NORTHERN STATES LEAGUE
2013 HALL OF FAME ELIGIBLES
Class of 2012 Pitchers
Kevin Appier- You know- I rarely add something in after their first ballot.† But compare Appier, Brown, and Cone with Nolan Ryanís stats- either Ryan doesnít belong, or these three do.† Just my 2 cents this year.
Here is his 4th ballot- Every team every
year needs an innings eater.† With a 162
game slate, weíre all going to use 5 man rotations and the stress on the later
part of the rotation is enormous, yet a necessary part of each NSL club.† Appier was drafted
first with the number 6 overall pick by the James Gang of Bob Harris.† He was selected as a stud (apologies here to
Denny), and served in that role for 8 seasons.†
After a lost 1999 due to injury, he reappeared as the aforementioned
inning eater, back end of the rotation kind of guy.† He played for some decent if not excellent
teams, and posted a W-L differential of a whopping 75 more wins than
losses.† He won 20 just once in 1998 for
the Ďchucks, and then went 0-2 in the post season.† So how did this happen?† Besides the lost 1999 year, Appier won double digits for 12 straight years- and in the
same time lost double digits just 4 times.†
Not too shabby!† You wonít find
gaudy whiff numbers but his ERA is strong and 29 career shutouts top the list
and are still good enough for 13th on the all-time list.† He was a 5 time All Star and played on one
All League team in 1996.† He finished in
the top 10 in ERA 4 times (all before the injury) and strike outs 3 times,
including a league leading 200 in 1994.†
After the Gang held him for 7 years (turned in to St. City, then
Pedro Astacio- Speaking or innings eater, Astacio did that as well.† Trouble is that he did it for some lousy teams, pitching for 13 years and making the playoffs just once for the 1997 Canucks.† Although he won more than 100, the career numbers are just plain poor- included was a 9.37 ERA in 26 starts for GB in 2001- perhaps our worst starting pitcher season ever.† He did have a decent 1997 for GM (17-7, 3.21) but the rest of the board is littered with top 10s in categories you donít want to be in the top 10 in.† Originally drafted by the Green Mountain boys in 1997- the first round of the rookie draft- he went to Derby, Gulf Breeze, the Wizards, and finally Canaan to finish it out.† He was an All Star in 1994 for the Canucks.
†J.Kevin Brown- His 3nd ballot- We canít
call him Kevin since there was a one year catcher named Kevin Brown.† This Brown had a very nice career, falling
just 3 wins short of 200 and notching a ďbest on the ballotĒ 2358 strikeouts
over his 16 year career.† He started out
as the 6th overall pick of the Hardwick A-Team in the 1990 Rookie
Draft.† This club soon became Creekside, and the club surely owed some of their success
to Brown, as he posted a 20-8 mark in 1993 and a 17-10 in 1994.† In 1996, he became an All-Star for the first
time and helped the Crushers to their first NSL Championship, going 14-7, 3.63
(strike shortened).† But then began a
workhorse segment of 4 incredible years with 136 starts, 975 IP, and 918
whiffs.† He won 74 times in that 4 year
span and was elected an All-Star for the 2nd and final time in 2001
(23-6, 2.47).† He finished out 14 years
with the Crushers in 2003 then moved to
David Cone- His 5th and final ballot-
hereís the repeat- I remember when Mick drafted him in 1987- remember this
was Mickís 2nd rookie draft for a team that had just been born in
the 1986 expansion.† At that time, we
both were in Siís kitchen sort of talking about the surprises of the draft- and
how I thought Cone was a steal.† Mick got
him in the 5th round.† So- NSL
managers liked 80 other guys before Conehead?† Man, were we all wrong.† In 17 years in the league he was 196-121,
thatís 75 over .500 folks!† His 2750 IP
is right up there on this ballot and the career 3.81 is simply great for this
era.† His 2301 Ks are tops on the ballot
this year, but so are his 1099 BB.† Mick
rode this horse for 12 years- where he went 154-83.† His numbers mirror Mickís NSL career as the
first 2 years the team was still developing.†
In 1989, the 66ers won 103 games, their first time not losing 100.† Cone was a huge part as he went 17-8 with a
2.61 ERA and 4 shutouts.† For the next 6
seasons, Mick won more than 100 games, Cone winning 96 by himself.† In fact, 1996 broke a 10 year mark where
Rheal Cormier- Iím not sure how many guys weíve had in the league with a first name of Rheal, but my bet here is that Cormier would lead in most all categories for guys named Rheal.† He was mostly a reliever- later a lefty specialist, and toiled for 7 different NSL teams throughout his career. †He was often a D, then a B, making it easy to see why he went through 3 different drafts (drafted in the top 5 of 2 different FA drafts) and was traded 5 times.† His best situations were obviously in the bullpen (1.63 in 77.1 IP for the 2004 East Hardwick Giants) but his weakness in the starting role will hinder his career numbers.† His best year could have been his rookie year for the Woodchucks after Dave took him in the first round of the 1998 Rookie Draft- going 15-10 with a nice 3.70 ERA. But after that it was clear starting wasnít his role and he never reached the pinnacle of bullpens.
