Independent Baseball Insider: Vol. 11, No. 30, September 5, 2013
By Bob Wirz
Baseball people realize this is a magnificent time of year for numbers crunchers because of the pursuit of various individual and team records, and there certainly will not be any disappointment as this season works toward its climax.
The Independent game is right in the mix with such heady topics to drool over as a couple of league wins totals never seen previously, a great shot at a 20-game winner and all sorts of marks to consider, partly because of the plethora of talented players who are finishing the season on the grandest stage of all, the major leagues.
We probably have not seen the last of the promotions to the majors since the minor league playoffs are only getting started, but the American Association can brag about 10 of its former players now with American or National League teams and the Atlantic League is only one short of that lofty plateau.
Thirty-one players who have worn Independent uniforms are in the majors right now, and no less than 12, which is believed to be a record for one season, have broken into the big time this year alone. One of which is Kris Johnson (Kansas City, KS, American Association, pictured) with Pittsburgh.
Lancaster’s Pollok Nears New Plateau of 20 wins
It is difficult enough to win 20 games in a 162-game major league season although Detroit’s Max Scherzer (19-2), who threw his first professional pitches for the Fort Worth (TX) Cats who were in the American Association when that took place in 2007, is trying to prove otherwise. Now try it in a shorter Independent season and see how big the challenge becomes.
That is exactly what Dwayne Pollok is trying to accomplish. The right-hander has tied the Atlantic League record with 18 victories (Dan Reichert did it originally for Bridgeport, CT in the same league in 2010), but the 32-year-old Pollok, who has won his last 12 decisions and was named Pitcher of the Month for August, still has time for three more starts for Lancaster, PA, the first of which was scheduled for this very night (Thursday). A definitive record book is not available, but it is doubtful anyone has ever won 19 or 20 games for an Independent team since most leagues beyond the Atlantic do not play more than 100 games.
Pollok, who was a 27th round draft choice of the Chicago White Sox out of Texas A&M in 2003, ironically, also pitched for Fort Worth (2010-11). His career has topped out at Triple-A to this point.