It’s been a slow week for baseball news involving the Mariners and Rainiers, so let’s do another… All-Star 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.
Nashville’s Greer Stadium was the site of the 1994 Triple-A All-Star Game, which serves as a reminder of where we are on the timeline.
Greer Stadium is no longer in play – Nashville built a new ballpark for the 2015 season.
Nashville wasn’t even in the PCL in 1994, it was an American Association city. The Triple-A merger and expansion of the PCL didn’t come until after the 1997 season.
And 1994 was the final season of the Tacoma Tigers and the Oakland A’s affiliation. After that season, the Seattle Mariners affiliated with Tacoma and we changed the name to the Rainiers.
The final Tacoma Tigers player to appear in a Triple-A All-Star Game was outfielder Scott Lydy, who came off the bench to go 0-for-2 for the American League in an 8-5 NL victory.
The game opened up when the National League sent its leadoff man to the plate, Tucson Toros outfielder Brian Hunter, and… wait a minute, that’s our new coach for 2017! We were just talking about him on Tuesday. He went 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored in the game.
Future superstars were in short supply in the 1994 contest. I suppose outfielder Garrett Anderson was the biggest future star, or maybe second baseman Ray Durham. Shortstop Alex Gonzalez had a long career after breaking in with Toronto. Carl Everett played in the game, he was pretty good for a while before things went south.
Polar opposites served as the starting pitchers. The NL started 34-year-old veteran Craig McMurtry of Tucson, who was trying to get back to the big leagues. He had finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting way back in 1983! The AL starter was 21-year-old Julian Tavarez of Charlotte. Tavarez was a big Indians prospect at the time, and while he did not reach stardom he did pitch in the majors until 2009.
1994 Triple-A All-Star Game Fun Facts:
- The AL manager was Nashville skipper Rick Renick, who is Tacoma’s all-time home run leader. He hit 72 homers for the Tacoma Twins over a four-season span, 1973-1976.
- Rick Sweet managed the NL, representing Tucson. This was the first of a record three Triple-A All-Star managing assignments for Sweet, who served as the Colorado Springs Sky Sox skipper last year.
- Friend Of The Blog and former Rainiers pitcher Andrew Lorraine made his first Triple-A All-Star appearance, working two innings for the NL. A White Sox prospect at the time, Lorraine represented Vancouver of the PCL.
- Richmond’s Terry Clark pitched a scoreless inning. He was a Mariners minor league pitching coach during the Jack Zduriencik era.
- Playing in front of a hometown crowd, Ray Durham went 3-for-3 and won the MVP award.
- Louisville’s Scott Coolbaugh won a shortened version of the Home Run Derby. Not sure what happened that year, but only four players participated and none were from the PCL. We’ll do a little better at Cheney Stadium this summer, I promise.
- One of the announcers on the national radio broadcast was Edmonton’s Al Coates. He was an unforgettable character.
After a couple of all-star games featuring future Hall of Famers, the 1994 game was a little light on future household names. That would change in a big way with the 1995 game, which we’ll get to after the holidays.
- Rainiers reliever David Rollins was claimed off waivers for the fourth time this winter yesterday. The Texas Ranger claimed him again – they had him a few weeks ago, and tried to sneak him off the roster only to have Philadelphia grab him.
That’s it, one link. It’s the slowest time of the year for baseball news. In fact, many teams – including the Rainiers – close their front offices for the week between Christmas and New Year. Along those lines, we won’t have any blog updates until the new year – unless Dealin’ Dipoto makes a big move. Which he might. Anyway, happy holidays and we’ll see you in January!