Scott Elarton- Three of his 9 career NSL campaigns were served on the DL and the rest of the career didnít show an awful lot.† Mick grabbed him in the 1999 Rookie Draft (1st round) and at that time he was just a reliever- going 4-1 with a 2.54 ERA.† Not too bad, but the following year he began the conversion to the starting staff and things went south in a hurry.† After two ugly years, he sat out 3 then resurfaced in 2005 with an 8-12, 5.34 mark.† He was sent to New England and for his final year, Canaan (where have we heard this before), going 13-22 over those 2 years.†
Shawn Estes- Say what you want about our leader in career wins (Cleveland- Al Rapp) but one thing he has always been able to accomplish was to have enough every day type players that he could stash an arm or 2 for several years.† Witness Bryan Harvey and in later years Boof Bonser.† Estes was also one of those players as he was on the Cleveland payroll for 11 years, and didnít appear in 3 of them.† When he did appear, things were pretty ugly and despite 2005 when he was in the rotation all year long (34 starts, 15-12, but 6.91) and 2000 (32 starts, 15-9) his walk total helped kill his performance.† These were some pretty good Hit Men clubs and despite that, in 11 years he never appeared in a post season tilt.† All his appearances over the years were starts.
Travis Harper- I know exactly what youíre thinking!† When you got to the pitchers, I know every one of you said, ďI canít wait to get to Travis Harper!Ē† Well, here you are.† Are you happy?†
Dustin Hermanson- We kept confusing him with Chad Hermansen- a decent (?) OF prospect, but turns out Dustin had a better NSL career.† In his 12 years, he did have 3 years when he didnít appear at all- a trend in the league that seems to be resurfacing.† Yeah- letís cut rosters back!† But shameless plug aside, this guy did very little to impress except, surprisingly, his final year when he saved 33 games for the 2006 Maulers (he was on their roster in 2007 without appearing).† Hereís a guy that started out as a reliever, tried starting and then returned to the pen at the end of his career.† He actually had a pretty good 1999 for Vermont (18-7, 3.02) and career wise has a plus W/L mark.† 2000 dragged him down a bit for East York when he started 31 times, actually went 14-11, but posted a 5.76 ERA.† He was indeed, a Mr. Irrelevant, selected with the last pick of the 1996 Rookie Draft by New England.† He was then traded 6 times in his career as it seems all NSL players are, spending much of his career in East York, with tour stops in Walden, East York again, Duneland, and Magic City.†
Roberto Hernandez- The real one, not the guy who changed his name just to avoid visa issues.† Look where it got him, think Fausto Carmona.† But this Roberto put together a pretty nice career- his save total being the most on the ballot though he was in the top 10 just twice over his 15 years.† We look deeper into the numbers and realize that he played for some mediocre teams, and when he was on good ones, he was rarely the closer.† Al grabbed him in the first round of the 1993 Rookie Draft and he immediately paid dividends, being an All Star, and saving 34 for the Hit Men.† He was an All Star twice more for the Hit Men- in 1997 (56G, 1.91 ERA) and 1998 (30 saves, 3.01), then just sort of hung around posting mid-level stats over his final years with the Wizards, Glenville, New England, and finally Jericho. †We see pretty nice numbers from a source where it probably wasnít expected.† He was 1-2 with 7 saves in 20 post season games.†
Jason Johnson-I think he went to Japan after his NSL career.† I think it just goes to prove that those borderline career AAA players have a future- just not in the states.† There is just not much to see on Johnsonís Hall of Fame monograph as you would likely expect.† His best ERA was 4.42 in 2006 for Jericho (12-10) and although he won 14 times for Duneland in 2004, that is about the extent of things.† I wonder how he did in Japan anyway- is there a ďBaseball TonightĒ over there or anything?† Iím just wondering.
