Top 100 Baseball Blog

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Sports Turf Managers Association, Minor League Baseball Announce 2017 'Sports Turf Managers of the Year' Sponsored by STMA and John Deere

Four Groundskeepers Honored at Baseball Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla.December 11

(LAWRENCE, Kan.)Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) and Minor League Baseball (MiLB) award the 2017‘Sports Turf Managers of the Year’ sponsored by STMA and John Deere.

This year, three of four honorees are first time winners; demonstrating that excellent groundskeepers are continually proving and developing as top-notch practitioners nationwide. Award recipients will receive this top honor at the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings Banquet on Monday, Dec. 11, at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Award winners include:
·         Triple-A – Matt Parrott, Charlotte Knights (Charlotte, N.C.)
·         Double-A – Ray Sayre, Pensacola Blue Wahoos(Pensacola, Fla.)
·         Single-A – Mike Williams, Charleston RiverDogs (Charleston, S.C.)
·         Short Season or Rookie,Ryan Olszewski, Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Niles, Ohio)

“Our minor league memberscontinually demonstrate uniqueness and skill while maintaining safe and playable surfaces," says Kim Heck, CAE, CEO of STMA. “The high-qualitysubmissions illustrate the individual meritsfor winners and we’re proud to honor their truly fantastic results.”

Out of the four winners, Matt Parrott is the only two-time winner of this award. In 2011, he earned the ‘Double-A Sports Turf Manager of the Year’award as a member of the Bowie Baysox. Parrott’s accolades include‘Eastern League Diamond Pro Sports Field Manager of the Year’ (2011, 2014 and 2015).

Ray Sayre was recognized as ‘2017 Southern League Groundskeeper of the Year’for the fifth straight season (2013 – 2017). Hired by the Philadelphia Phillies as Head Groundskeeper at their Carpenter Complex in Clearwater, Fla. at the beginning of October, Sayre previously supported the Pensacola Blue Wahoos as Head Groundskeeper for seven years.

Mike Williams, a professional groundskeeper since 1993, has worked for the Charleston RiverDogs since 2006. Accolades include ‘1994 Eastern League Groundskeeper of the Year,’‘1994-95 Beam Clay Professional Field of the Year’ and ‘South Atlantic League Sports Turf Manager of the Year’ (2009, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2017). The RiverDogs’ playing surface, Riley Park, has been named ‘South Atlantic League Best Playing Field of the Year’ each year Williams was honored as ‘Sports Turf Manager of the Year.’

Ryan Olszewskicompleted his third season with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers as Head Groundskeeper & Assistant Director of Stadium Operations. He and his staff worked more than 155 total on-field events and demonstrated expert planning, preparation and work ethic. Olszewski joined the team from the Akron Aeros/Rubberducks.

Since 2000, STMA and MiLB have honored members who manage fields in Triple-A, Double-A, Single-A and Short Season or Rookie divisions. Winners are selected via a 13-member awards committee, compiled by STMA. Each nominee is independently scored on cultural practices, game day routine, resource utilization, staff management and the groundskeeper's involvement and support of the sports turf industry.

Download high-resolution facility and personnel images here.

Andy Tabor, Buffalo.Agency, 703.891.3394,
Jeff Lantz, Minor League Baseball, 727.456.1703, | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram| LinkedIn
More information: 800.323.3875.
About STMA
STMA is the not-for-profit, professional association for men and women who manage sports fields worldwide. Since 1981, the association and its 34 local chapters have been providing education, information and sharing practical knowledge in the art and science of sports field management. Its more than 2,600 members oversee sports fields and facilities at schools, colleges and universities, parks and recreational facilities, and professional sports stadiums.

About Minor League Baseball
Minor League Baseball, headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida, is the governing body for all professional baseball teams in the United States, Canada and the Dominican Republic that are affiliated with Major League Baseball® clubs through their farm systems. Fans are coming out in unprecedented numbers to this one-of-a-kind experience that can only be found at Minor League Baseball ballparks. In 2017, Minor League Baseball attracted 41.8 million fans to its ballparks to see the future stars of the sport hone their skills. From the electricity in the stands to the excitement on the field, Minor League Baseball has provided affordable family-friendly entertainment to people of all ages since its founding in 1901. For more information, visit

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Monday, October 30, 2017

South Atlantic League President Eric Krupa Named Warren Giles Award Winner

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida — Minor League Baseball announced today that it has selected South Atlantic League President Eric Krupa as the recipient of the 34th annual Warren Giles Award, which honors outstanding service as a league president.

