After examining some of the ex-MLBers in the Atlantic League, I was feeling rather unfulfilled. Even though the list was extensive, I knew that I had not yet covered the full spectrum of the Independent Leagues.
The Atlantic League generally maintains a strong monopoly on ex-MLB players, but there are plenty of gems still muddling around the various professional baseball leagues.
The first independent league that I will be covering will be the Northern League. Even though I have never attended a Northern League game, after seeing some of the names on Northern League rosters, I might have to take a road trip.
So without further ado, Jorge Says No! proudly presents:
Randall Simon, 1B, Fargo-Moorhead—I can now continue on with my life: Randall Simon has been found in the Northern League!
I think the following video says everything you need to know about Simon.
And by the way, Simon hit third for the Netherlands in the 2009 WBC.
Ken Harvey, 1B, Kansas City—Can you believe that Harvey was an All Star in 2004? It is even stranger that Harvey was out of MLB by 2005.
Pat Mahomes—Mahomes was a member of the 1999 and 2000 New York Mets, and as a result, he will always have a special place in my heart.
- Strange fact No. 1: Mahomes went 8-0 for the 1999 Mets as their long relief man. What a team.
- Strange fact No. 2: Mahomes hit .313 for the Mets in 1999 and was a lifetime .256 hitter. How impressive is that?
Damian Rolls, OF, Kansas City—Rolls was on the Devil Rays when the Devil Rays sucked. He actually put up pretty good numbers in 2003 (.255, 7 HR, 46 RBI), but he bottomed out badly in 2004, only hitting .162.
Daniel Haigwood, P, Winnipeg—At one time, Haigwood was one of the top prospects in the White Sox organization and was involved in the trade that brought Jim Thome to the White Sox in 2006.
Haigwood performed pretty well at AA last season, but at 25 years old, I'm guessing that teams simply did not believe his ceiling was that high.
Joey Gomes, OF, Joliet—Many times I ask myself why players would continue to play in an independent league even though there is little chance that they will ever make it (back) to the MLB. Well, I think this piece from the PressDemocrat.com about Gomes sums it up:
"Petaluma's Joey Gomes left today for an independent baseball team in Illinois, still keeping alive his dream of Major League Baseball.
"Whether that happens or not, Gomes has the kind of personality and charm that one day when his playing career is over, he will rise in the sport, either as coach, scout, front office official or instructor. Joey has that innate quality that makes people want to listen, learn and follow."
Best of luck, Joey Gomes. Keep the dream alive.
Edwin Almonte, P, Schaumberg—Yes, Almonte was one of the guys traded from the White Sox to the Mets for Roberto Alomar in 2003. Almonte pitched in 11 games for the Mets in 2003 and finished with a 11.12 ERA. Needless to say, Almonte never returned to the majors.
Jermaine Allensworth, OF, Schaumburg—I'll admit it: I was stunned to see Allensworth's name on a roster. This guy has not played in the majors since 1999 with my beloved New York Mets. But hey, if you love the game, then ya' gotta play.
- Strange fact No. 1: Jermaine Allensworth was portrayed on SNL in 1997 by Tracy Morgan in a skit about Jackie Robinson Day. How random is that?
Yurendell de Caster, 3B, Fargo-Moorhead—Played on the 2009 Netherlands team that defeated the Dominican Republic twice in the WBC.
Felix Jose, OF, Schaumburg—This is not a joke. I swear. Felix Jose was an All Star all the way back in 1991. The last time Jose played more than 100 games in the majors was in 1993. Oh yeah, Felix Jose is 44 years old. Word.