardinals prospect batted .269 with 4 HR and 34 RBI in 47 games with the 1967 Cedar Rapids Cardinals. The future MLB catcher played 37 games in the outfield and 12 behind the plate while in the Midwest League.

Posted in Baseball Hall of Fame, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Madison Muskies, Midwest League, South Bend Silver Hawks | Leave a comment

Reds sign former TinCaps closer to minor-league deal

The Cincinnati Reds reportedly have signed former San Diego Padres reliever Kevin Quackenbush to a minor-league deal that includes an invitation to big-league camp at spring training.

“Q” split the past four seasons between San Diego’s major-league and Triple-A teams. This year he went 0-2 with a 7.86 ERA, 23 strikeouts and 16 walks in 26.1 innings (20 appearances) for the Padres, and 4-1 with a 3.90 ERA, four saves, 24 strikeouts and nine walks in 27.2 innings (20 appearances) for the El Paso Chihuahuas.

He spent half the 2011 season with the Fort Wayne TinCaps, and dominated Midwest League batters during that time. He went 1-1 with a 0.84 ERA, nine saves, 38 strikeouts and six walks in 21.1 innings (18 appearances) for the TinCaps.

Posted in El Paso Chihuahuas, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Midwest League, Pacific Coast League | Leave a comment

Parrish named manager of West Michigan Whitecaps

Former Detroit Tigers catcher Lance Parrish will manage the team’s Midwest League affiliate next year.

Parrish takes the reins of the West Michigan Whitecaps after four seasons at the helm of the Erie SeaWolves, Detroit’s Double-A affiliate in the Eastern League. He also has managed in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, including the Great Lakes Loons in 2007. (That was Great Lakes’ inaugural season, and the team included Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jensen and Carlos Santana. They went 57-82.)

Parrish’s coaching experience also includes six seasons with Detroit’s major-league club, from 1999 to 2001 and 2003 to 2005. He played 1,988 games over 19 seasons in the big leagues, was named to eight MLB All-Star teams, and won six Silver Slugger awards and three Gold Glove awards.

(He is not to be confused with fellow former major-leaguer Larry Parrish, who managed the Whitecaps to a 69-70 record in 2013. They are not related, and neither played in the Midwest League.)

Parrish replaces 2017 Whitecaps skipper Mike Rabelo, who was named the Midwest League Manager of the Year after leading West Michigan to an impressive 91-45 record during the regular season. (The 2017 Whitecaps recently were named the best team in Minor League Baseball this year, via fan vote and MiLB staff selection.) Rabelo will manage the High-A Lakeland Flying Tigers next year.

Andrew Graham replaces Parrish as manager of the SeaWolves. He managed the Whitecaps from 2014 to 2016, winning the Midwest League championship title in 2015. He was skipper of the Flying Tigers in 2017.

The 2018 season will be the Whitecaps’ 25th.

The West Michigan Whitecaps’ “25 Seasons” logo.

Posted in 2015 Playoffs, Eastern League, Erie SeaWolves, Florida State League, Gold Glove Awards, Great Lakes Loons, Lakeland Flying Tigers, Midwest League, West Michigan Whitecaps | Leave a comment

Angels sign former South Bend OF Upton to 5-year contract

Former South Bend Silver Hawks outfielder Justin Upton has agreed to terms on a five-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels, who acquired the veteran player from the Detroit Tigers in late August.

He batted .245 with 7 HR and 15 RBI in 27 games with the Angels, after hitting .279 with 28 HR and 94 RBI in 125 games with the Tigers this year.

Upton began his professional career in the Midwest League, batting .263 with 12 HR, 66 RBI and 15 SB in 113 games with the 2006 Silver Hawks.

Sano to undergo surgery

Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will undergo surgery later this month to help him recover from a stress reaction in his left shin. A rod will be inserted to help strengthen his lower leg.

The Twins expect him to be ready for the start of the 2018 season.

Sano was the Midwest League Prospect of the Year in 2012, when he batted .258 with 28 HR and 100 RBI in 129 games with the Beloit Snappers. This year — his third in the major leagues — he batted .264 with 28 HR and 77 RBI in 114 games with the Twins, and was named to his first MLB All-Star Game.

Miguel Sano slugs a 3-run homer for the Beloit Snappers in 2012. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Posted in Beloit Snappers, Midwest League, South Bend Silver Hawks | Leave a comment