The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

3 December 2005

Changes coming at the Brick

Baseball's Winter Meetings start Monday in Dallas, and lots of deals will be made, but a few things have already happened that are pertinent to the RedHawks.

For one thing, Bobby Jones, who has managed the 'Hawks for the last four years, will be joining the parent Texas Rangers as first-base coach; his replacement is Tim Ireland, who has managed the Rangers' Double-A clubs and whose teams made the playoffs seven out of twelve years.

There's also a new pitching coach at the Brick: Andy Hawkins, who pitched for ten seasons in the majors. His lifetime record is an indifferent 84-91, but he's remembered for two accomplishments, one significant, one, um, less so.

The Tigers beat the Padres 4-1 in the 1984 World Series; Hawkins, in relief, got the win for San Diego, the only Series game the Padres have ever won.

In 1990 at Comiskey, Hawkins, starting for the Yankees, pitched seven innings of no-hit ball. In the eighth, he retired the first two batters, but then things started to go to hell:

  • Sammy Sosa hit a bouncer to third baseman Mike Blowers who back-handed but dropped the ball and then threw hurriedly to first. Sosa beat the throw amid a cloud of dust generated by his head-first slide. Initially there was some dispute over whether the play constituted a hit or an error, but it was quickly resolved. Later, Blowers readily emphasized it was clearly his error. Sosa then stole second.

  • After running the count full, Ozzie Guillen walked.

  • Lance Johnson also walked on four straight bad pitches, loading the bases.

  • On Hawkins' next pitch, Robin Ventura lofted what started as a routine fly to rookie Jim Leyritz in left. Leyritz had been listed as a catcher but had played primarily at third with just a few games in the outfield. Fighting the swirling wind, Jim changed direction several times before the ball dropped off the tip of his glove for a two base error. All three runners scored, and Ventura stopped at second.

  • The next batter, Ivan Calderon, also hit a high fly ball, this one to deep right-center. Jesse Barfield, normally an excellent outfielder, struggled with the sun, gloved the ball but dropped it. Ventura scored, and Calderon ended up on second.

  • Dan Pasqua finally ended the torment by popping out to short.

Scoreless through seven and a half, it was now White Sox 4, Yankees 0, and Hawkins still hadn't given up a hit. When the Bronx Bombers bombed out in the top of the ninth, that was the final; Hawkins got the loss despite having pitched a legitimate no-hitter. (It was later de-legitimized by a redefinition of "no-hitter" by the Gods of Baseball.)

Last year's RedHawks had the best record — 80-63 — in the Pacific Coast League; however, they lost in the first round of playoffs to Nashville, who in turn was beaten by Sacramento for the league championship.

Posted at 9:57 AM to Base Paths