The Warren Giles Award has been presented annually since 1984 and is named for the long-time baseball executive who served as the National League president from 1951 to 1969. Krupa will receive his award at the Baseball Winter Meetings Banquet on Sunday, Dec. 10, at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida.

“Eric Krupa has been an excellent leader for the South Atlantic League and his service on various Minor League Baseball committees, combined with his efforts to improve and promote our game cannot be overstated,” said Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O’Conner. “Going back to when Eric joined the National Association office, he has been a tremendous ambassador for Minor League Baseball and continues to do so as president of one of our strongest leagues. On behalf of Minor League Baseball, it is my pleasure to present Eric with this honor.”

“It is an honor to win this award and I am blessed with the opportunity to serve so many talented owners, general managers and their staffs,” said Krupa. “I want to thank the clubs in the South Atlantic League for their wonderful support over the past 10 years.”

Krupa became the South Atlantic League president in 2008, and sits on Minor League Baseball’s Charities Committee, previously serving on the MiLB Umpire Committee. In addition to overseeing the 14-team league, Krupa created and maintains a website ( that chronicles the charitable and philanthropic activity of Minor League Baseball clubs, showcasing the generous contributions of clubs across
the country and serving as a resource for clubs looking for new ideas to use in their communities. 

He pioneered the use of computer-generated schedules by Minor League Baseball leagues as he worked closely with the Applied Mathematics Department at Johns Hopkins University to create the program that generated the 2016 South Atlantic League schedule and is now used by several other leagues.

Following the 2013 season, Krupa worked with the Wendelstedt Umpire School to develop a set of charts to assist in the application of the rules related to regulation and suspended games (OBR 7.02). These charts provide an easy-to-use decision tree to ensure the proper application of the rules.

In 2016, Baseball Chapel awarded Krupa its prestigious Bowie Kuhn Award, which honors an individual, team or organization who demonstrates support of the chapel program in professional baseball.

During the 2017 season, Krupa and the South Atlantic League partnered with Force3 Pro Gear to offer SAL umpires the opportunity to wear the Force3 Defender mask in an effort to measure the effectiveness of the mask in reducing umpire injuries.

Prior to taking over as president of the South Atlantic League, Krupa spent 10 years as the Director of Business & Finance for the Minor League Baseball office in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he also served as the administrator of the Professional Baseball Umpire Corp. which oversaw recruiting, training and evaluation of all umpires throughout Minor League Baseball.

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Krupa earned his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Economics from Lafayette College in 1992 and earned a master’s degree in Sports Administration and Facility Management from Ohio University in 1996. Prior to attending Ohio University, Krupa interned and served as Visiting Clubhouse Manager for the Reading Phillies (now Fightin Phils) in 1995 and during grad school he interned with Walt Disney World Sports, where he assisted in the opening of the Disney Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Krupa and his wife, Melissa, have one daughter and reside in Safety Harbor, Florida.


1984 Charles Eshbach, Eastern League
1985 Bill Walters, Midwest League
1986 Joe Ryan, American Association
1987 Carl Sawatski, Texas League
1988 Harold Cooper, International League
1989 Jimmy Bragan, Southern League
1990 Joe Gagliardi, California League
1991 Chuck Murphy, Florida State League
1992 Bill Cutler, Pacific Coast League
1993 John Moss, South Atlantic League
1994 Randy Mobley, International League
1995 John Hopkins, Carolina League
1996 Freddy Jana, Dominican Summer League
1997 George Spelius, Midwest League
1998 Branch Rickey, Pacific Coast League
1999 Bob Richmond, Northwest League
2000 Bill Troubh, Eastern League
2001 Lee Landers, Appalachian League
2002 Randy Mobley, International League
2003 Tom Kayser, Texas League
2004 Saul Gonzalez, Venezuelan Summer League &
Mexican League
2005 Tom Saffell, Gulf Coast League
2006 Joe McEacharn, Eastern League
2007 John H. Moss, South Atlantic League
2008 Don Mincher, Southern League
2009 Ben Hayes, New York-Penn League
2010 George Spelius, Midwest League
2011 Chuck Murphy, Florida State League
2012 Bob Richmond, Northwest & Arizona Leagues
2013 Plinio Escalante, Mexican League
2014 Branch B. Rickey, Pacific Coast League
2015 Randy Mobley, International League
2016 John Hopkins, Carolina and Charlie Blaney, California

You can check me out on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @historianandrew

Friday, October 27, 2017

Brooklyn Cyclones Win Larry MacPhail Award For Top Promotional Effort

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida — Minor League Baseball announced today that the Brooklyn Cyclones of the Short Season Class-A New York-Penn League are the recipients of the 52nd annual Larry MacPhail Award, symbolizing the top promotional effort in Minor League Baseball.

