NILES, OH - The 2004 New York-Penn League Champion Mahoning Valley Scrappers and the memories attached were revisited on July 20. As we continue to celebrate Mahoning Valley's 20th Season, we go back and revisit some of the fondest moments in franchise history.
Dave Wallace was a member of the 2002 Scrappers roster that finished with a 46-30 record - 1.0 game back of the Auburn Doubledays for the Pinckney Division crown, and 2.0 games behind the Williamsport Crosscutters for the league's Wild Card spot. He played in 45 games - batting .255 with three home runs, 17 RBI and five doubles. His professional career ended in 2008 as Wallace wrapped up his final season with Triple-A Columbus.
"It's a special place," Wallace said about Mahoning Valley. "I remember the first day I was dropped off (at then - Cafaro Field), and showing up and not really knowing what to expect. But everyone's always been very welcoming. The community (has) been great. It's been interesting to see it grow over the years. It's definitely one of my favorite places to come back and visit."
Wallace recalled his favorite memory from the 2002 season.
"In one game, we were in the bullpen, trying to get a rally started late in a game..." Wallace remembered. "We built a fire. What we wanted to be a little fire ended up being a bit bigger than we thought. We definitely got in trouble. CB - Chris Bando, our manager at the time, he wasn't too happy with us about that. But we did score some runs in that game, so the rally fire worked."
FROM THE DIAMOND TO THE DUGOUT
Wallace continued his baseball career as a coach after hanging up the cleats in 2008. His first managerial gig took him back where it all started. He assumed the role as the manager of the Scrappers in 2011 and has remained in the Cleveland Indians organization since. He has worked throughout the Indians system as a manager in Mahoning Valley (2011), Lake County (2013) and Akron (2014-2016). For the past two seasons, Wallace has worked for the Indians as a Special Assistant. Including his service time as a player, Wallace has been within the organization for a total of 17 years and counting.
FROM MV TO CLE
Over the course of Mahoning Valley's 20 seasons, nearly 100 players have made the journey from Eastwood Field to a Major League stadium. It may be difficult to find a player as recognizable and prominent throughout Major League Baseball as current Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor. Lindor was a member of the 2011 Scrappers team that featured ten would-be Major League players - the most compiled on any Scrappers roster in franchise history.
In addition to Lindor, position player Tony Wolters made it to "The Show." Pitchers Cody Allen, Cody Anderson, Elvis Araujo, Shawn Armstrong, Joe Colon, Jeanmar Gomez, Hector Rondon and Drew Rucinski also made it to a Major League roster. Lindor, Allen, Anderson, Armstrong, Colon and Gomez all made their respective Major League debuts with the Cleveland Indians.
"The most rewarding part and most fulfulling part is how happy I am for those guys," Wallace commented. "To now and to see the daily sacrifice and work they put in... to see it all pay off the way it has really makes me happy. Not for my role in it, but happy for them."
The 2011 Scrappers fell just shy of the postseason, finishing third in the Pinckney Division. Mahoning Valley finished 41-34 - 4.0 games behind the Auburn Doubledays. They finished 4.5 games back of the Brooklyn Cyclones for the Wild Card spot.
Lindor appeared in five games for the Scrappers. He notched six hits in 19 at-bats (.316) and drove in two runs. Those were the only five games he logged playing time in during the entire 2011 season - the same season he was drafted in the first round (No. 8 overall) by the Indians. Lindor has made All-Star Game appearances in all three full seasons played in Cleveland. In 2015, he finished second to Houston's Carlos Correa for the American League Rookie of the Year award. He finished in the top-10 in AL Most Valuable Player voting in 2016 (9th) and 2017 (5th), and has won a Gold Glove award (2016) and a Silver Slugger award (2017) as a shortstop.
Cody Allen broke out in 2011 as a 23rd-round draft pick of the Indians. He split time across four different Minor League levels that season, but the bulk of his time was spent in Mahoning Valley. He appeared in 14 games, finishing with a 3-1 record and a 2.14 ERA. Allen limited opponents to a .183 batting average and compiled a 42:9 strikeout-to-walk ratio as a Scrapper. Allen made his Major League debut in 2012 with Cleveland, and since has saved over 140 games as an Indian - setting a new franchise record on July 4 versus Kansas City.
"In this organization, we do a great job of drafting and developing," Wallace praised. "It's so much fun to watch those guys be a part of the success that we've had in the last few years."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.