Results tagged ‘ Dan Quisenberry ’

A Letter from Quiz

Dan_Quisenberry_S_0d001We bring you this post by Royals Hall of Fame Director Curt Nelson:

When we think of Dan Quisenberry the first thoughts are usually of his submarine pitching motion, his uncanny control, his ability to induce ground balls and close out many Royals wins with lots and lots of saves. Maybe even his trademark mustache would make your list, but even with all those attributes I’m always drawn to remember his almost peerless wit.

Once when speaking about his lack of velocity and somewhat unique pitching motion he said, “I found a delivery in my flaw.” Upon accepting the 1982 American League Relief Man of the Year Award Quis quipped, “I want to thank all the pitchers who couldn’t go nine innings, and Dick Howser who wouldn’t let them.” On relying on his teammates defensive skills he said, “Our fielders have to catch a lot of balls, or at least deflect them to someone who can.” And on life in general he gave us this pearl of wisdom and humor, “I’ve seen the future and it’s a lot like that present – only longer.”

Dan seemingly made a lasting impression on all those he came in contact with during his all too brief life – even those he never meet face to face. Recently I came across another example of that in an article titled ‘How Athletes Ensure Immortality’ written by Darren Garnick of The Atlantic.

In the piece he talks about immortality in the sense of induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame – the type of immortality many believe Quisenberry’s career in baseball merits (note – two separate links). But then he speaks of the immortality a player has the chance to make by taking advantage of the unique opportunity they have to connect with people. All kinds of people, from the fan in the stands to the child in the hospital. From the usher at the ballpark, to – in Gurnick’s case – a 13 year-old letter writing fan half-way across the country in New England.

Garnick, a Red Sox fan by birth, took a liking to Quisenberry primarily because of the submarine style motion of the Royals ace reliever. It reminded him of the way his father tossed a whiffle ball to him in their own backyard. Like many young boys Garnick had baseball dreams and he decided to write Quisenberry for some advice on becoming a better player. To young Garnick’s surprise his creative writing got a response from the man himself – a two page hand written letter the now slightly older Garnick still cherishes a full third of a century later.

You can see the entire response letter from Quisenberry here in Garnick’s blog.

Dan_Quisenberry_S_0b002The advice Garnick sought on becoming a better baseball player was given, but in the end it was secondary to the personal connection the letter made. Like most of us the big league dream didn’t come through for Garnick. Nevertheless Quisenberry’s letter gave Garnick high marks for being creative and that made all the difference for both of them. Quisenberry saw creativity in Garnick’s letter and responded. And in some small way perhaps Quisenberry’s tip of the cap to Garnick helped inspire more creativity on the part of the 13 year-old he never met.

Garnick’s creativity is still going strong. He is a writer for The Atlantic, an author and Emmy-nominated documentary producer. Quiz was right – the kid was creative.

It seems the art of the hand-written personal letter is almost completely gone. Today we communicate faster and more often than ever, but the personal touch is sometimes lost in translation. It is something we’ll really come to miss. I may be wrong, but a two screen e-mail written today probably won’t hold the same emotional connection in the year 2047 that Quisenberry’s 1981 letter has for Gurnick.

With the letter in his hands, Garnick says of Quisenberry, “For this, he remains immortal to me.”

To that I say to Garnick – he is here in Kansas City too. Dan Quisenberry was simply one of the best ever – and he was a darn good pitcher too.

Royals announce 2010 organizational award winners

The Royals are pleased to announce the remaining organizational award winners for the 2010 season.  The honorees will be recognized at the 2011 Royals Awards Show, scheduled for Saturday, January 22 in conjunction with Royals FanFest presented by Sprint and Teva Neuroscience at the Overland Park Convention Center.

During the event, the Royals will recognize 12 honorees for their contributions both on and off the field in 2010.  Former Royals greats such as George Brett and Willie Wilson will be among the presenters in attendance.

Previously, the club announced the following award recipients as voted on by the Kansas City Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA).  Royals’ closer Joakim Soria  was the selection for the 2010 Bruce Rice Pitcher of the Year while Billy Butler was the 2010 Les Milgram Player of the Year for the second straight season.  Starter Bruce Chen was named the 2010 Joe Burke Special Achievement Award winner.

