12/06/2009 3:50 PM
Cape League Alumni Land Several
Major League Baseball Postseason Awards
CAPE COD, Mass. – Several prominent alumni of the Cape Cod Baseball League have landed postseason awards from major league baseball.
Third baseball Mike Lowell, who played for the Chatham A’s during the summer of 1994, led the Boston Red Sox to a four-game sweep over the Colorado Rockies and was named World Series MVP.
Tampa Bay’s slugging first baseman Carlos Pena, who was the CCBL’s MVP and Sportsmanship Award recipient in 1997 while playing for the Wareham Gatemen, was named American League Comeback Player of the Year.
Pena was edged out in the voting for a gold glove at first base by Kevin Youkilus of the Boston Red Sox, who performed for the Bourne Braves in 2000 and did not commit a single error during the 2007 regular season.
Former Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox Eric Wedge, who played in the Cape League in 1988 and competed in the home run hitting contest that summer won by eventual champion Frank Thomas and Mo Vaughn, was named American League Manager of the Year after leading the Cleveland Indians to the AL Central Division crown and a berth in the ALCS, where they lost a tough seven-game series to the eventual World Series Champion Red Sox.
Versatile Craig Biggio, who played for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox in 1987, was the newest member of the elite 3,000 hit club this past summer for the Houston Astros.
Other former Cape Leaguers making news include newly named New York Yankees manager Joe Giardi, who caught for the Cotuit Kettleers in 1984, former Hyannis Mets field manager and CCBL Hall of Famer Bob Schaefer, named bench coach by new manager Joe Torre of the Los Angeles Dodgers and former Chatham A’s left-hander Andrew Miller and Hyannis Mets catcher Mike Robelo, who were both sent packing to the Florida Marlins in the recent blockbuster trade with the Detroit Tigers
ABOUT THE CAPE COD BASEBALL LEAGUE
The Cape Cod Baseball League returns in 2008 for its 124th summer campaign. The CCBL provides fans with competitive baseball entertainment, where the country’s top college players display multi-dimensional skills in their purest form.
The now 10-team Cape League originated in 1885 with individual town teams, was reorganized into the Cape Cod Baseball League in 1923 with teams in Chatham, Falmouth, Hyannis and Osterville and is now the premier collegiate baseball summer league in the country.
More than 1,000 alumni currently perform at all levels of professional baseball, with 200-plus former Cape Leaguer players and coaches currently listed on major league rosters. Included are Managers of the Year Eric Wedge (Yarmouth-Dennis ’88) and Joe Giardi (Cotuit ’84), AL Comeback Player of the Year Carlos Pena (Harwich ‘96/Wareham ’97) former Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito (Wareham ’97 & ’98), former AL MVP Frank Thomas (Orleans ’88), former AL batting champion Nomar Garciaparra (Orleans ’93), former NL Fireman of the Year Billy Wagner (Brewster ‘92) and recent 3,000-hit club member Craig Biggio (YD ’87).
The amateur talent in the Cape League is second to none. The league played a prominent role in the development of rosters for the 2007 World Series, which included 20 players who honed their skills on the diamonds of Cape Cod.
Among the World Champion Boston Red Sox who played in the Cape League were World Series MVP Mike Lowell (Chatham ’94), team captain Jason Varitek (Hyannis ’91 & ’93), Gold Glove first baseman Kevin Youkilis (Bourne ’00) and speedy rookie phenom Jacoby Ellsbury (Falmouth ’04).
Top CCBL alumni performing for the NL champion Colorado Rockies included: All-Star slugger Todd Helton (Orleans ’94), Omar Quintanilla (Cotuit ’02), slugging third baseman Garrett Atkins (Cotuit ’98-’99) and hurler Ryan Speier (Bourne ’01).
Cape League alumni of yesteryear include Baseball Hall of Famer Harold “Pie” Traynor (Falmouth ’19), former New York Yankee greats “Jumpin” Joe Dugan, Red Rolfe (Orleans ’30) and Thurman Munson (Chatham ’67), former Texas Rangers and New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine (Yarmouth ’67), Cy Young Award winners Steve Stone (Chatham ’68) and Mike Flanagan (Falmouth ’72), Rolaids Fireman-of-the-Year Jeff Reardon (Cotuit ’74-76), major league scouts Len Merullo (Barnstable ’35) and Bill Enos (Orleans ’36) and Major League Manager of the Year Nat “Buck” Showalter (Hyannis ’76).
The Cape League is recognized as the best amateur summer leagues in the country by college coaches, as well as professional baseball scouts. Players from around the USA and all college divisions are recruited to play in the 10-team loop, whose teams represent Bourne, Brewster, Chatham, Cotuit, Falmouth, Harwich, Hyannis, Orleans, Wareham, and Yarmouth-Dennis. From housing and jobs for the players, to volunteer work within the league itself, the Cape League could not enjoy its growing success without a total team effort. The hard work by each franchise pays off, as the ultimate reward is to see the stars of tomorrow take the field on Cape Cod today.