Independent Baseball Chatter – by Bob Wirz
One of the nearly 20 players the St. Paul Saints have helped graduate to the major leagues was back in the news Tuesday, possibly impacting major league baseball’s postseason.
Veteran Dallas Morning News baseball writer Gerry Fraley predicted 2009 Saints hurler Tanner Scheppers “will be the most important player among the (American League West-leading Texas) Rangers’ September call-ups”. Out all season after knee surgery during spring training, Fraley’s argument is that the 29-year-old Scheppers “is a veteran with a fresh arm. The Rangers need that more than anything else.”
The righthander has made eight rehab appearances in Double-A and Triple-A since August 16, posting a 1.13 earned run average for eight innings of work.
AA Big Contributor to New Major League Record
Whether Scheppers is back with Texas or not, the American Association has been a major contributor to the record of 42 former Independent players being on active major league rosters so far this season. This breaks the record of 41 set two years ago with nearly four weeks remaining in which time the mark likely will go higher.
Ten of the 25 former Independent players currently active in the major leagues have played in the American Association.
Saints Continue to Create Major Stories With Whopping Attendance Record a Biggie in 2016
Going all the way back to the birth of modern day Independent Baseball in 1993, the St. Paul Saints have provided wonderful copy for the media. And they do it in a variety of ways.
They’re still at it as the American Association playoffs begin in 2016, and this is no slight of, Winnipeg, Wichita and Sioux City, the other three teams starting the postseason run Wednesday toward the awarding of the league’s championship trophy.
The biggest headline once again should be what the Saints have done at the box office, where they have no equal in all of the Independent game. They finished the regular season by drawing a league record 413,482 fans in the second season of CHS Field, a whopping 8,438 for each of the 49 openings, and a mark that is nearly 1,300 above the listed capacity of 7,140. St. Paul broke the record set last season by nearly 10,000.
One more hurdle field boss George Tsamis and Company would like to accomplish is to win back-to-back best-of-five playoff series to bring the franchise its fifth league championship but its first in a dozen years.
Previously the chief spokesman for Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth, Bob Wirz has been writing extensively about Independent Baseball since 2003. He is a frequent contributor to this site, has a blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com, and his book, “The Passion of Baseball”, launches in early October.