The remaining award recipients to be recognized at the event include:

Mike Moustakas, recipient of the George Brett Hitter of the Year – recognizing the organization’s top hitter. The 22-year-old third baseman combined to hit .322 with NW Arkansas (AA) and Omaha (AAA), tying for the minor league lead with 36 home runs.  The Royals’ first-round selection (2nd overall) in 2007 also posted 41 doubles and drove in 124 in being named the Sporting News Minor League Hitter of the Year, the Texas League Player of the Year, and a Baseball America 2010 first-team Minor League All-Star.

John Lamb, recipient of the Paul Splittorff Pitcher of the Year - recognizing the organization’s top pitcher. The 20-year-old pitched at three levels of the Royals system in 2010, wrapping up at NW Arkansas.  The six-foot-three lefty from Laguna Hills, Calif., was a combined 10-7 with a 2.38 ERA in 28 starts, allowing 122 hits in 147.2 innings, striking out 159 and walking just 45.  Lamb was a fifth-round pick of the Royals in 2008.

Derrick Robinson, recipient of the Willie Wilson Base Runner of the Year - recognizing the organization’s top base runner.  The 23-year-old patrolled center field for the Texas League-champion Northwest Arkansas Naturals in 2010, hitting .286 with a league-leading 50 stolen bases in 67 attempts.  The speedster, drafted by the Royals in the fourth round in 2006, has swiped 236 bases in his professional career, including 181 in his last three campaigns, and is a two-time winner of the Willie Wilson Award, also earning the honor in 2008.

Eric Hosmer, recipient of the Frank White Defensive Player of the Year – recognizing the organization’s top defensive player.  Hosmer, 21, is an athletic first baseman who posted a .988 fielding percentage in 80 games at Wilmington (A Advanced) before upping that mark to .994 in 43 games at first for NW Arkansas.  At the plate, the Royals’ first-round pick (3rd overall) in 2008 batted a combined .338 with 43 doubles, nine triples, 20 home runs, 86 RBI and 87 runs, also stealing 14 bases in 16 attempts.

Buddy Baumann, recipient of the Mike Sweeney Award - recognizing a player who best represents the organization on and off the field.  The 23-year-old left-handed pitcher tirelessly volunteered for numerous community events throughout the 2010 season, visiting Wilmington-area schools and hospitals and conducting several baseball clinics.  Kansas City’s seventh-round selection in 2009 was 0-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three relief appearances for Burlington (A) to begin 2010 before going 4-2 with four saves and posting a 2.24 ERA in 31 games (14 starts) for Wilmington.

Brian Poldberg, recipient of the Dick Howser Player Development Person of the Year – recognizing an outstanding member of player development.  The only manager the NW Arkansas Naturals have ever known, Poldberg led the club to the Texas League Championship in 2010.  The team was also recently recognized as the Baseball America Minor League Club of the Year.  After ending a seven-year playing career, the Carter Lake, Iowa resident has been a coach and instructor in the Royals organization since 1987.

Sean Gibbs, recipient of the Art Stewart Scout of the Year – recognizing an outstanding scout.  Gibbs has served the Royals organization as an area scout since 2007.  He has scouted and signed several players including 2010 Burlington (R) Pitcher of the Year Crawford Simmons.

Andrew Layman, assistant general manager of the Wilmington Blue Rocks, is the recipient of the Matt Minker Award – recognizing an outstanding minor league affiliate employee.  Layman has directed the merchandise, ticket and stadium operations departments during his 19-year Blue Rocks tenure.  In 1998, he received the Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award for best exemplifying the spirit of volunteerism in recognition of his time invested with a local teen.  The Malvern, Pa. native is a 1992 graduate of Lynchburg College where he played lacrosse.  He currently makes his home in Wilmington with fiance, Jordan, and their son, Mason.

In addition, the Royals will honor Chuck Sailors with the Dan Quisenberry Special Achievement Award –  recognizing an outstanding member of the community.  In 2004, Sailors founded the KC Urban Youth Center at 28th and Troost in Kansas City, Mo.  Today, the center is part of three low-income housing communities in urban Kansas City serving more than 300 students and their families each year.  Sailors and his staff work daily with a holistic approach in order to offer hope, community and wholeness to children and youth living in traditionally underserved communities.