Ray King- He was pretty much low man on the pecking order.† King was a LH specialist and on most teams, we canít afford that type of player.† He was miscast as a closer for the 2005 Keystone Comanches, and he contributed 30 saves to that team.† He mostly had more games than IP and although his overall numbers are fine, his IP total and longevity numbers are lacking. In his 7 year career he played for 5 teams and was traded 4 times- a tribute as to how he was used.† He does have a 0.00 career post season ERA (5.1 IP) but the Hall of Fame is just not made for lefty specialist. †I guess we could start one if we wanted to- who wants to run it?† King was originally selected by Dave in the third round of the 2001 Rookie Draft and spent time with New England, Keystone, TMI, and finally Creekside.†
Danny Kolb- What can you say?† Just not much here.† 20 saves for the Knights of 2004 and the 5th round rookie pick of Longstown in 2000.† There- Iíve said it all.
Brian Lawrence- I think he actually had some potential and he was a first rounder for us being taken by Denny in the 2002 Rookie Draft.† He had a live arm, pitched in San Diego- should have been okay for a while.† Actually he was, starting 98 games in the three seasons after his rookie year going 44-30 in those years.† But in 2006 he was traded to TMI, started 4 times that year, and finished it out on the TMI DL.† He pitched over 200 innings in all 3 of those decent years (2003 for Longstown then 2004-5 for Glenville) and posted a nice 3.69 ERA in 2003, but it was over as quickly as it started.†
Cory Lidle- aka Fuller Starr.† Come on- most of you remember the licensing restrictions we had in the late 90s, early 00s and as far as Iíve ever been able to tell, it was simply players not joining the union and hence having to be called a fake name, Now Iíve never heard of anyone in the world named Fuller, but thatís what APBA came up with.† Just to digress a second- it is so amazingly great to not hear anything about the union, management, or lock outs in the last decade- thank goodness for that!† But Cory Fuller pitched just okay for some not so okay teams.† He was originally a Parker City Cub being taken in the 2nd round of the 1998 Rookie Draft, then went to Indiana in the Expansion draft of 2000.† Immediately cut, he was picked up by the Aardvarks in 2001 and pitched for some ugly Gulf Breeze teams for 6 seasons before polishing things off in Albany in 2007.† He lost 19 games for the 2004 Breeze and allowed 266 hits in 206 IP in 2005.† He did have a nice 2002, though, with a 4th best in the league 3.06 ERA and 12 wins for a playoff Ďvark club, but was 0-2 in that post season.† Hopefully his retirement took the fake names to retirement as well.
Brian Meadows- His real name was Matthew- and Iíll bet you didnít know that.† Much like many of the players on this ballot, Meadows was a middle of the rotation/middle of the bullpen type guy which we all need, but rarely sing the praises of.† He started as a starter (that sounds pretty weird) with the Walden Stingers after being selected in the 2nd round of the Rookie Draft in 1999.† This was an Expansion Club and Meadows was immediately plugged in to the rotation, losing 35 games over the first 3 years of his career as one might expect.† He moved to Canaan in 2003 and soon after became a reliever- being moved to Glenville for his final 4 seasons, posting an excellent 2005 (68 G, 76.2 IP, 2.11 ERA) but was done after his 5.20 ERA in 2007.† His numbers are surely pedestrian and I donít see much that compares with the Hall of Fame members yet- do you?