The award has been presented since 1966 and is named after Hall of Famer Leland Stanford “Larry” MacPhail, Sr., who introduced innovations such as night baseball, airplane travel, pension plans and batting helmets. The Cyclones will receive their award at the Baseball Winter Meetings Banquet on Sunday, Dec. 10, at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida. The Cyclones are just the second New York-Penn League team to win the award, joining the Lowell Spinners (2000).

“On behalf of the entire Brooklyn Cyclones organization, we would like to thank Minor League Baseball for this prestigious honor,” said Cyclones Vice President Steve Cohen. “Our industry is filled with some of the most innovative and creative minds in the world, so to be singled out from the field of so many worthy nominees is truly humbling.”

The Cyclones’ combination of unique giveaways, theme nights, community programs and television/social media commercials led them to become the first Short Season franchise in history to draw over 200,000 fans for 16 consecutive years and they have led the New York-Penn League in attendance for the last 17 seasons. The Cyclones claimed Minor League Baseball Promotion of the Year honors in 2014 and 2015, and were nominated for a Golden Bobblehead Award (MiLB’s top promotional honor) in three separate categories in 2017. Since 2014, their 14 Golden Bobblehead Award nominations are more than any other team in Minor League Baseball.

“We are constantly challenging ourselves as a staff to make MCU Park even more fun and entertaining for our fans,” said Cyclones General Manager Kevin Mahoney. “This honor shows all of us that our dedication and attention to detail truly pays off. We are very fortunate to have an incredibly talented front office staff that truly embodies the hard work, loyalty and passion that is synonymous with the people of Brooklyn.”

“Year after year, the Brooklyn Cyclones host some of the most creative, entertaining and memorable promotional events in all of Minor League Baseball, events that are appealing to fans of all ages, both locally and across the country,” said Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O’Conner. 

“That the Cyclones have been nominated for more promotional awards than any other club over the last four seasons is a testament to their incredibly creative and talented staff, and their use of MCU Park for community and charitable events has been exemplary. On behalf of Minor League Baseball, I commend them on a job well done, not only for themselves, but also for the New York-Penn League and Minor League Baseball as a whole.”


1966 Spartanburg, Western Carolinas
1967 Rochester, International
1968 Cocoa, Florida State
1969 Hawaii, Pacific Coast
1970 Wichita, American Association/
Hawaii, PCL (Tie)
1971 Oklahoma City, American Assoc.
1972 San Antonio, Texas
1973 Tucson, Pacific Coast
1974 West Palm Beach, Florida State
1975 Tacoma, Pacific Coast
1976 El Paso, Texas/
Cedar Rapids, Midwest (tie)
1977 Columbus, OH, International
1978 Nashville, Southern
1979 Columbus, OH, International
1980 Nashville, Southern
1981 Nashville, Southern
1982 El Paso, Texas
1983 Arkansas, Texas
1984 Columbus, OH, International/
Billings, Pioneer (Tie)
1985 Richmond, International
1986 Iowa, American Association
1987 Albuquerque, Pacific Coast
1988 Birmingham, Southern
1989 Buffalo, American Association
1990 Richmond, International
1991 Salt Lake City, Pioneer
1992 Ft. Myers, Florida State
1993 El Paso, Texas
1994 Reading, Eastern
1995 Kane County, Midwest
1996 Wilmington, Carolina
1997 Rochester, International
1998 Charleston (SC), South Atlantic
1999 Reading, Eastern
2000 Lowell, New York-Penn
2001 Tennessee, Southern
2002 Lakewood, South Atlantic
2003 Trenton, Eastern
2004 Altoona, Eastern
2005 Brevard County, Florida State
2006 Round Rock, Pacific Coast
2007 West Michigan, Midwest
2008 Ogden, Pioneer
2009 Chattanooga, Southern
2010 New Hampshire, Eastern
2011 Lake Elsinore, California
2012 Wisconsin, Midwest
2013 Charleston, South Atlantic
2014 San Jose, California
2015 Akron, Eastern
2016 Midland, Texas

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Steve Kemp, The Former First Overall Draft Pick

Outfielder Steve Kemp was a can’t-miss prospect coming out of the University of Southern California in 1976. The first player taken in that year’s draft, he went to the Detroit Tigers and embarked on an 11-year major league career that didn’t take him to the Hall of Fame but was very solid nonetheless.

