7-For-70: Top #7s in 70 Years

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7-For-70: Top #7s in 70 Years

Post by jleddy » Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:22 am

Image Okay, this one is quite arbitrary but the whole point of this serious is to honor the seventy years of the Brewster's existence. By looking at the greatest players to wear #7*, we get to take a look at a list of players from span from current player to a Hall of Very Good guy who debuted in 1985. This should be fun for some of the longer tenured general managers seeing random names from the past, but also helps color in part of the league's history for "newer" GMs like myself.

*There's a chance there have been 'better' players who have worn 7 on the back of their jerseys, these players are from the pool of active and retired players who are shown to have worn, and likely retired, with #7 by using the in-game search function. In the end, it really doesn't matter...this is a random walk down memory lane to help provide commentary about a few players from the Brewster's past and present.

Without further ado...


TOP #7s IN 70 YEARS

MIKE BAILEY - SP
BBA CAREER: 2025-2038
TEAM(S): Las Vegas Hustlers, Indy Grasshoppers, Montreal Blazers, Long Beach Surfers, Hawaii Tropics, New Orleans Crawdads
CAREER WAR: 28.3
CAREER STATS: 139-117, 4.20 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 6.8 K/9, 2.0 BB/9
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: 2027 Landis Memorial Series winner (Las Vegas), No-Hitter vs. Phoenix (2032)

At 7'3" and 255 pounds, Bailey was one of the most imposing pitchers in Brewster history. Traded from Hawaii to Las Vegas in 2021 as a 19-year-old prospect, two years after being the 11th overall pick. Bailey had a great minor league career, being named to an All-Star team three times and by 2024, the 22-year-old prospect was being referred to as a "phenom", although some weren't buying the hype by Bailey's rookie season in 2025. All the giant right-hander did was make 188 consecutive starts in his first six year, highlighted by winning a Landis in 2027. Signed to a hefty extension in 2031, Las Vegas quickly regretted the signing and shipped Bailey to Indy in what was widely-regarded in the league as a salary dump. Bailey would rebound in his first season as a Grasshopper, going 11-9 with 3.67 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. The next year, he'd be on the move again, his big contract was traded to Montreal, only to throw his one and only no-hitter in his Blazers' debut. He'd bounced around with several more teams in the last five years of his career, mostly spent on the injured list or minor league rehab starts. By 2038, the once-reliable workhorse would retire from the game at age 36. Bailey's fourteen years in the Brewster were fascinating, ascending quickly from nowhere into a promising prospect, however he could never become dominant, leaving some to say his career was ultimately disappointing. Still, he was highly-regarded by every team he pitched for and at just 40 years of age, one could see Bailey returning to the Brewster as a pitching coach in the minors or big leagues one day.



CLETUS BULLRUSH, JR - SP
BBA CAREER: 1997-2012
TEAM(S): Buffalo Bison, Calgary Marauders
CAREER WAR: 38.5
CAREER STATS: 163-179, 4.30 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 7.8 K/9, 3.1 BB/9
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: No-Hitter vs. Atlantic City (2003)

Bullrush Jr. was on scouts' radars early as a tall teenage pitcher from the Georgia farmlands. Called a "huge potential impact" prospect heading into the 1995 Draft, the Buffalo Bison figured Bullrush's upside was too good to pass up and tabbed him as the #1-overall selection. Buffalo immediately touted the redneck pitcher as a "devastating pitcher" and the hype-train was off and running. Bullrush quickly made it to the big leagues, pitching out of the bullpen as a 21-year-old rookie in the first part of 1997. In his first two season, Bullrush bounced between the pen and rotation before becoming a full-time starter in 1999. That year he went 15-15 and struck out over 200 batters, however he also led the league in home runs allowed, a sign of things to come. Just three years from being draft, Buffalo brass was questioning his #1 draft spot, whereas others around the league still saw promise in Bullrush. Perspectives started to change and by 2001, he was starting to be labeled a potential bus, with one GM going as far to call him "an enigma wrapped up in riddle". 2035 was his best season, going 15-13 with 3.74 ERA and 1.25 (4.5 WAR), highlighted by a no-hitter against Atlantic City. Bullrush would routinely provide over 200 IP with 4.00 ERA during his career but the long ball would plague him from getting better. After a mid-season trade to Calgary in 2010, Bullrush would throw his final pitch in 2012. The Georgia boy had a long, respectable career but could never get out of the looming shadow of being a #1-overall draft pick.



