The Brewers' closer discusses his path to the majors, film, and social networking.
When most baseball fans think of John Axford, they think of a hard-throwing right-hander who came out of nowhere to replace Trevor Hoffman as the Brewers’ closer last season. Many also look at him as the guy with the cool mustache, but there is far more to Axford than the 24 saves and the facial hair that is approaching cult status. A 27-year-old native and resident of Ontario, Canada, Axford teetered on the brink of baseball oblivion before making his mark in Milwaukee. He underwent Tommy John surgery while earning a film degree at Notre Dame, and subsequently found himself going from indie ball in western Canada to a minor-league stint with the Yankees, who released him after just one season. Signed off the scrapheap by the Brewers in 2008, he is now a bona fide big-leaguer and burgeoning online sensation.
The Indians' 2011 first-rounder talks about mechanics, signing late, and his quirky curveball.
Drew Pomeranz has a unique curveball to go with his high ceiling. The tall left-hander was drafted fifth overall by the Indians last June—he was the first college pitcher selected—and a big reason is a breaking ball that is both nasty and, in his own words, “hard to explain.” A 6-foot-5 product of the University of Mississippi, Pomeranz inked a contract at the August signing deadline and will begin his professional career this spring.
The BBWAA's secretary-treasurer discusses voting and what it's like to notify players who have been elected to the Hall of Fame.
In Part II, Jack O'Connell, the secretary-treasurer of the Baseball Writers Association of America, discusses annual awards and the Hall of Fame, including who votes for the MVP and Cy Young, who gets a Hall of Fame ballot, and why Rick Ferrell is enshrined in Cooperstown. You can read Part I here.
The secretary-treasurer of the BBWAA discusses the organization's purpose, its relationship with MLB, and membership eligibility.
The Baseball Writers Association of America is a big part of the game, and Jack O’Connell is a big part of the BBWAA. The organization’s secretary-treasurer since 1994, O’Connell is not only involved in the decision-making, he also serves as spokesperson and coordinates the annual awards and Hall of Fame balloting. A member of the BBWAA since 1975, he is a former beat writer for both the Mets and Yankees. O’Connell talked about the history and objectives of the BBWAA, along with a variety of the organization’s issues. Among them: their relationship with MLB, membership eligibility—including the inclusion of internet-only reporters—and the Hall of Fame voting process.
The Indians beat writer recalls some moments from a career spanning almost 30 years.
The job of a baseball beat writer is evolving, and it is a lot more demanding than most people realize. Few do it better the Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “Hoynsie” has been on the Indians beat for nearly 30 years, so from Andre Thornton to Manny Acta, and Albert Belle to the internet age, he has pretty much seen and done it all—in his own inimitable style. Hoynes talked about what goes into the job, how it has changed, and some of the most interesting players he has covered, one of whom attacked him in the clubhouse.
The former first baseman talks about his days in the big leagues, the Hall of Fame, and most importantly his commitment to Wolfram Syndrome.
To many fans, J.T. Snow is remembered as the slick-fielding San Francisco Giants first baseman who had to scoop up three-year-old batboy Darren Baker from harm’s way in the 2002 World Series. Eight years later, the now-retired six-time Gold Glove winner is committed to a far more important cause: helping children suffering from a rare disease called Wolfram Syndrome. Snow, who hit .268/.357/.427, with 189 home runs over 15 big-league seasons, shared his thoughts on a variety of subjects, including the importance of defense, steroids and the Hall of Fame, and athletes as role models. His foundation, The Snowman Fund, is named for himself and his late father, former Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Jack Snow.
The Southern League president discusses the toughest pitcher he ever faced, his career highlights, and reflects on his accomplishments.
In Part II, Don Mincher talks about the toughest pitcher he ever faced, getting hit in the face by a Sam McDowell fastball, how the 1965 Twins compare to the 1972 Oakland A’s, and more. You can view Part I here.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
The former big-leaguer and current president of the Southern League discusses baseball during his playing days, his career, and players from his era.
Don Mincher is a proud man, and a true baseball lifer. Currently the president of the Double-A Southern League, the 72-year-old Mincher signed his first professional contract in 1956 and went on to spend 13 seasons as a big-league first baseman before turning his attention to front-office duties.
The son of the fiery manager discusses his father's multiple tenures with the Yankees, his Hall of Fame credentials, and his impact on the game.
Love him or hate him, the late Billy Martin was one of the most successful managers in big-league history. He was also no paragon of virtue, which makes him a controversial figure when it comes to his Hall of Fame worthiness. That decision now rests with the veterans’ committee, which thus far has not deemed him worthy of the honor.
Red Sox minor-league pitching coach Bob Kipper recalls his major-league playing experiences.
Before he became a highly-regarded minor-league pitching coach, Bob Kipper lived the dream that he now helps others pursue. The 46-year-old erstwhile left-hander spent eight seasons in the big leagues, and while his record was humble—27-37 with a 4.34 ERA and 11 saves—he considers himself privileged to have simply earned the opportunity. Taken eighth overall in the 1982 draft by the California Angels, Kipper was traded to Pittsburgh three years later and logged the bulk of his 247 career appearances with the Pirates. He has been a pitching coach in the Red Sox organization since 1999, and he spent the 2010 season mentoring hurlers in Double-A Portland.
A look back at some of the top quotes from the 2010 season.
It was a busy year for the Prospectus Q&A series in 2010. Over 100 full-length interviews graced these pages from January through December, and I hope that most were entertaining and/or informative. As always, it was a pleasure to bring them to the BP community. Here is a selection of the best quotes from the interviews:
The Tigers rookie discusses getting to his road to the majors and succeeding despite his size.
When Will Rhymes made his big-league debut this summer, it represented a win for the underdog—the undersized underdog. The Tigers rookie is 5-foot-9 and 150 pounds, and he came into professional baseball as a senior sign who was drafted in the 27th round. He proceeded to hit well in the minor leagues, topping the .300 mark three times in six years, but he was never all that highly regarded as a prospect.