Second AAA All-Star Game Highlighted By Starting Pitchers

It’s a slow news time in the Mariners world, as everyone working in baseball watches the major league playoffs unfold. The team did announce some injury updates, which you can read about in the link down below.

With nothing else going on, we’ll do another Triple-A All-Star Game Flashback.

Tacoma is hosting the 30th annual Triple-A All-Star Game at Cheney Stadium on July 12. We’ll spend the winter looking back at the previous years, to give fans an idea what they can expect in Tacoma this summer.


Columbus, Ohio’s Cooper Stadium was the site of the second Triple-A All-Star Game. A crowd of 14,131 saw a game which featured a terrific starting pitcher match-up – but ended with a high-scoring game, and an 8-3 National League win.

Again, with three Triple-A leagues prior to the merger in 1998, the players were divided up by the major league affiliates. Tacoma Tigers (Oakland A’s) players were on the American League club – and we had just one all-star, pitcher Bryan Clark.

The big story going into this game was the starting pitchers.

Albuquerque’s Ramon Martinez started for the National League. He was a top prospect at the time, and would go on to have an all-star career in the major leagues. Martinez went 135-88 with a 3.67 ERA over 14 major league seasons –  although now he is mostly remembered for being Pedro Martinez‘s older brother.

Vancouver’s Tom Drees started for the AL, and he’s one of the PCL’s great stories: he pitched three no-hitters that year.

That’s not a typo: Drees pitched three no-hitters in the PCL in 1989, and of course he’s the only player in PCL history to do that in a single season. He had already thrown two of them (back-to-back!) when he got the all-star start in Columbus.

Drees had a no-hit outing in the All-Star Game, going three innings without giving up a base hit, but he did allow an unearned run.

1989 Triple-A All-Star Game Fun Facts:

  • The game was televised on ESPN, with young up-and-comer Joe Buck on the call. The national radio broadcast included Columbus announcer Terry Smith, who now handles radio for the Los Angeles Angels.
  • The managers were Columbus skipper Bucky Dent (AL) and Iowa’s Pete Mackanin (NL). Mackanin is currently the Philadelphia Phillies manager – so each of the first two Triple-A All-Star Games had managers who are now big league skippers (1988, Terry Collins – Mets).
  • Richmond second baseman Mark Lemke had two hits, scored two runs, and drove in two more to lead the NL to the win. Lemke started at second base for many of the great Atlanta Braves teams of the 1990s, playing in four World Series.
  • ESPN held a telephone call-in poll (remember those?) to determine the game’s MVP, and Lemke won it.
  • Playing in his second straight Triple-A All-Star Game, Las Vegas catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. hit the only home run by a PCL player.
  • Oklahoma City third baseman Scott Coolbaugh also homered in the game. Oklahoma City played in the third Triple-A league, the American Association, before joining the PCL in 1998.
  • Tacoma’s Bryan Clark pitched the ninth inning, and gave up Alomar’s home run. Clark is the last Tacoma pitcher to win 15 games in one season: he went 15-7 with a 3.14 ERA in 1989, but did not get called up by Oakland that year. However, he was 33 in 1989 – he had logged plenty of big league time previously, with the Mariners, Blue Jays, Indians, and White Sox. The M’s brought him back to the majors for 12 games in 1990.
  • Current Albuquerque Isotopes manager Glenallen Hill played in the game, representing Syracuse.
  • Players who appeared in the game and then went on to have long major league careers include: Alomar, Hill, Las Vegas infielder Joey Cora, Buffalo shortstop Jay Bell, Columbus first baseman Hal Morris, Vancouver outfielder Lance Johnson, slugging Denver outfielder Greg Vaughn, Louisville third baseman Todd Zeile, Indianapolis pitcher Mark Gardner, and Columbus infielder Randy Velarde.
  • Columbus outfielder Kevin Maas went 1-for-4. The following year he became one of the biggest flash-in-the-pan baseball stars of the modern era.

Blog shout-out to 1989 Nashville all-star Skeeter Barnes. Any time you can get the name Skeeter Barnes out there, you take advantage.


  • For more on Tom Drees, the three no-hitters, and a rare payroll-related PCL forfeit check out this story. Despite the three no-hitters, Drees pitched in just four major league games and is now a financial analyst in Minnesota.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook covers the surgeries recently performed on Taijuan Walker, Steve Cishek, and Tony Zych.
  • Mariners top pitching prospect Luiz Gohara is not eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter, thank goodness. Here’s an explanation how the rules applied to him in an interesting article from Baseball America’s Matt Eddy.
  • The M’s PR Department puts out an annual Season Review for the major league team and the minor league organization. Ryan Divish used some valuable Seattle Times webspace to post PDF versions of both the major league and minor league versions.

Check back Thursday for a new post!


One Response to Second AAA All-Star Game Highlighted By Starting Pitchers

  1. Ron says:

    I remember watching that game as an 11 year old but I didn’t participate in the call in because I was watching it the next day on ESPN. Back then they had to show replays on tape delay just to fill programming. That and episodes of old Home Run Derbys.

    That game made me a fan of Lemke’s and when he came up big in the 1991 World Series, i felt like I knew something before everyone by watching that. My fascination with minor league baseball probably began with watching that All-Star game.

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