HSIN MEI - C
BBA CAREER: 2031-active
TEAM(S): New Orleans Crawdads, Mexico City Aztecs
CAREER WAR: 40.6
CAREER STATS: .280/.342/.529, 303 HR
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: 3x Puckett (C) winner, 4x All-Star, 1x Zimmer (C) winner, 2033 Cartwright MVP and Doubleday Series MVP

A $12.7M bonus baby international amateur signee out of China at age 16, “Hollywood” been one of the best catchers of the past decade. Mei dominated in the minor leagues, reaching the ranking of BBA’s #5 overall prospect heading into 2032. His rookie season showed promised by he firmed planted his flag in his sophomore season, slashing .293/.354/.467 before dominating in the playoffs, winning MVP in two separate series. In 2036, Mei lead the entire Johnson League in slugging with .638 and was heading into the last year of his contract. Facing a salary cap crunch, New Orleans dealt Mei during spring training to Mexico City in a seemingly sign-and-trade for an impressive haul of four young prospects. The Aztecs added Mei and his freshly inked $135M contract and he continued to be a “standout player”. Now on the wrong side of 30, the last few years have hinted at Mei’s decline, however he remains a solid veteran and will be remembered as one of the best overall offensive and defensive players of the 30s.



VALENTÍN COLÓN – SS/2B/3B/OF
BBA CAREER: 2022-2036
TEAM(S): Omaha Barnstormers/Mexico City Aztecs, Louisville Sluggers, Omaha Hawks, Vancouver Mounties, San Antonio Outlaws
CAREER WAR: 43.8
CAREER STATS: .299/.344/.406, 574 SB
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: 1x Puckett (SS) winner, 1x Puckett (3B) winner, 4x All-Star, 1x Zimmer (LF) winner

Colón had a fantastic career, hitting nearly .300 and swiping almost 600 bases. More impressively, the man known as “Little GM” started over 100 games at five different positions: SS (558 starts), 2B (517), LF (316), 3B (248) and RF (108). Signed out of Colombia by the Barnstormers as a $11M international amateur, he looked ready to be a special player at age twenty after a big spring training in 2022. Just two years later, Colón won the batting title hitting .330, along with 71 stolen bases and was considered one of the most versatile players in the big leagues. During the peak of his career, some considered him the “best all-around shortstop [in his division]” but by 2033, he found himself traded two times in two years and bounced around six different teams in the final five years of his career, which abrupted ended at the age of 34. A fun player during his twenties, Colón was one of the best super-utility players in the last quarter-century.



BROCK LEE - 1B
BBA CAREER: 1991-2007
TEAM(S): Hawaii Tropics, Madison Wolves, Vancouver Mounties
CAREER WAR: 50.4
CAREER STATS: .282/.358/.477, 380 HR, 1516 RBI
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: 2x All-Star, 3x Zimmer (1B) winner

A Vancouver Mounties legend, “Bomber” got his start as the 15th-overall pick by Hawaii in the 1990 Draft. At 6’7” and 230 pounds, Lee had the makings of a lumbering lethal-offensive corner infielder. After slugging 34 HR as a nineteen-year-old prospect across three minor league levels in 1990 and 39 more in AAA the following year, Hawaii eventually installed Lee as their starting third baseman for the final one-third of the 1991 season. In those 222 at-bats, the wunderkind slashed .297/.335/.446 and looked to be a major force for the Tropics. However, in a 1992 deadline deal, Lee was moved to Madison in exchange for Dave Manzanillo, who coincidently also makes this list next. In his five seasons with the Wolves, Lee proved to be a solid all-around hitter (”a bona fide young stud”) with a good eye (leading the league in walks in 1995) and flashing outstanding leather at first base. Enter the 1997 season: in a Madison lineup that featured the likes of Bopper Kengos, Masuichirou Bunjiro, John Catron, and Charles Puckett ready to burst on the scene, the Wolves dangled pending free agent Lee in trade talks in hopes of acquiring pitching to go with their impressive offense. With no trade consummated, Lee hit the free agent market and he was not short of suitors. Eventually Vancouver would make an offer “Bomber” couldn’t refuse: $115M over five seasons, immediately making Lee the highest paid player in the game. Immediately he became a leader in Vancouver, not only with his offense but with his fiery personality that landed him in the Commissioner’s Office one or two times. Lee would run off six-consecutive seasons with at least 100 RBI with strong HR totals and batting average, all while continuing to play solid defense. Despite still being a valuable player in his age 35 season in 2006 (104 OPS+, 1.8 WAR), Lee would play just in seventeen games the following year as a member of Madison before retiring. Although his contract made headlines and his production earned him a few All-Star appearances and awards, consensus over the years was that Lee was underrated. Named the 1B of the Vancouver Mounties All-Time Lineup, Lee was an excellent run producer and defender for a ten-year stretch.



