Tim Wakefield is back in camp with the Red Sox. This will be his 19th big league season (he spent 1994 in the minors) and potentially his 17th with the Boston Red Sox. He is only 13 wins behind Cy Young and Roger Clemens for the all time Red Sox team mark.
Miguel Batista is still hanging in there as a big league pitcher. He had a solid season as a reliever for the Washington Nationals in 2010 and is trying to make it with the St. Louis Cardinals. They have another slot open on their staff with the injury to Adam Wainwright. And with Dave Duncan as the pitching coach, the former Diamondback starter could wind up winning 15 games this year.
Wakes and Batista are linked in a unique way.
Unless my research is faulty, they could be the only current players in 2011 who can say that that they played for a Pirates team that had a winning season.
Of course the Pirates have not reached the Himalaya known as .500 since Sid Bream scored on Francisco Cabrera’s single in 1992.
And the link to any winning baseball on the field is getting more and more faint.
Of course Tim Wakefield was a rookie on the 1992 NL East Champion Pirates. He threw 2 complete game victories in the NLCS and would probably have been the MVP of the series had Cabrera popped up.
Batista? He was a Rule 5 draftee from the Montreal Expos in 1992. He appeared in a grand total of one game for the Defending Division Champion Pirates. On April 11, he came in to relieve Doug Drabek in the 7th inning. He let up a home run to Ruben Amaro.
He was returned to the Expos organization. The Pirates would go on to win the Division.
How long has it been? He let up a homer to Amaro, who is now the general manager of the Phillies. Who did Amaro trade a few years ago? KYLE Drabek, the son of the pitcher Batista relieved. So literally an entire generation has come and gone since the Pirates reached the heights of mediocrity.
I have a soft spot in my heart for the Pirates. I would love to see them be winners.
The players who have experienced that sensation? Down to a precious few.