Spring has Sprung…
The Grass has Ris…
I Wonder Where the Wildcats is?
Turns out, they’re all over the diamonds of the United States as the boys of summer begin the annual trek that stretches from spring for all and - for the best of the best - lasts all the way to the fall.
In simpler terms, baseball is back.
And while 67 former University of Arizona ballplayers have graced the Major Leagues between 1921 and opening day 2012, 15 of them have played for the Cleveland Indians. All told, the Tribe has drafted 25 ex-Cats.
This year’s Indians squad features two Arizona alums, Shelley Duncan and Jason Donald, and will likely see Trevor Crowe rejoin the team when the club deems him Big League-ready after an injury sidelined him for the majority of 2011. Pitchers Preston Guilmet and Eric Berger await in Double-A while Dwight Childs catches for their Single-A Carolina Mudcats’ team. In December, the Tribe sent Cory Burns, who led the Double-A level with 35 saves last season, back to Tucson, where he is now the closer for the San Diego Padres‘ Triple-A squad (also known as the Padres).
The next closest franchise to draft that many Wildcats is the St. Louis Cardinals, who have taken 13 UA alums on draft days.
Perhaps it’s because the Indians once called Tucson’s Hi Corbett Field — the Wildcats’ current home digs — their spring training stomping grounds for 45 years, concluding in 1992.
Or perhaps the UA has a Cleveland talent scout in their back pocket. Most likely, it’s a coincidental luck of the draw.
Some quick Wildcat-MLB tidbits:
- The Houston Astros, Oakland/Philadelphia Athletics, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have each had nine ex-Cats don their respective uniforms.
- Former Wildcats have played for defunct teams such as the St. Louis Browns, Montreal Expos and Washington Senators, but not the current franchise the Tampa Rays. Although, the Rays did try, selecting Joe Little in the 2003 draft.
- Five players have played for both the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees.
- Kenny Lofton has played for the same amount of Big League teams as Wildcat alums Casey Candaele, Lum Davenport, Chip Hale, Hank Leiber, Trevor Hoffman combined – players who has decent careers.
Proof I had the perfect confluence of “no life” and “pent-up nervous adrenaline” last night:
WILDCATS WHO MADE THE SHOW
(Scroll down further for Wildcats by team)
BRIAN ANDERSON: Red Sox, White Sox
GEORGE ARIAS: Angels, Padres
DAVE BALDWIN: Brewers, Senators, White Sox
STEVE BARBER: Twins
GREG BARGAR: Cardinals, Expos
TOM BARRETT: Phillies, Red Sox
JASON BATES: Rockies
KEVIN BLANKENSHIP: Braves, Cubs
JORDAN BROWN: Indians
CASEY CANDAELE: Astros, Expos, Indians