Gordon was a 20-year old pitcher at the beginning
of 1988 when he was an Appleton Fox. By
the end of that baseball season he was in the major leagues, pitching for the
Kansas Royals. He was a sixth round
pick of the Royals in 1986 and he is currently a free agent after an
injury-plagued season with the Arizona Diamondback.
To have a rise that fast and a
career of that length makes us want to take a look back 22 years to two games in
his Midwest League career that showed what a special player Flash Gordon was
when he was with
The first article is a game
story written by Dan Vanderpas after the game between the Foxes and the
Burlington Braves on May 16, 1988. It
appeared in the May 17 edition of the Appleton
The second article is from the
May 22 edition and appears to be a wire report - with a little local rework by
an unnamed PC writer - of the May 21 Foxes' game in Waterloo against the
Foxes get to eat cake
There was a birthday bash at
Goodland Field Monday night.
Gordon presented the team with
a gift of a 16-strikeout, 3-1 gem over the Burlington
Gordon, a 20-year-old native of
"The more they (his
teammates) hit the ball, the better I felt," said Gordon after the game as
teammates around him chomped on birthday cake.
"It was just my team helping me and me helping my team.
"You can do a lot with a
3-run lead because they've got to play catch-up ball.
In baseball three runs is not a lot, but if you've got a good pitcher
on the mound you can fairly get by most teams."
The quick, but cold, 2-hour,
8-minute game also featured strong pitching from
Karasinski lamented that he
didn't get down in time to field Shumpert's hit up the middle.
"I would have rather fielded
those ground balls in the second inning and maybe we'd still be playing," he
said. "I thought the ball was hit
harder than it was."
Said Shumpert: "I think he (Karasinski)
got better in the later innings. His
breaking pitch started breaking a little sharper."
Shortstop Dave Howard, whose
pitched with the White Sox, Baltimore Orioles, and Washington Senators in the
1960's, said: "Tommy shouldn't be here.
After every game he pitches I tell him, 'I'll see you next year,'
because I think he's going to Memphis (AA) after every outing, he's pitching
"I just feel really relaxed
at the plate," said Glass, who accounted for three of
"He (Gordon) did have a lot
of good stuff. I just got lucky
because I hit his hitter's pitches instead of me swinging at his pitcher's
pitches. He's the fastest pitcher
we've seen so far."
Martin struck out but went to first on a
third-strike wild pitch in
"I wanted the shutout, but we
need to win," Gordon said. "I
like to have a shutout and someday we'll come up with it, but we need to win
and that's basically what I'm working on trying to help the team."
Poldberg said: "We haven't
had too many quick games lately, but when Tommy comes out there and you score a
couple of runs you have a good chance of winning the game."
"Right now (to be called up), it's just a matter of him getting command of himself because the higher up he goes a lot of hitters will be taking the high fastballs that the younger hitters are swinging at."
Gordon's 19 strikeouts wasted in Foxes'
That's what Appleton Foxes
pitcher Tom Gordon must be wondering after the Foxes' game Saturday afternoon
Gordon struck out 19 batters
- three short of the Midwest League record - and held the Indians to one hit
through seven innings only to have
The Foxes right-hander gave way
Drezek in the eighth inning with a 3-0 lead after he reached the 130-pitch
limit set by Foxes manager Brian Poldberg. Drezek
promptly walked the first three batters he faced and was replaced by Keith
The Indians' Roman
Bautista greeted Shibata with an RBI single, and Troy
Neel followed with a 2-run single to tie the score at 3-3.
Shibata balked in a run and was replaced by Brian
Meyers, who gave up an RBI single to Bill
Knarleski to give
Gordon's 19-strikeout total
included streaks of five, six, and seven batters during the game, which narrowly
missed the league record of eight consecutive strikeouts.
Khoury broke up Gordon's streak of
seven strikeouts with a popup to third in the seventh inning - the first ball
that had been hit fair since Knarleski's 2-out single in the third.
Wright singled to open the
second inning, stole a base, and scored on Doug
Bock's RBI single. In the
Gainous doubled and scored on Knecht's single.
Howard scored on a ground out in the sixth after he hit a 2-out double.
The Foxes will close out their
4-game series with the Indians with a 1:30 p.m. game today in
The Foxes will play
1. A 130-pitch limit?
Gordon has a 22 major league year career.
Good thing It wasn't a 150-pitch limit or he might have only pitched
for 15 years. If my math is correct, Gordon tossed 257 pitches in those
two games, which were played four days apart.
2. The Midwest League Record
Book lists Robert Sprout of
3. A couple of inconsistencies:
Story number one states that Gordon had 16 strikeouts.
The Midwest League Record Book has Gordon with 17 K's in that game.
Story number two mentions that eight consecutive strikeouts is the
record. The MWLRB notes that Art
4. The MWLRB has Gordon holding
the league record for MOST STRIKEOUTS, TWO CONSECUTIVE GAMES: 36.
5. The following
6. The following opponents
mentioned in the articles above made it to the big leagues:
7. It is interesting that
Gordon, a pitcher, was a teammate of David Howard, a shortstop.
As mentioned in the first article, David Howard was the son of Bruce
Howard, a former Major League Pitcher. Twenty-one
years later, the Gordon's son, Dee
played shortstop for the Great Lakes Loons.
8. One other interesting note:
Tom Gordon was Baseball
9. One last interesting note:
Dee Gordon was born on April 22, 1988, one month before his father's 19
strikeout performance in
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