Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Virtual Bike Tour of Baseball Sites - Salina Kansas

Virtual Bike Tour of Baseball Sites was an early feature of the blog. I was riding my stationary bike and plotting my course on a Goggle map. The plan was to 'travel' enough miles to virtually visit each major league ballpark. On the way, I would 'visit' (by showing their baseball cards) players in the home towns as I passed through. I wasn't likely to do such a trip for real so I thought this would be the next best thing. At some point it got too much to get to the gym often enough to maintain the feature but since I retired last January I'm at the gym 2-3 days a week. Time to get back on the journey.

When I left off, I was in Wichita Kansas, visiting with a couple of former Phillies. My next stop was planned to be Salina Kansas.  Here's the trip so far.

I'm now at a crossroad. I can either head east to Kansas City and on to teams on the east of the Mississippi or I can head west to Denver and pick up the western teams before finally turning back east. Any thoughts in which was to go?

Salina is a small town with a population of about 48,000 people and lots of wheat. It's motto is "Right Place. Right reason. Right now". According to it's Wikipedia page the largest employer is Tony's Pizza with 1,850 employees. It must be the largest pizza joint in the world.  It turns out there are a few baseball players born in Salina.

1993 Stadium Club #210 Pat Meares
Meares was born in Salina on 9/6/1968. He went to college in nearby Wichita State. He was drafted by the Twins in the 15th round of the 1990 draft. Pat played 6 years for the Twins and 3 years with the Pirates. He was a middle infielder with a decent enough average (.258) and a little bit of power (58 career home runs). He was mostly a shortstop and in 1995 he lead the league in errors (18) at short. His other claim to fame is that he made the last out during David Wells' perfect game in 1998.

1964 Topps #157 Gene Mauch
The most famous baseball person from Salina is undoubtedly Gene Mauch. Between 1960 and 1987, Gene managed somewhere in the big leagues every year but 2. No wonder his nickname was Skip. He managed the Phillies from 1960 through 1968 with a record of 646-684. But most people in Philadelphia will remember him as the manager of the 1964 Phillies. With a 6.5 game lead with 12 games to go, Mauch decided to pitch his two best pitchers, Jim Bunning and Chris Short in 7 of the last 10 games. The Phillies lost 10 games in a row finishing in a tie for second place.

2001 Topps Traded #35 Ryan Kohlmeier
Ryan was the Orioles 14th round pick in 1996. He was 1-3 in 59 appearances (1 start) for the O's in 2000-2001. He spent a few more years in the minors before retiring in 2004.

2009 Topps Update #303 Luke French
Another short-timer. French was drafted by the Tigers in the 8th round of the 2004 draft. He compiled a 9-2 record in 2009-2919 with the Tigers and Mariners.

The only other player born in Salina was Bob Swift who was born in 1915. He had a 14-year career as a catcher, mostly with the Tigers. I've got no cards of his.

That wraps up Salina Kansas.

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