DAVE MANZANILLO - 1B/3B/2B
BBA CAREER: 1986-2000
TEAM(S): Madison Wolves, Hawaii Tropics, Las Vegas Hustlers, Austin Riverbats/Marquette Suns, Seattle Storm, Omaha Barnstormers
CAREER WAR: 59.6
CAREER STATS: .266/.353/.534, 428 HR, 280 SB
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: 7x All-Star

While records of Manzanillo’s exploits are sketchy at best, there’s no question the popular Cuban slugger deserves attention. The first baseman didn’t break into the league until the age of 24, but by his first full season in 1987, he was a force, swatting 48 home runs and 147 RBI for an OPS+ of 134. He’d average 32 HR and 111 RBI during his seven years in Madison before moving over to Hawaii, where he continued to produce offensively. By 1995, his final year as a member of the Tropics, management was looking to unload his contract. He was eventually dealt to Las Vegas that year, with the Hustlers hoping he was missing offense they were in need of, but he couldn’t get the heralded club across the finish line. By now, he was 35 years old and pundits were questioning if his once-promising Hall of Fame odd were now considered a long shot. Manzanillo would finish out his playing days with four teams in his final two seasons before hanging them up for good in 2000. Manzanillo would appear on Hall of Fame ballots for ten years but the Hall would not call. In 2014, Manzanillo was enshrined as an inaugural member of the Madison Wolves Hall of Fame, quite the honor for such a storied franchise. Then in 2041, he appeared on BBA Hall of Fame ballots again, this time as a Veterans Committee nominee, however he garnered just 11.8% of votes. As of the start of the 2042 season, Manzanillo ranks 47th all-time in BBA history with a .534 SLG%.



BRIAN CLOUGH - 2B/LF/1B
BBA CAREER: 2016-2037
TEAM(S): Louisville Sluggers, Wichita Aviators
CAREER WAR: 73.8
CAREER STATS: .309/.394/.422, 3246 hits, 369 SB, 136 triples
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: 2038 BBA Hall of Fame inductee, 2030 and 2032 Landis Memorial Series winner (Louisville), 2x Puckett (2B) winner, 10x All-Star, 2032 Landis Memorial Series MVP

What, you’ve never heard of “Ol’ Big Head,” the basehit-smacking, extra-base swatting, on-base machine speedster? Well, pull up a chair. Ever since being second overall back in the 2013 Draft by Louisville, superstardom was expected of Clough, a six-foot second-bagger out of Middlesbrough, England. Just days after being drafted, the media was throwing around lofty praise, like Clough “could be the Rogers Hornsby or Honus Wagner of the BBA”, while others declared the Hall of Fame was not in his future. In the minors, Clough showed signs of what would sum up his career: elite contact and a nagging injury bug. After a 26-game cup of coffee in 2016, Clough not only hit the ground running in 2017, but just plain hit: the 23-year-old would lead the league in triples (15) and steals (44) while hitting .307, earning the first of his ten All-Star Game appearances. Over the course of his career, Clough would lead the league in a major offensive statistic fifteen times: OBP five times, triples five times, AVG twice, and runs, hits and steals each one time. At the age of 25, Clough’s 2019 season would be cut short, suffering the first major injury of his career (torn rotator cuff). Entering the 2032 season, Clough was bought out by Lousiville for the remainder of his contract. “Ol’ Big Head” was entering his Age 38 season and while still productive, he wasn’t quite the same player as his former glory. However Louisville relunctantly resigned Clough to a lesser $16M, two-year deal, jokingly referring to their now first baseman as a “geriatric”. Just a few months later, Clough would tear his hamstring and miss several months of the campaign. Upon his return, in the final 55 games of the year, the ‘professional hitter’ would slash .297/.397/.435 and help deliver Lousiville’s second Landis Memorial Series victory in three years. Clough would amazingly play another five seasons until the age of 43. Much to no one’s surprise, Clough would be inducted into the BBA’s Hall of Fame in 2038 with 97% of the vote. In recent years, he’s been named the BBA’s #4 All-Time 2B and a Level 2 member of the Hall of Fame Pantheon. Clough spent nearly as much time in the trainer’s room as he did on the basepaths, as he had eight seasons with less than 125 games played, which makes his all-time numbers even that more impressive: 12th all-time in hits, 13th all-time in triples, 15th all-time in runs scored, 18th all-time in walks, and 36th all-time WAR.