After being drafted, Kemp made quick work of the minor leagues. Hitting .328 with 19 home runs in his lone season for seasoning, he became a starter for the Tigers in 1977. The left-handed 22-year-old acquitted himself nicely, contributing a .257 batting average, 18 home runs and 88 RBIs in 151 games.

In 1979, he made his lone All Star appearance, hitting .318 with 26 home runs and 105 RBIs. It was good enough for 17th place in the MVP voting. Although he was well above average the following year, he never approached the same level of play and was traded to the Chicago White Sox prior to the 1982 season.

Kemp had his last above average season as a regular for the Sox. His .291 batting average and 19 home runs and 98 RBIs in 160 games earned him a fat five-year, 5.45 million dollar contract with the New York Yankees.

Unfortunately, Kemp never clicked in New York. His .306 slugging percentage against left-handed pitching in 1983 mean that he was relegated to more of a platoon role. The next year was much of the same, as he was productive against righties but anemic against southpaws. As his play declined, he also suffered a series of injuries. After bouncing to the Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers, his big league career was over following the 1988 season.

For his career, Kemp appeared in a total of 1,168 games and hit .278 with 130 home runs and 634 RBIs. He was particularly lethal against future Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley, has he had 16 hits (including 3 home runs and 6 doubles) in 39 career at-bats against him; good for a .410 batting average.

You can read more about Kemp and his career here and here. Also, keep reading for his answers to some specific questions he answered about his time in the game.

Steve Kemp Questionnaire:

If you could do anything about your career differently, what would that be?: Play in one place.

What was the strangest play you ever saw as a player?: George Brett’s pine tar game.

Who was your favorite coach or manager?: Ralph Houk.

What team had the best clubhouse food?: Detroit home clubhouse.

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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Catching Up With Former Boston Red Sox Outfielder Dwayne Hosey

In the 1990s the Boston Red Sox were feast or famine. They had some years where they made the playoffs (though they never went far) or they ranged from embarrassing to bland. With the team seemingly going in circles, the appearance of any promising young player was anxiously awaited by the eager fan base. A highly-regarded prospect from this era was outfielder Dwayne Hosey, who was called up with much fanfare in 1995 but was out of the majors by the end of the following season.

The switch-hitting Hosey was a 13th-round draft choice of the Chicago White Sox in 1987. A five-tool player, he developed slowly but had finally become a promising prospect by the time he reached the Boston system in 1995, five organizations and eight years after he started his professional career.

Part of what gave the Red Sox some excitement about acquiring Hosey off waivers (on August 31, 1995) was that in 1994 he had hit .333 with 27 home runs and 27 stolen bases in 112 games for the Kansas City Royals Triple-A affiliate. He followed that up by hitting .295 with 12 homers and 15 steals in 75 games with the same team in 1995, earning an immediate call-up to Boston as soon as he had been claimed.

Although rosters were watered down due to the waning moments of the season, the 28-year-old Hosey showed tantalizing ability, playing like a veteran from the outset. He appeared in 24 games and smashed three of his 12 extra base hits for home runs, while stealing six bags.

His debut was enough to earn him a regular roll the following year. Unfortunately, it was not mean to be. He hit just .212 with one home run in 28 games and spent most of the season with Triple-A Pawtucket.

Hosey never played in the majors again. He went to Japan in 1997, enjoying a spectacular inaugural season there and bounced around there, the minors and independent ball through the 2002 season. These days he is still involved in baseball. Keep reading for more from this former Sox player.

Dwayne Hosey Interview

Who was your favorite player when you were growing up, and why?: Ricky Henderson. He was the ultimate complete player without switch hitting.

Can you please talk a little bit about your experience in the 1987 draft?: I had not a clue about what was going on. My scout and friends had to explain to me what was about to happen. I didn't know about a minor league system.

What do you remember most about your first major league hit against Mark Langston?: All I was focusing on was staying inside Langston's cut fastball and breaking ball. He was a smooth operator and it was an honor to get my first hit against a stud like that.

In your opinion, who was the most talented player you ever played with or against? What made them stand out so much?: You know, I have to say there is great, amazingly great, and just unbelievable. The guy that I was star struck with was Bo Jackson. But I've seen incredible arms, speed, power and high average hitters. Defenders and mentally tough animals are another facet to enjoy. That's why it's called the SHOW.

What is your favorite moment from your baseball career?: Making that major league debut and post season with Boston, and winning the Japanese title, MVP and home run title in the same year.

What was your favorite ballpark/city to play in, and why?: Well I really appreciate all equally, but playing in Fenway with that Green Monster was historical for me.

If there is anything you could go back and do differently about your baseball career, what would that be?: I wouldn't have changed a thing. I had great mentors and coaches and teammates and fans that gave me great insight. So if I could go back. I'd listen to great sound advice all over again.