Kent Mercker- Stop me if youíve heard this already.† 1. He was a reliever who became a starter who became a reliever.† 2. He spent 3 of his 17 years not appearing for Cleveland.† Yeah- so we can take the best of the other monographs and paste it in hereÖ or not.† It seems that Mercker had one of the highest profiles we had had in some time when he was Alís 2nd round pick in the 1991 Rookie Draft.† Shoot- we all knew all the Braves back then and Mercker was a canít miss in a star studded staff.† He did okay for a while as a sparingly used reliever, then was placed into the 1995 rotation where he responded with a 10-5, 4.49.† The limits were limitless, but things took a bad turn in 2006, 4-14, 5.22 in 21 starts.† The Rapper benched him for all of 1997 and his reappearance was even worse (7-12, 6.41).† He did prosper for a few more years as a reliever- saving 27 in 2005 despite a 4.44 ERA, but his hype was much more than his career.† I wonder if he had just been left alone as a starter (my opinion where he was best) and further stayed with the Braves, but weíll never know, will we?
Jose Mesa- Man, what a train wreck he was.† I think of Jose Lima when I see Mesaís name.† He had an inflated ERA over his career, but overall posted some nice numbers with the highest number of appearances on this yearís ballot.† He saved more than 20 4 different times in his career, but never had that incredible 40+ save type year.† Originally he was a Lamoille County Fuzz after Jim took him in the 2nd round of the 1992 Rookie Draft- and he wasnít even a Yankee!† Miscast as a starter, he was terrible for the Fuzz in 3 seasons, though he did post 17 CG in 1994 (8-11).† In 1996, he moved to the East Hardwick Giants and immediately had an All Star year- saving 24 with a 2.63 ERA for a poor team.† He then bounced around for the next 10 years with stops in VT, GM, GB, the Wizards, and finally Jim again with Johnson this time.† By now he was a full time reliever and despite a pretty good save total, his ERA was not worthy of Denny Becker (i.e. stud) label.† He was a top 10 in characters of the game, though and is 35th in the career saves list.
Dan Miceli- Not much happening in this monograph except a 28 save campaign for Jericho in 1999 (2.95).† He went through 3 different drafts and was traded 5 times in his career, starting it off in Keystone after JB took him in the 2nd round of the 1995 Rookie Draft.† He was a bullpen stalwart, usually up in the 50+ game and 60+ IP marks, but nothing jumps out at you, especially the ERA.† I guess you could say he was a decent mop up reliever to save limits for the rest of the team- i.e. a true team player.† I guess we all need a player such as this, but does our Hall of Fame?
Wade Miller- Siís 2nd round rookie pick in 2001, his 7 year career was marred by 2 years not even pitching.† His high water mark was 2002 when he had 32 starts for York, and soon after he moved to Magic City in one of the infamous Crown deals.† (just for your entertainment- York trades Isringhausen, Joe Kennedy, Hampton, Kile, Shawn Green, Miller, and a #2 (04) to Magic City for Bernie Williams and Pedro Martinez).† At the time it was beyond huge- and it came in to me at 2:00 in the morning as those 2 clowns were walking the beach here in Wilmington.† Of course I didnít believe them, but confirmed the next AM with the 2 trade partners- headaches and all- over a empty crown bottle.† It is a true story.† Miller then went on to a 33-28 4 year stint with the Maulers before being done.† You might not vote for Miller, but you know a little more about the history of the Crown Deal.† Iím glad I could expand your knowledge base for you- no charge for that of course.
Eric Milton- We took a pretty decent starting pitcher and gave him to so many lousy clubs that he just couldnít do anything but stink up the joint.† The Walden Stingers took them with their first round pick in the 1999 Rookie Draft (with all our wisdom in welcoming the clubs to the league- we made the expansion clubs of 1999 draft 21-24 in the Rookie Draft).† Anyway, Milton immediately became the ďaceĒ of the Stinger staff and was 5-10 with 24 starts in his rookie season.† He pitched 4 seasons there and worked pretty hard, yet didnít post much in the way of numbers, and followed the club to the wilds of New Hampshire as it became the Canaan Polar Bears.† After a 7-13 mark there, he moved to Albany for a no card year then to Keystone (12-14) for a season and finally to the Elite for his last two- a combined 12-26.† Maybe he could have been a .500 pitcher with decent teams, but that 5.17 ERA was much higher than I expected.† The BB/K ratio is nice, but look at all those long balls (led the league with 46 in 2006).
