Former Hyannis and current Minnesota Twins outfielder Sam Fuld was one of 5 former CCBL stars elected to the 2014 Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame. Fuld was one of the players we featured in the 2004 documentary Touching the Game, The Story of the Cape Cod Baseball League. Fuld was one of just a handful of players to bat over .300 in the 2003 Cape season while leading Hyannis to the West Division playoffs. Also elected was the 2003 Outstanding Pitcher of the Year Eric Beattie. Beattie also appears in Touching the Game, leading the Bourne Braves to the Cape Cod League Finals. More information on on the Hall of Fame ceremony can be found here. Congratulations to all!
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Can you believe it has been 9 years since we filmed Touching the Game, The Story of the Cape Cod Baseball League? Since that fun summer of 2003, we have been following many of the Cape players who appeared in the film. Many people know that an average of 1 in 6 players in the Cape League make it to the Major Leagues but, as we have found out, once you make it to the show, it is not easy to stay there. Every year a whole new crop of players are drafted and signed, forcing many pro ball players to play in another country, try their luck in the Independent Leagues, or call it a career all together. Then there is always the injuries. Many of the people we followed in 2003 though are still making a go of it. Let’s take a look.
After a couple years with in the NY Yankees system, Justin Maxwell has found a spot as a 4th outfielder with the Houston Astros. Maxwell has dealt with injury issues throughout his career, but until recently, was having a good year with the Astros. He’s currently ending a 15-Day stint on the DL with a bad ankle, but will begin rehabbing in the minors soon. Sam Fuld who enjoyed his best year as a pro last year with the Tampa Bay Rays, has been out all season after wrist surgery. He could return in August. Fuld’s former Stanford teammate John Mayberry has had a steady year on the Phillies. A back up outfielder and 1st baseman, Mayberry has seen a lot of action due to several Phillies injuries.
Remember what we said about the difficulty of staying in the Majors once you make it. Some of our guys from the summer of 2003 have logged quite a few miles switching teams and bouncing up and down from the Majors to the Minors. One is Andy Laroche. After being named the starting 3B with the Pirates a few years back, Andy has had a tough road of it. He spent the first few months of this season with the Indians AAA affiliate Columbus, but after asking for his release, has now landed with the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox. Those who remember Andy playing for the 2003 Wareham Gatemen, don’t have too far to go to see him playing today! Pitcher Dave Purcey has also bounced around. He is now trying to make it back to the Majors as a reliever with the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (AAA-Phillies). Also trying to get back to show are former Cape Leaguers Brandon Boggs AAA-Indianapolis (Pirates), Trevor Crowe AAA-Columbus (Indians), and Tommy Manzella AA-Huntsville (Brewers).
Former Lewis-Clark College baseball coach Ed Cheff was selected to be part of the 2012 class inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame.
Cheff spent 34 seasons coaching at LCSU and has also spent many summers coaching in the Alaska Baseball League. We focused on Cheff in our 2009 documentary film Touching the Game, Alaska. A true baseball original, you can view our segment on Cheff from the film here.
Cheff, who retired in 2010, was one of seven individuals named to the 2012 class. He is joined by a number of college baseball greats including former major leaguers Nomar Garciaparra, Lou Brock, and Brad Wilkerson. The 2012 class will be inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of the College Baseball Night of Champions celebration on June 29-30 in Lubbock, Texas.
Dennis Mattingly who founded the Anchorage Bucs, and ran the team for close to 30 years passed away. We were able to spend some time with Dennis, as we interviewed him for our film Touching the Game, Alaska. A passionate baseball man, Dennis told us many great stories from years past of baseball in Alaska. He will be missed. For more, the Anchorage Daily News posted an article here.
The Hall of Fame has posted all the information on the 6th annual Baseball Film Festival. It can be found here. Touching the Game, Alaska will screen in Session 3 which starts at 2:00pm on Saturday, October 1. If you are near Cooperstown, NY, come on by!
We recently were notified that our 2009 documentary Touching the Game, Alaska has been selected to screen at the 6th annual Baseball Film Festival to be held Sept. 30 – Oct 2, 2011 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. More details on the festival will be forthcoming, but this is exciting news!
Former Alaska Goldpanner pitcher Chris Schwinden will make his Major League debut for the Mets on Thursday 9/8 as he will start the first game of a double-header against the Braves. Schwinden was featured in Touching the Game, Alaska as our camera crew followed him and teammate Beau Mills on a fishing adventure outside of Fairbanks. Both Schwinden and Mills grew up in Vasalia, CA. The highly touted Mills, the 2007 1st round draft pick of the Indians, is on the cusp of making it to the Major Leagues himself, but Schwinden is one of those unlikely stories that often come out of the Alaska Baseball League. After his summer in Fairbanks, and a year of college ball at Fresno Pacific, he was a 22nd round draft pick of the Mets, but progressed quickly through the minor leagues having an excellent season this year as the #1 starter at (AAA) Buffalo.
The Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star game is once again taking place at Fenway Park on Friday evening, and the crowds are getting bigger every year. It’s a great chance to see some of the MLB stars of the future. If you would like to go to the game, all the info is here. If you can’t make it to Fenway, Comcast Sports New England (as well as many other Comcast affiliates) will be televising the game live at 7:00pm Friday evening or on tape delay. Comcast will also be airing a special one hour version of Touching the Game, The Story of the Cape Cod Baseball League Thursday evening 7/28 at 5:00pm and 8:oopm. Warm up for the CCBL All-Stars with Touching the Game!
Philadelphia Phillies outfielder John Mayberry played in the Cape Cod Baseball League in the summer of ’03. He had just finished his freshman year at Stanford. We interviewed him a couple times for our documentary Touching the Game, The Story of the Cape Cod Baseball League. We were also able to speak to John’s father, former MLB player John Mayberry Sr. who was visiting the Cape to view some of Jr.’s games with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. Here’s a clip from the film.
During the summer of 2006, while filming Touching the Game, Alaska, we were able to spend a day fishing outside of Fairbanks with a couple players from the Goldpanners, infielder Beau Mills and pitcher Chris Schwinden. Both players came from the the same home town of Visalia, CA. While Beau Mills, son of Houston Astros manager Brad Mills, was a highly touted prospect at Lewis-Clark State College, Schwinden was just starting to get on the radar at Fresno Pacific. In the 2007 MLB draft, Mills was the 1st round pick (13th overall) of the Cleveland Indians. His ’07 an’08 seasons in the minors were stellar as he was on the fast track to the Indians, but his batting average dropped in ’09. In 2010 while playing for the (AA) Akron Aeros, Mills continued to slump at the plate. He also had some off-field issues, as well as nagging injuries. Mills’ attempt to get off to a fresh start in 2011 was slowed by tendinitis in his Achilles heel, and he spent the first six weeks of the season in extended spring training in Arizona. This past week, Mills returned to the Akron Aeros on a mission to show the Indians that he is still a top prospect.
Chris Schwinden, who was drafted in 22nd round of the 2007 MLB draft, by the New York Mets, has been nothing but sensational in the minor leagues. This season, Schwinden started in AA pitching for the Binghamton Mets, but has already progressed to the AAA Buffalo Bisons. So far in Buffalo, Schwinden is 3-1 with a 1.82 ERA, and many are saying he could get a call-up to the Mets before years end.
You can see both Schwinden and Mills on the fishing trip, and playing for the Alaska Goldpanners in Touching the Game, Alaska, Order it on DVD today!