 

Soria posts second 40+ save season

Soria_2010.jpgCongratulations to Joakim Soria, who recorded his 40th save of the season tonight.  Soria had 42 saves in 2008.  He becomes the second Royal with two seasons of 40+ saves, joining Dan Quisenberry (45 in 1983, 44 in 1984).  The KC record for saves in a season is 45, set by Quisenberry and tied by Jeff Montgomery in 1993.

Rubber match: Cleveland

9-7 Lee and Greinke.jpgNo full Around the Horn today, we’re going to get into it quick in anticipation of what should be a pitcher’s duel today at the K. Cliff Lee (20-2 2.32 ERA) and Zack Grienke (10-9, 3.67 ERA) square off.

Lee is the American League’s only 20-game winner so far this season and ERA king, while Greinke has put up career highs for strikeouts, quality starts and will probably top his innings and starts highs before the season ends. So, let’s get to it…

Strikeouts are fun
Starters Gil Meche and Zack Greinke are a turning out to be a strikeout tandem that the Royals haven’t seen the likes of for a while. Between the two, they’ve amassed 317 punch outs this season (158 for Meche and 159 for Greinke, which are both career highs). They current sit at No. 5 and 6 in the American League. As a 1-2 punch, they are third best in the A.L. behind Toronto’s A.J. Burnett and Roy Halladay who have 386 and the Angels’ Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver who sit at 324.

8-5 Meche.jpgMeche and Greinke are the first pair of Royals starters to go over 150 since 1993 when David Cone (191) and Kevin Appier (186) accomplished the feat. By season’s end, Greinke and Meche might be approaching that lofty air, but for now, look for them to take down the 1997 duo of Appier (196) and Jose Rosado (129) who reached 325.

With Greinke throwing today, look for the Royals tandem to challenge the 1997 duo and for second in the A.L. The Angels aren’t throwing Weaver or Santana and Greinke had 8 strikeouts last Tuesday and is averaging 9.3 K’s a start over his last seven (8.1 this season in 28 starts). 

Couple Other Notes: The Royals are 6-4 this season in rubber games…Joakim Soria tied Dan Quisenberry on the Royals all-time season saves list with his 35th save last night…The Royals hit the road for six tomorrow night with a 3-game series in Minnesota starting Tuesday and begin their final homestand a week from tomorrow with four games against Seattle (RETRO-PRICING). Fan Appreciation ends the final homestand with three games versus Chicago (BE A HOT DOG).

Tonight’s lineup:
DeJesus RF
Aviles SS
Guillen DH
Butler 1B
Teahen 3B
Buck C
Callaspo 2B
German LF
Gathright CF

Greinke P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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Would the real Billy Butler please stand up


9-3 Butler.jpgHe’s tearing up opponents right now. Last night he hit his third homer in the team’s last three games.

Not surprisingly they’ve won 2 of 3, notching victories in the games in which he’s gone yard.

Today we’re going to talk about Butler, who has the second highest average in the Majors over his last eight since August 24 (.500, Boston’s Dustin Pedroia is at .512) and note something that hasn’t happened since 1999. To do that, let’s go Around the Horn…

First
Part of Billy Butler’s surge can be attributed to “letting go.” Manager Trey Hillman told reporters that Butler said twice during batting practice in Detroit that he needed to “let it go.” Hillman said Butler felt like he was feeling for things too much. He repeatedly said to himself “I got to let it go.”

Apparently he has. Butler is in the midst of an eight-game hitting streak, though you could call it a hitting barrage. He’s 16-for-32 during the streak and has an RBI for every game in the streak. Last night he cracked a deep shot to left-center for a three-run homer and added another RBI later, tying a season high with four RBI. He also put together his seventh three-hit game.

Butler has been pretty solid since the All-Star break, though his average drooped slightly, he’s re-adjusted to the league and is turning things on in a big way. He’s raised his batting average a full 20 points since the streak started and is now at .281.