A #7 for the ages, it’s no surprise Louisville retired the number in Clough’s honor in 2037.

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* * * * * I truly hope everyone enjoyed that as much as I did in researching and writing. I’d like to thank all the GMs of the past (and some present) that assisted by writing great team news over the years. Goes to show team news isn’t just a means to participation points or meeting a quota, but a way for your work as a GM to live on in this league long after we’ve left.

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"My $#!? doesn't work in the playoffs." - Billy Beane Joe Lederer

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Re: 7-For-70: Top #7s in 70 Years

Post by RonCo » Wed Apr 15, 2020 1:08 pm

jleddy wrote:
Goes to show team news isn’t just a means to participation points or meeting a quota, but a way for your work as a GM to live on in this league long after we’ve left.
Amen.

Great 7 for 70, of course. Much fun.
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Re: 7-For-70: Top #7s in 70 Years

Post by 7teen » Wed Apr 15, 2020 3:28 pm

jleddy wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:22 am
* * * * * I truly hope everyone enjoyed that as much as I did in researching and writing. I’d like to thank all the GMs of the past (and some present) that assisted by writing great team news over the years. Goes to show team news isn’t just a means to participation points or meeting a quota, but a way for your work as a GM to live on in this league long after we’ve left.

Image
There have been times I’ve considered putting up a poll asking why people do TNs mainly.

Is it because you have to? To accumulate as many points. For other people to read and get feed back?

For me I think I mainly write the ones I do because we enjoy it and to track the history.

I wrote articles (at the time emails) when I was in the GBC and I don’t even think it was a requirement then. It’s just something I’ve enjoyed.

Which makes these types of pieces all the more enjoyable. Good job, Joe.
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JL MW: 99-2009, 17, 20, 21
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Re: 7-For-70: Top #7s in 70 Years

Post by HoosierVic » Wed Apr 15, 2020 4:07 pm

I really enjoy writing the TNs, and like having a record of the team I can look back on - and leave for the guy who follows me, whenever and whoever that may be. I like reading about the other teams and listening to the podcasts, too, because it all gives a sense that there’s a living, breathing league here.

And histories like Joe’s here only help deepen that sense of immersion. To me, that’s the best thing about the Brewster, its minors, and affiliate leagues: the sense of history, community, and connection.

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Re: 7-For-70: Top #7s in 70 Years

Post by johnd2442 » Wed Apr 15, 2020 4:27 pm

7teen wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 3:28 pm

There have been times I’ve considered putting up a poll asking why people do TNs mainly.
I would be really interested in that poll. Just like I was reading this piece even though I have no frame of reference of any of the players. The top banner is amazing looking by the way. And I love that there was a 7'3'' pitcher in the league! Cletus Bullrush is one hell of a name by the way.
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Re: 7-For-70: Top #7s in 70 Years

Post by jleddy » Wed Apr 15, 2020 4:35 pm

johnd2442 wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 4:27 pm
Just like I was reading this piece even though I have no frame of reference of any of the players.
Neither did I outside of Hsin Mei!
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Re: 7-For-70: Top #7s in 70 Years

Post by CTBrewCrew » Thu Apr 16, 2020 6:06 pm

DAVE MANZANILLO !!!

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Re: 7-For-70: Top #7s in 70 Years

Post by Fat Nige » Sat Apr 18, 2020 10:13 am

Even though I only had Ol’ Big Head at the end of his career you could still see his class, what a career he did have.

I’m like Vic on TN’s, I write for the pleasure, the history and the team record. IMO there’s nothing that helps a new GM than to be able to read his franchise’s history and try to figure where it all went right/wrong.

Living in England I don’t have a lot (any) of people that are interested in talking real life baseball, let alone pixilated baseball, so TN’s are my way of talking about the BBA. I’ve produced a wealth of articles for many different franchises and I still go back now and read them. I can’t take pictures of my history but I can have the written memories to look back on
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Re: 7-For-70: Top #7s in 70 Years

Post by johnd2442 » Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:44 pm

CTBrewCrew wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 6:06 pm
DAVE MANZANILLO !!!

"Dave's a killer!"
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