How nervous were you to play in Japan, and what was the experience actually like?: I wasn't nervous at all. I fully embraced the experience and couldn't get enough of it. 
What are you up to since retiring as a player?: I now own a baseball facility and youth baseball teams. 

You can check me out on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @historianandrew

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Important Takeaways From the 2017 Boston Red Sox's Regular Season

By all traditional metrics the 2017 Boston Red Sox have had a successful regular season. They head into the 162nd and final game of the season against the Houston Astros having already sewn up the American League East title and have a chance to notch their 94th victory of the year. Regardless of what happens in the final contest they will proceed to play those same Astros in the American League Divisional Series this coming week. In addition to the team’s unknown playoff destiny, what are some takeaways from this season? Let’s take a look.

They may have found the catcher of the future:

It appears that the team has moved on from former highly regarded (especially for his bat) catching prospect Blake Swihart in favor of more lightly regarded catching prospect Christian Vazquez (better known for his glove work). The plot twist has been that Vazquez has maintained his talented glove (42 percent caught stealing) while showing he may be better than advertised with the bat. His 91 OPS+ will not get him confused with the likes of Giancarlo Stanton but his .291 batting average in 98 games has meant the team has not needed to give pause about throwing him out there.

Vazquez has hit nearly equally well against lefties and righties (.748/.735 OPS split). One downside is that he has not fared so well with his home/road split (.915/.577). It is encouraging to see what he has done before and after All Star Break, where his OPS+ has gone from 78 to 118 in 49 games before and 49 games since. Now completing his 10th season with the organization, he is still just 27 and looks to be entrenched as the receiver who will be receiving the lion’s share of the time behind the plate moving forward.
The lineup misses David Ortiz. Badly:

This should come as no surprise, but the degree to which his absence has impacted the offense has been huge. With one game left, the 2017 team has scored 782 runs. The 2016 squad, which was Ortiz’s swan song, put up 878 runs. Only five current lineup regulars boast an OPS+ of at least 100 (considered league average), with Eduardo Nunez’s 129 mark well above runner up Rafael Dever’s 112. By comparison, the 40-year-old Ortiz posted a 164 OPS+ last year.

Dynamic young players like Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts have had solid but unremarkable seasons. They need to pick it up going forward if the team is to recapture previous excellence with their bats. The Red Sox currently lack a traditional slugger; the kind of hitter that is a consistent threat for 35+ home runs. It doesn’t appear that such a player is on their current roster or even in their minor league system, so getting creative in the offseason may be on the docket.

The Sox might have the best starting rotation in baseball in 2018:

Only those who have lived under a rock during these summer months can claim ignorance as to the greatness Chris Sale displayed in his first season with Boston. He is on the short list for the upcoming Cy Young vote and has dominated hitters in Boston unlike anyone since Pedro Martinez.

David Price missed more than half the season with injuries and is finishing out the year in the bullpen. However, he has pitched well (3.38 ERA and better than a strikeout an inning) when he has been able to toe a rubber. It’s a decent bet that the former Cy Young winner still has some tricks left up his sleeve.

A year after winning 22 games and the Cy Young, Rick Porcello has been atrocious. He has a 4.65 ERA and leads the league with 17 losses, 236 hits and 38 home runs allowed. While he may not approach his Cy Young level again, it’s also hard to imagine he will repeat this level of ineptitude. He appears healthy and will still be just 29 next year, suggesting that some simple adjustments may be all that’s needed to get him back to being the pitcher that has average 13 wins per year over his first nine seasons.

Much wailing and gnashing of teeth occurred around New England last year when the Sox shipped their top pitching prospect to the San Diego Padres for Drew Pomeranz; a talented but flawed lefty, who claimed a 22-31 record in parts of six seasons. He did little to ease fears in his time with the team last year, going just 4-5 with a 4.59 ERA in 14 games. It’s been a completely different story in 2017, as he has been an admirable number two to Sale, going 17-6 with a 3.32 ERA and 174 strikeouts. Still just 28, he is arbitration eligible and will be with the team at least one more year.

His numbers won’t blow you away but 24-year-old Eduardo Rodriguez made strides this year towards his potential as a top-flight young pitcher. He was 6-7 with a 4.19 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) but struck out 150 batters in 137.1 innings and his 3.97 FIP was nearly identical to that of his teammate Pomeranz (3.83). Rodriguez once again missed time with injuries and will need to stay on the field to continue moving forward. That being said, he can continue to develop while being stashed in the number five starter role.

You can check me out on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @historianandrew