Last season Butler hit eight dingers and 52 RBI. This year he’s at 10 and 50 and the team has 25 games left.


9-3 Greinke.jpgSecond
Zack Greinke pitched his way to his 10th victory of the season last night. Not only is that good news for Greinke, who continues to add to his career year (he’s at career bests in wins, quality starts, strikeouts and after last night, ERA), but it’s great news for the Royals.

Greinke is tied with Gil Meche in wins and it’s the first year the Royals have had two double-digit game winners since 1999, when Jose Rosado and Jeff Suppan both tallied 10. Greinke’s strikeouts are also the most for a Royal since Kevin Appier put down 196. If Greinke punches out an average of seven or eight an outing for the rest of the season, he’s got a shot to challenge Appier’s total or even push for 200.

It’s a tall order, but he’s been mowing them down all season and produced eight K’s last night. So he’s definitely got the ability to do it.


6-23 Soria.JPGShort
Joakim Soria recorded the 51st save of his career and moved into fifth all-time on the Royals career saves list, passing Mike MacDougal who had 50. Soria needs 3 more to catch Roberto Hernandez at fourth and seven to match Doug Bird in third. After Bird, the all-time saves list gets a little tougher. Soria is 187 shy of Dan Quisenberry in second and he needs 253 to catch Jeff Montgomery who sits in first…Billy Butler became the sixth Royal to reach double-digits in homers. It’s the most since the 2003 team had eight guys with 10 or more…Ryan Shealy hit his first home run in his first game back in the Majors. His last MLB game was June 27, 2007 and his last homer was June 6, 2007…From Trey Hillman’s Press Conference: Hillman trusts Ron Mahay when he says he’s ready to pitch, but he will be careful in using Mahay. Expect to see him in less stressful situations and earlier in ball games to start…Also: Hillman said he studies the statistics and compares his club with others. As far as bullpen usage, he said the Royals are comparable and he likes where the relievers are set up at the moment and will continue to “go with the hot hand in the eighth”…Finally: There’s been a lot of speculation about Mike Aviles’ status next season. Hillman said he’s comfortable playing Aviles at short or second. During Spring Training he would have said he’d prefer to have Aviles at second, but Aviles didn’t play much short in Arizona. Now Hillman would say short, but he’s seen more of Aviles at short than second now. Hillman also complemented Alberto Callaspo on his defensive work at second, specifically the double play he turned on Saturday.

Third
Having the A’s in town doesn’t totally feel like a road trip for a few of their players. Mike Sweeney, the 13-year Royal9-3 Sweeney.jpg and one-time captain in Kansas City, was activated today from the Disabled List. Sweeney chose to wear No. 5 this season for the Athletics, in honor of the lone Royal player in Cooperstown, George Brett. Sweeney exchanged lineup cards last night during the pre-game conference.

Sweeney has a familiar face in the visiting clubhouse. Former Royal Emil Brown is now with Oakland, but he was not in the lineup last night.

Other A’s with local ties: Reliever Brad Ziegler pitched at Odessa High School and Missouri State University in Springfield. Reliever Josh Outman, who made his Major League debut last night, pitched at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. And reliever Joey Devine is from Junction City, Kansas, and we noticed a littler cheering section for him during last night’s game.

Tonight’s lineup: As Around the Horn was finishing this post, we heard the game was called. You can still enjoy the notes which were for today’s game.

The game will be made up tomorrow at 4:10. Brian Bannister is still scheduled to throw and Kyle Davies will throw the second game of the double-dip.

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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All's quiet on the K.C. Front

7-31 Olivo.jpgThe trade deadline has passed and the Royals haven’t changed.

The quiet from the Kansas City front office says that General Manager Dayton Moore likes this team. Yes, there have been some low points this season. But the team is riding a four-game winning streak and has won five of its last seven, including its first sweep in Oakland in 20 years. With the good vibes rolling today, we’re going to look at a few trends and maybe some on-pace numbers…

Winning ways
The Royals have won five of their last six on the road dating back to the All-Star break. If you include their last road game before the break, they’ve won six of seven.

Billy Butler is hitting
He’s got a .289 average and a .578 slugging percentage since the All-Star break. He’s had five homers and 15 RBI in July, with four and 14 post-break.

