In 2001, the Chicago White Sox traded RHP James Baldwin to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
This week, the White Sox signed his son, OF James Baldwin III, who recently was released by the Dodgers.
I like the reverse symmetry of those moves. I also like that they both played in the Midwest League.
In 1992, the elder Baldwin went 9-5 with a 2.42 ERA and 137 strikeouts in 137.2 IP for the South Bend White Sox, who were managed by current Cleveland Indians skipper Terry Francona. (South Bend’s franchise history is like an Arizona burger on a Chicago bun. The club was affiliated with the White Sox from its inaugural season of 1988 through 1996, was aligned with the Diamondbacks from 1997 to 2014, and now is in the first year of a four-year player-development contract with the Cubs.)
The younger Baldwin spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons patrolling center field for the Great Lakes Loons. He cumulatively batted .222 with 14 HR, 89 RBI and 95 SB in 241 Midwest League games. He spent the 2014 season with the Dodgers’ High-A affiliate in Rancho Cucamonga and is expected to start the 2015 season with one of Chicago’s Class A affiliates.
Gordon likely bound for Cedar Rapids
In keeping with this post’s theme of Midwest League fathers and sons, I’m shifting focus to the Gordon family.
Minnesota Twins SS prospect Nick Gordon, last year’s 5th overall draft pick, is expected to start the season with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. He batted .294 with 1 HR, 28 RBI and 11 SB in 57 games in the rookie-level Appalachian League last year.
Gordon has some big footsteps to follow in the Midwest League, as both his father (Tom) and his brother (Dee) are former MWL prospects of the year. (Dee also was a co-winner of the Midwest League MVP award.)
Tom “Flash” Gordon dominated the Midwest League in 1988 with a 2.06 ERA and 172 strikeouts in 118 IP for the Appleton Foxes. He made his major-league debut in September of that year and went on to pitch for eight different teams over 21 MLB seasons.
Dee Gordon was born the year Flash pitched in the Midwest League. He batted .301 with 3 HR, 35 RBI and 73 SB in 131 games with the 2009 Great Lakes Loons. The middle infielder made his major-league debut with the Dodgers in 2011. He was traded to the Miami Marlins in December.