All posts by R. McNeal

Puig Goes 1st Overall in 2013 Draft

Puig played for the Cuban national baseball team in the 2008 World Junior Baseball Championship, winning a bronze medal. He then played for the Cienfuegos team of the Cuban National Series in the 2008–09 Cuban National Series. He batted .276 with five home runs in his debut season. Puig enjoyed a breakout season in the 2009-10 Cuban National Series, with a .330 batting average, 17 home runs, 47 runs batted in (RBIs) and 78 runs scored in 327 at-bats.[2][3] Puig also played for the Cuban national team in the 2011 World Port Tournament, where he tried to defect along with teammate Gerardo Concepcion. Concepcion was successful while Puig was not, and he was disciplined by not being allowed to play during the 2011–12 seasons.

Since 2011, he tried to defect to Mexico five times, in order to become a legal resident so he could become eligible to enter the MLB or ULB Draft.  He defected from Cuba in 2012, and was entered into the ULB Draft after being awarded a visa.

Puig was selected 1st Overall in the 2013 ULB Draft by the Green Bay Blizzard. Puig is likely to be assigned to the American Association’s Rochester Red Wings, the Triple A affiliate of the Blizzard to start the 2013 season. Many scouts suggest Puig could make an immediate impact, and will likely debut in 2013.

Jedi Win Championship

The trilogy is complete, and it’s the Return of the Jedi in the Union League. Having defeated the San Juan Storm 4 games to 1, the Jedi are now the first team in ULB history to win the Union Cup three times. It was a hard road, but with Nelson Gil Santovenia Jr on the mound for Game Five, the result was never really in doubt. The Jedi had built up a 9-0 lead when Santovenia Jr let up his first run in 5th, then allowed three more in the 6th. The score would stay that way until the Jedi added 2 more runs in the 9th to secure an 11-4 victory and celebrated a 3rd championship in Puerto Rico.

Troy Tulowitzki was named Union Cup MVP after hitting .500 with 11 hits and 3 home runs to go long with his 9 runs batted in.

Frank Thomas and Mike Mussina elected to ULB Hall of Fame!

The Class of 2015 is here, and for the first time we will have two players entering the ULB Hall of Fame. Both players were considered one of the greatest at their respective positions throughout the early decade and a half of the ULB.

player_9363Mike Mussina (Vancouver Canucks,1996-2003; St. Paul Saints, 2004, Las Vegas Vipers, 2004; New Mexico Suns, 2007)

Elected with 82.3% of Votes, Second Year on Ballot (62.5%, 2010)

Mussina was a dominant force in the early history of the ULB, helping the Vancouver Canucks to reach the Union Cup in 1996 and 1997. Mussina totaled 144 wins in the ULB and added 89 in the MLB for a total of 233 wins in both leagues. He led the ULB in wins in 1996, 1997 and 1998. He amassed 3 Nolan Ryan Trophies (1996, 1998 and 2002) and was elected to the All Star Game 7 times in his 10 years in the ULB.

Honors and Awards
Award Years Times Won
Nolan Ryan Award 1996, 1998, 2002 3
All-Star 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 7
Pitcher of the Month 7/97, 9/97, 6/98, 4/00, 6/00, 5/02, 6/04 7

 

player_12902Frank Thomas (Boston Colonials, 1998-2004; Oklahoma City RedHawks, 2005; Phoenix Fire, 2008-2009)

Elected with 76.5% of Votes, First Year on Ballot

The Big Hurt came over to the ULB signing  a 5 year contract with the Colonials in the 1997-1998 offseason worth a then record $102,500,000 million. Gripes about him being overpaid were quickly quieted as he led the league in Home Runs and Runs Batted in his 1998 season. He would go on to hit 243 Home Runs with the Colonials and added 9 more in short seasons plagued by injuries with the Oklahoma City RedHawks and Phoenix Fire. Thomas added a Fielding Bible Award at 1B in 2000 and was elected to the All Star Team four times with the Colonials. Thomas would add another 248 Homers in his MLB career to reach a total of 500 home runs. In his combined ULB and MLB career he had a total of 2,233 hits, and was also an MVP in 1993 and 1994 in the MLB with the Chicago White Sox.

Former San Jose Jedi General Manager Mak Dolnick, now an executive assistant to White Sox Owner Joe Reinsdorf, commented on Thomas’ election.

“He’s the Big Hurt, what else needs to be said?”

Honors and Awards
Award Years Times Won
Fielding Bible Award Winners 2000 (1B) 1
All-Star 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 4

Of those not making the cut, Washington’s Larry Walker fell just short of getting ‘The Call’ in his 4th year of eligibility. He appeared on 58.8% of ballots this season. Walker has to be encouraged by the fact that his percentage climbed higher than in 2010, when he had 50% of the vote. Manno Wickey, the New Orleans Gold Sox poster boy for a decade, received 52.9% of the vote in his first year on the ballot, but will have to wait another year before hopefully receiving his call.

2011 ULB Hall of Fame Ballot Results
Pos Player Votes Vote%
SP Mike Mussina 14 82.3
1B Frank Thomas 13 76.5
LF Larry Walker 10 58.8
1B Manno Wickey 9 52.9
SP Roger Clemens 8 47.1
SP Pedro Luis Lazo 7 41.2
C Mike Piazza 7 41.2
DH Ryan Keith 5 29.4
SP Curt Schilling 5 29.4
SP Kevin Brown 4 23.5
C Tyler Houston 4 23.5
CF Andruw Jones 4 23.5
SS Enrique Aguilar 3 17.6
SP Ramiro Mendoza 3 17.6
RF Mark Merchant 3 17.6
SP Andy Pettitte 3 17.6
C Steve Coture 2 11.8
SP Tom Gordon 2 11.8
DH Mark McGwire 2 11.8
2B Roberto Alomar 1 5.9
LF Mark Anthony 1 5.9
LF Brian Apolskis 1 5.9
LF Darryl Brinkley 1 5.9
LF David Diaz 1 5.9
1B Darren Doucette 1 5.9
CF Christopher Garife 1 5.9
RP Daniel Ginder 1 5.9
3B Brian Heigle 1 5.9
SS Howard Hill 1 5.9
RF Tomoaki Kanemoto 1 5.9
SP Brett Lagerblade 1 5.9
C Ken Love 1 5.9
CF Vernon Maxwell 1 5.9
2B Warren Morris 1 5.9
3B Bill Mueller 1 5.9
SP Hideo Nomo 1 5.9
DH Curtis Parham 1 5.9
LF Roberto Singer 1 5.9
LF Dernell Stenson 1 5.9
CF Zack Watts 1 5.9