The pitchers are mowing down opponents
Zack Grienke and Brian Bannister set and tied career highs in K’s with 11 and seven, respectively, in games one and game three of the Oakland series. As a team, Royals pitchers punched out 31 A’s during the series.


6-23 Soria.JPGThe All-Star
At the back of the pen is Joakim Soria – the All-Star. He saved all three games in Oakland and has finished four straight. With today’s off day, he should be recharged to face the Sox over the weekend. And yet again, we’d like to make another plea to ESPN’s anchor desk.  His name is pronounced “Wah-KEEM SOAR-ee-a.”  Not “Joe-ah-kim” like the former Florida basketball player. The man’s an All-Star, treat him like one.

Walking the line
Alex Gordon set a Royals record yesterday with five walks. Gordon didn’t record an official at-bat. He is the second player this season to record five in a single game, but the only player to walk five times in only five plate appearances. The Rangers’ Milton Bradley walked five times in eight trips to the plate on April 16.

Pace-setting
Alex Gordon easily leads the team in walks, with 16 more than Mark Teahen. Gordon is currently at 51 walks and is on pace to have 76. To compare, Teahen is on pace for 52.

7-28 Butler 2.JPGThe Royals currently have four guys with 10 or more homers. The team has another two players sitting at eight and nine dingers. And then Billy Butler and Mike Aviles, who both have time at Omaha this season, are at six round-trippers. If both keep hitting at the pace they are on right now, they’ll reach 10. That amounts to eight Royals with 10-plus home runs.

The 2003 club is the last K.C. team to have eight slug double-digits. Those players were? Carlos Beltran (26), Raul Ibanez (18), Angel Berroa (17), Joe Randa (16), Mike Sweeney (16), Aaron Guiel (15), Ken Harvey (13) and Michael Tucker (13). The ’03 squad ended with 162 home runs for the year.

Butler has played 80 games and according to pace numbers should hit 10 exactly. Around the Horn would like to predict a few more because of his July numbers – five homers in 25 games would be a pace for 32 in a season, which projects to 10.6 over the remaining 53 games.

To be fair, we’ll look at a few predictions for pitching. Joakim Soria, who we talked about earlier this season when he tied Jeff Montgomery’s 1993 pre-All-Star game save record (25), is on pace for 45 saves. He’ll stencil his name into the record books again with that total. It would tie the club record, set by Montgomery in ’93 and Dan Quisenberry in 1983. Monty had an 88.2 save percentage and Quiz ended ’83 with an 84.9. Soria is at 93.7 after saving 30 of 32 games.

7-31 Mahay.jpgRon Mahay, maybe the most reliable man in the bullpen aside from Soria, has 18 holds this year. That’s already third on the Royals all-time list. At his current pace, he’ll reach 27 (26.7) which would fall one short of the team record of 28, set by Jason Grimsley in 2003.

One more note to think about, Zack Greinke has 125 strikeouts. That’s a pace for 186 (185.6, but you round up when talking about the kind of stuff he has), which would place him tied for eighth in the Royals record books.


Thumbnail image for 7-29 Military Hat.jpgThis weekend
An exciting nine-game homestand starts tomorrow with Ken Griffey, Jr. and the White Sox.  Yep, the “kid” and his 600+ homers will make his first appearance at “The K” since 1999. Saturday has a lot going for it. It’s Military Apprecitation Day with camo caps to the first 20,000. It’s a FOX national broadcast and a 2:55 start time.

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The Kickoff of a Rock 'n' Roll Homestand

7-21 vs Det.jpgThe Detroit “Rock City” Tigers are here. And this week, we’ll welcome Emerson Drive back for a full-length concert after their gig singing the National Anthem on Opening Day.

The Royals are rollin’ a bit after their first series win in Chi-town since 2003. And they are poised to take on the Tigers for three followed by a four-game set against the American League East-leading Tampa Bay Rays. To gear up for this homestand, let’s go Around the Horn…

First
It’s been said by people smarter than us that pitching is the currency of baseball. And if so, the Royals just got a little richer. Power-arm Leo Nunez, the 175-pounder with mid 90s stuff, is off the Disabled List and back in the bullpen, shoring up one of the more solid parts of the Club. Nunez made five rehab appearances after being placed on the D.L. May 29th. In his final appearance on Friday for Double A Northwest Arkansas, he pitched two hitless innings, striking out two.

