Baldwin Moves On

Today we say goodbye to one of the mainstays of the Tacoma Rainiers for the last three years: pitcher Andy Baldwin.

Andy took timeout from dominating the Venezuelan Winter League (4-2 with a 2.03 ERA in 11 starts for Caribes) to let me know that he has signed a minor league free agent contract with the Minnesota Twins.

Baldwin is a  perfect match for the Twins organizational philosophy of developing pitchers who might not light up the radar gun, but who throw consistent strikes. Hopefully Baldwin will get a chance to open some eyes in spring training with his new employers.

With Tacoma the last three years, the rubber-armed Baldwin pitched often. Baldwin started games, he pitched in long relief, he did set-up work. He was constantly moved in-and-out of the starting rotation, preventing him from getting into any sort of routine, but he never publicly complained about it. He was the go-to guy when the Rainiers needed a pitcher due to an injury or a call-up: he started games on short rest, and he started games in doubleheaders when he had pitched in relief two days prior. A product of his Hood River High School and Oregon State University, Baldwin excelled in rainy and muddy conditions – obviously a key for the Rainiers in the early season. In three years with Tacoma, Baldwin never landed on the disabled list.

Baldwin left a pretty big mark on the Rainiers record book: he ranks in the Top-20 in most career pitching categories. His 25 Tacoma wins ranks 17th all-time (since 1960), and he ranks third in the Rainiers era – only Ryan Franklin (27) and Cha-Seung Baek (26) have more Tacoma wins since 1995.

Off the field, Baldwin enjoyed living in Tacoma, and made attempts to help his teammates embrace the city. Instead of living in an apartment complex off I-5, Baldwin chose to rent in downtown Tacoma, where he would explore the city. It’s too bad the Twins Triple-A affiliate plays in the International League, because I’m sure he’s curious to see what the new Cheney Stadium is going to look like.

Andy Baldwin

On another subject, over at the Tacoma Rainiers main website we have debuted a new feature that I think is pretty cool.

You can now look up the final official team stats for every Tacoma team since the franchise joined the Pacific Coast League in 1960. It’s right there, under the “stats” tab. The links take you to PDF files that are grouped by decade.

Looking for a particular player? Maybe you have a crazy uncle who claims he played for the 1973 Tacoma Twins? First, go to the “roster” tab, and hit the All-Time Tacoma Roster to get the years(s) the player played – every player who ever appeared in a PCL game for Tacoma is listed here. Then you can head over to the “stats” tab and check out the statistics.

I’m proud that we now have this information available for the public. It’s a project I started working on ten years ago, but I lost momentum on it. Special thanks to Ben Spradling for reviving the project, entering the last ten years of stats, formatting it, and getting it online.

And finally, on Sunday I watched the recently unearthed telecast of Game Seven of the 1960 World Series. It truly is one of the greatest games ever played, and the MLB Network did a wonderful job with the presentation – which Larry Stone detailed at the Seattle Times.

The broadcaster in me loved hearing Bob Prince and Mel Allen on the call, yet I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of internet firestorm Allen would be subjected to in today’s world – first with the foul ball call on Berra’s 3-run homer (a call that may have been affected by the sight lines at Forbes Field), and then missing the run that scored on Clemente’s infield hit (can’t even speculate what happened here). Broadcast mistakes happen*, and of course Allen had the fantastic delivery and was deservingly honored by the Hall of Fame.

As for Bob Prince, that may have been the greatest post-game show in the history of post-game shows.

A few links for you:

  • Ichiro did an interview in Japan in which he said a few interesting things – here’s the new writer Greg Johns with a summary.
  • Everett Herald write Kirby Arnold cracks a bunch of Mariners-related Christmas jokes on his blog. Warning: I make no guarantees as to the quality of said jokes.
  • From Albuquerque, we have a feature on new Isotopes manager Lorenzo Bundy.
  • It’s that time of the year when the Rainiers front office staff plans promotions for 2011. Hopefully they won’t have a disaster like this one.

Things may slow down here at the blog until the new year. I will have that long-promised historical post on the 1969 Tacoma Cubs later this week, but next week could be very quiet – most team offices in baseball close the week between Christmas and New Year’s, including the Rainiers. And then everyone re-opens on the first Monday in January, looks at the calendar, and yells “Holy smokes spring training is in six weeks!” Panic ensues. It’s a baseball tradition.

* In my very first broadcast, in college, I called a foul ball a home run – I got that one out of the way early. But just this past season I had an “It’s back, and… it’s gone! No it’s not!” I’m blown away by technically perfect broadcasters who never mis-speak or stumble, like Bob Costas and Rick Rizzs – I don’t know how they do it.


One Response to Baldwin Moves On

  1. Okobojicat says:

    I met Baldwin one night after a game. We were out at Doyle’s in Stadium and we were talking about a play at the plate. I don’t remember who, but he had slid into home and had gotten up really slowly and kind limped over to the dugout. We couldn’t figure out what happened because the ball had been up the 1B line and the C hadn’t hit him.

    Tall, skinny guy, torn bluejeans and tight white t-shirt pounding PBR’s says “Oh, he just knocked the wind out of himself. He’ll be fine.” And we were really confused, but it was Baldwin. Talked to him for a while. He really enjoyed the slight urban decay of Tacoma, was as close to a failed art major as a minor league baseball player could be.

    Was a really nice guy, he talked some baseball with us. Though we were beer snobs so I thought it was quite strange to watch him with a decent salary putting away those PBR’s while us broke college kids were drinking the good stuff.

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