Tomo Ohka- He spent his entire career with the brothers Wilburn, the first 5 with Magic City and the final 2 with Duneland.† All said he was in the post season 3 times in his 7 career years and was not very effective.† Ohka dabbled with a B or two over his career and had a C or 3 mixed in, only embarrassing himself in 2007 for Duneland (4-7, 7.25).† He got slapped around some in 2004 (6.15) just after his best season (16-8 3.18) in 2003 for the Maulers.† Bryan took him with his 1st rookie pick in 2001 and that year he could only muster a 4-4 mark.† It seems as if he was just before the rash of Japanese imports- oh there may have been a couple before him, and certainly he wasnít the biggest name after, but his borderline career was probably better than most of the other Pacific Rim guys.†
Brad Radke- Radke put together a pretty nice NSL career- rarely missing a start- averaging 30 over a 12 year career.† Plus the career numbers just arenít that bad- 4.34 with a 144-131 mark.† I talk quite a bit (thatís a surprise) and have an opinion about everything (thatís not a surprise) but you could have done much worse than Radke, as your #3 or #4.† Remember that we use the best pitchers and the best batters available- leaving (roughly) 140 of the truly worst hitting cards on the pines for the year.† Hence, you would expect a little bit of inflation to ERAs, and in contrast, a lower batting average vs. the majors.† So Radkeís ERA might equate to 4.00 in the real world, my point being that we just canít judge these guys entirely on ERA or batting average.† Radke pitched 4 years for Farmland and 5 years for East Hardwick- hardly being high-octane offenses, and the fact that he is 13 games over .500 for his career is pretty good.† He was never really a strike out kind of guy, yet amassed a 4th best on the ballot 1540, with a decent BB/K ratio.† The long ball did hurt him through the years- steroid aided perhaps, but in the record no less.† He was an All Star twice (1998 and 2000) and made the 2000 playoffs with his one year stay in Vermont (0-3, 6.60), though 16-6, 3.40 in the regular season.† He led the league in hits allowed (281) in 2004, yet checked in with a 4.92 ERA that year.† But the most impressive thing is that he was never really hurt- starting just 18 times for the 2003 Giants, but 28 or more every year but his rookie one.† Farmlandís 2nd round pick in 1996, Derek got a winner.†
Mark Redman- Redman toiled for the Twins mostly in MLB, and spent his 7 seasons with 4 different clubs in the NSL.† In 2004, he was a unanimous All Star pick for the 2004 Clydesdales, and finished the year with a gaudy 19-8, 3.69, propelling the club to the post season (3-2 4.80) and a thrilling face to face encounter with the Glenville Greys for the championship.† Redman also enjoyed a stellar 2006 for the Giants (16-6), but the rest of the career was pretty weak although he was able to check in at .500 for the career.† Originally selected by East York in the 2001 Rookie Draft, he never threw a pitch there, moving to NE for his first 3 seasons.†
Felix Rodriguez- If you look in the dictionary under ďset up relieverĒ youíll likely find Felix.† Yet as we often do according to the grade, he was able to close for 3 different Mauler teams (40 saves in 2002) and post a sub-4 ERA for his career.† Now it just seems that every player on this ballot has had ties to Magic City, and Bryan enjoyed Fe.Rod for 8 seasons before moving him to Creekside where we immediately began confusing him with K.Rod.† After 17 games and an 8.44 ERA, Scoop got confused as well and released hm.† Felix was an All Star in 2002 thanks to the high save total and had a decent career despite being one of the rarest of the rare- not selected in the Rookie Draft (1998) and taken in the 3rd round of the FA draft (1999).† Think about that you guys that put down the FA draft!† He appeared in 10 post season games, all for Magic City, and in 31.1 IP posted a 3.45 ERA.
