Monday, April 18, 2016
Baseball is back!
On April 3, 2016 the players of the 30 Major League Baseball started another season in their careers. Among those players were players from our very own Calhoun County and Jacksonville State University.
Two players from Jacksonville State that come to mind are Todd Cunningham and Donovan Hand. Todd Cunningham was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2010 amateur draft by the Atlanta Braves, and his first debut was in 2013. Donovan Hand was drafted in the 14th round of the 2007 amateur draft by the Milwaukee Brewers, and his first debut with them was in 2013. In 2015 Hand was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds, and Cunningham was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Angels.
Three retired MLB players from JSU are Bill White, Tim Van Egmond, and Todd Jones. Bill White was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2000 amateur draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. His first debut was with the Texas Rangers in 2007. White’s last game was a year later on September 26, 2008. Tim Van Egmond was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 17th round of the 1991 amateur draft. His first debut was in 1994, but was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1996 and played his last game on September 25, 1996. Todd Jones was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 1st round of the 1989 amateur draft and his first debut was with them in 1993. Jones played in the league for 16 years. In those 16 years, he played for 8 teams, Houston Astros (1993-96), Detroit Tigers (1997-2001), Minnesota Twins (2001), Colorado Rockies (2002-03), Boston Red Sox (2003), Cincinnati Reds (2004), Philadelphia Phillies (2004), Florida Marlins (2005), and back to Detroit Tigers (2006-08). In 2000, he was made an All-Star and he played his last game on August 15, 2008.
Jacksonville State University also has alumni in the minor leagues. Some recent players that were drafted are Daniel Watts (Diamondbacks in 2012), Sam Eberle (Giants in 2012), Ben Waldrip (Royals in 2011 and Rockies in 2012), Coty Blanchard (Rays 2013), and Griff Gordon (Yankees 2014).
Across Calhoun County, more players were drafted: Colter Bean, Tommy O’Brien, Ed White, and Ty Cobb. Colter Bean played for the New York Yankees from 2005-2007 and his last game was on May 4, 2007. Tommy O’Brien played for 5 years for 3 teams: Pittsburg Pirates (1943-45), Boston Red Sox (1949-50), and Washington Nationals (1950). His last game was May 13, 1950. Ed White played 1 year for the Chicago White Sox in 1955, and his last game was September 25, 1955. Lastly, Ty Cobb played for 2 teams in his 24 year career: Detroit Tigers (1905-1926) and Philadelphia Athletics (1927-1928). Cobb was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1936, and he played his last game September 11, 1928.
The City of Anniston had a Minor League baseball team from 1904-1950. This team changed names 5 times throughout its years: Anniston Steelers (1904-1910), Anniston Models (1911-1912), Anniston Moulders (1913-1917), Anniston Nobles (1928-1930), and Anniston Rams (1938-1950). Ty Cobb played for this team in 1904 right before he was drafted by the Detroit Tigers. The team was disbanded in 1950 due to World War II and financial reasons. The team had affiliation deals with the Chicago White Sox (1938-39), Brooklyn Dodgers (1940), and Pittsburgh Pirates (1946). They played on Johnston Field which was located on Christine Ave and between E 17th and E 18th.
The JSU baseball and softball teams are back in full swing this season. The baseball team’s next home game is April 19th at 6:00 P.M. against Kennesaw State. The softball team’s next home game is May 7th at 1:00 P.M. against Belmont. Go to www.jsugamecocksports.com to see their schedule and statistics.
The Choccolocco Park, in Oxford, Alabama, is hosting the 2016 OVC Softball Championship. The 8-team double-elimination tournament will be held May 11-14. The park is even hosting the 2017 OVC Softball Championship on May 10-13. This will be the first year that the championship will be held at a neutral zone, instead of it being held at the home field of the number one team. Teams playing in this tournament are Austin Peay University, Belmont University, Eastern Illinois University, Eastern Kentucky University, Jacksonville State University, Morehead State University, Murray State University, Southeast Missouri State University, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Tennessee Technological University, and the University of Tennessee at Martin.
Brittany Noell (JSU student 2012-2016)