Nunez brings a 1.71 ERA to the pen, joining Ron Mahay’s 1.78, Horacio Ramirez’s 1.15, Ramon Ramirez’s 37-21 Chicago.jpg.06 and closer Joakim Soria’s 1.43. The K.C. pen as a collective whole holds a 3.76 ERA in 296 and 2/3 innings. Opponents are hitting only .237 against Royals relievers.

The other side of Nunez’s activation is that Joel Peralta was optioned to Omaha. Manager Trey Hillman said that he was just the odd man out, someone who has options remaining. Hillman stressed in his pre-game meeting with the press that Peralta was impressive in his last outing and he’s starting to look like the pitcher he heard about when he first came to Kansas City – the trusted man out of the pen who led all relievers with 87 and 2/3 innings in 2007 and ended the season with 3.80 ERA, the lowest total of his Major League career.

Second
If Around the Horn mentions Jose Guillen, it’s usually because of his offensive numbers, but manager Trey Hillman was asked today if he thinks Guillen’s defense is underrated. He said it probably is and shouldn’t be.

7-1 Guillen.jpgAround the Horn checked the numbers. He’s currently tied for seventh in the American League with seven outfield assists (the A.L. lead is 10 by Ben Francisco). Guillen picked up number seven after gunning down Chicago’s A.J. Pierzynski yesterday in the eighth. Pierzynski would have tied the game but instead he was an easy out for catcher Miguel Olivo. Guillen’s throw one-hopped Olivo and beat Pierzynski by several feet.

Now defense is hard to judge. And outfield assist numbers can be a jaded number. Mark Teahen was second in the A.L. with 17 last year, but has only four this season. Why? Because baserunners and coaches figured out they can’t run as often. Guillen on the other hand has always had a reputation for having a rocket of an arm and he’s still among the leaders.

Hillman also applauded Guillen’s reads on fly balls (this video is from the Tampa series) saying the slugger probably takes fewer false steps than any outfielder on the team.

Short
Mike Aviles is riding a career high 10-game hitting streak in which he’s batted .432…Billy Butler homered Friday and Saturday, the first time he’d ever homered in back-to-back games…Notes from Trey Hillman’s pre-game press conference: Look for Leo Nunez to ease back into his bullpen role as an eighth inning guy. He’ll probably be used in earlier innings at first…Also from Hillman: Horacio Ramirez is not available today unless absolutely necessary because he pitched on back-to-back days and threw multiple innings in both games.


7-21 Girls.jpgThird
Lots of news on the television and promotions side. This homestand is packed with specials, starting with 20,000 powder blue Frank White tees to be given out tomorrow, Ink College Night on Wednesday, Girls Night Out on Thursday, Fireworks and Buck Night on Friday, Dan Quisenberry Bobbleheads and Emerson Drive playing on Saturday and finally the Sprint Fun Run and Autograph afternoon on Sunday.

The Royals announced earlier this month that the August 2 game versus the White Sox is being moved from a 6:10 start to a 2:55 game to accommodate national coverage on FOX. Because of the loss of a TV date, FSN Kansas City is adding September 18 versus Seattle. The game time for that game is 1:10, with Royals Live starting at 12:30.

Extra Innnings
The Royals are working on a number of things for Military Appreciation Day, which is August 2. Around the Horn would like to request some help from our faithful here at mlblogs.com. If you have pictures of loved ones overseas wearing Royals gear, you can send them to blog@royals.com and we might be able to use them for a presentation during that day’s events. If not, Around the Horn is also working on a special post for that day and may post some of these photos right here. Please include the name of the person, hometown, where they are stationed and what branch they are in.

Thanks for your help.

Here’s tonight’s lineup:

DeJesus LF
Aviles SS
Butler DH
Guillen RF
Grudzielanek 2B
Gordon 3B
Gload 1B
Buck C
Gathright CF

Hochevar P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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