Kirk Saarloos- Iím sure that somewhere in time, his family had a defective typewriter which just kept repeating vowels.† I mean is it Baabee Ruuth?† Cyy Yyoouung?† Diick Siilaar?† No- and who was thinking when they named the Saarloosís Saarloos?† Is it Greeek?† Iitaaliiaan?† Taazaakaastaan?† Shoot- Microsoft Word even says Iím wrong so I must be.† Five year career, 17-23, 5.04.† Iíd like to sell a vowel, Vaannaa.
Aaron Sele- What better way to start winding up this yearís ballot than with another mid-rotation starter which Sele certainly was.† Much like Radke, he rarely missed a start (at least after the career got rolling) and although his W/L might be a little suspect, his ERA is fine.† Letís see how it evolved,† Sele was the 8th player chosen in the 1994 Rookie Draft by Cleveland, after 3 years there as a border line starter, his career took off as he moved to the Elite for one year and on to Jericho where he did most of his pitching.† After a 75-67 6 year career as a Roscoe, he moved on to Lon, Can. GM, and VT, being traded 7 times over his 14 year career.† Indeed, Kevin got the best out of him including a 17-7, 3.23 in 2000, yet the rest of his career was sort of middle of the road- 17-14 in 34 starts in 2001, 13-14 in 1999, numbers like that.† He was properly cast as a number 3 or 4 starter most of his career and did about what you would have expected.
John Thomson- No, not the Hoyasí basketball coach.† Hey- what the heck is a Hoya anyway?† Thomson toiled for 5 different NSL clubs over his 9 year career, starting in York after being selected in the 1998 Rookie Draftís third round and basically showing an up and down career.† In 2004 for Albany, he was a ghastly 8-20 with a 6.09 ERA, yet followed that in 2005 with a 16-6, 3.62 ERA for the 2005 Elite- his one All Star year.† His post season marks are worse than his regular season ones (4 starts, 0-3, 8.64) and his numbers just make you think he should have been a Hoya.† Did I ask you what a Hoya is?
Rick White- He was a middle of the road reliever with a nice first name- who hung around for 10 seasons just being the 1st or 2nd man out of the pen.† He was picked up by Bill Waller in the 2nd round of the 1995 Rookie Draft, immediately was peddled to JB (hey- thatís what Waller can do)† and after his rookie campaign, disappeared for 3 seasons before reappearing for Green Mountain in 1999.† Burnie took him with his 2nd FA pick that year and after 5 years as a Canuck, he went to Vermont for one and on to Canaan to retire.† Heck- there must be one huge retirement home in West Stewartstown where all NSL players go to hang Ďem up.† But White did okay for John by plugging away for 3 seasons and going 10-7 with 4 saves and a sub 5 ERA.† He won 9 and saved 8 for the 2001 Canucks and actually tossed a shutout in his first year with Keystone- having 7 career starts.†
Dave Williams- I canít think of one good thing to say about him.† Oh yes I can- at least his family name isnít Wiilliiaams.†
Todd Williams- This Williams played just 5 years, with one of them being a no card Keystone campaign in 2001.† There is really no high water mark, yet he did save 3 in 2007 for Sparrow Lake and posted a 3.30 in 76.1 IP for Cleveland.† His 172.1 IP is the lowest on the ballot, so he still should be fresh if you want to use him on back to back days.
Scott Williamson- We close out the class of 2012 with yet another one year wonder.† In his 8 year career, Williamson was non carded twice (02 for Cle and 07 for GBr) and his entire career can just about be poured into his rookie campaign of 2000, when the Rapper took him with the 10th overall pick in the Rookie Draft.† Immediately he paid dividends for a playoff bound Hit Men team by saving 41 games and posting 7 wins with a 3.18 ERA.† It looked as if Al had the Bryan Harvey he needed, but he was to save just 12 more games the rest of his career (10 for the 2005 Ďvarks) and despite a career ERA under 4.00, his numbers donít really have any longevity to them.† His middle name is Ryan, but thatís not going to cut it.
So there you have the class of 2012.† I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I enjoy bringing it to you.† It just seems as if the entire ballot has ex-Cleveland and ex-Magic City guys on it, it appears to me that most of us were involved in some way.† At least in the trades to get them where they put up their stats that is!†
Please enjoy- Denny will have instructions to you when he can.