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Minor League fans have questions; we've got some answers
October 8, 2010
Minor League Baseball fans have a lot of questions about the game, its players and this website. We at attempt to answer some of those curiosities. No promises, though.

Have a question? Shoot us an email at [email protected]

My father, Emitte Ballou, was born in 1895. As a young man, he played Minor League Baseball. His younger brother, Noble Winfred "Win" Ballou went on to play with the Washington Senators, St. Louis Cardinals [and Brooklyn Dodgers]. The other day while going through some of Daddy's things, I found a photo of a baseball team on the field. The caption at the bottom reads "Jackson Baseball Club Season of 1922" and then "Electric Studio." Do you have any information at all about the Jackson Baseball Club? Where it was? How I can find out any information about it? Did this club belong to Minor League Baseball? Could I donate this photo to some group to whom it would mean something? -- Pat B.

Great story! Minor League teams have been linked to Jackson -- both Mississippi and Tennessee -- for more than a century. The Jackson Red Sox played in the Class D Cotton States League at Athletic Park in Jackson, Miss., in 1922, so that may be the answer.

However, back in the early 20th century in west and middle Tennessee, several towns fielded teams in the Class D Kentucky-Illinois-Tennessee "Kitty League," a circuit that, according to the Tennessee Historical Society, hosted baseball from 1903-1906 and intermittently from 1910 through 1955 (teams like the Jackson Railroaders in 1903 and the Jackson Merchants in 1911). Jackson, Clarksville and Union City fielded teams in this league during those years, so, if your father played in 1922, this may well have also been the club he was with.

The Jackson Blue Jays (1924) played in the Kitty league before the Jackson Giants (1925) and Jackson Jays (1926) played in the Class D Tri-State League. Recently, the Double-A West Tenn Diamond Jaxx renamed themselves the Jackson Generals. You may want to contact the team or state historical societies about possibly donating that great old image. Or hang on to it!

How many votes a day can you make for online [MiLBY] voting? -- Rolf K.

Each fan (or father, in your case) may vote up to 50 times for MiLBY candidates. There are currently no daily limits.

It is my greatest wish for my grandson, Nicholas "Nick" James Vincent of Ramona, Calif., to be [a MiLBY starting pitcher candidate] someday. Where could I vote for him? Nick was drafted by the San Diego Padres in June 2008 and has played in the Minor Leagues in Oregon after being sent there by the Padres. He has been at Lake Elsinore for two years as a "pitcher." All I know is he only goes in to pitch when they are having problems with winning, etc., and forgive me for not knowing the "title" of that type of position for a pitcher. -- Alma T.

Mr. Vincent is a reliever -- that's the term you're looking for -- not a starter, thus he was not eligible for voting in the starting pitcher MiLBY award category. You're right, relief pitchers do enter games when the starters are removed, due to a variety of circumstances. Your grandson had quite an outstanding season, going 4-0 with a 1.87 ERA in 81 2/3 innings. Voting for the best relievers begins on Oct. 18.

Is it a rule, written or non-written, that precludes a former player (one that has had a career-ending injury or maybe just "lost a step") from becoming an umpire? Also, the other way around, an umpire becoming a player? I am aware of the separate unions. When MLB umpires are introduced, they are never introduced as "former" player/umpire. Obviously, they have to have an intimate knowledge of the game/rules. -- Bobby M.

No, there's no rules prohibiting players becoming umpires or, in the highly unlikely event, an umpire becoming a player. Having knowledge of how the game works doesn't in itself entitle anyone, player or not, to become an umpire -- there are guidelines and steps to become a professional umpire.

I've been umpiring for a for a couple years now and, I tell you, I've got what it takes. I know for a fact I'm ready to start working my way up, and it's all I think about, I live and sleep, dream baseball. I guess what I'm getting at is, what's the next step to getting to the Minors? I know there's a process, please get back to me and let me know what I have to do. -- Cody L.

You don't need to tell us you've got the guts to umpire -- we have nothing to do with selecting who umps in the Minors or Majors. We do, though, have a lot of information on how people can become umpires. Best of luck!

What does it mean when a player is outrighted by the Major League club to their Triple-A club? -- Bill H.

We answered this question a few months ago, take a look.

When do players from the 2010 season become free agents (sixth year)? What is the date? -- Chip O.

According to Major League Rule 55, "At 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Oct. 15 or on the fifth day following the last day of the World Series, whichever is later, of the last year of a player's Minor League Uniform Player Contract, the player's Minor League Uniform Player Contract shall expire and the player shall become a 'Minor League free agent' unless the player's Major or Minor League club has remaining options to renew the contract."

My research is concerned with the design and development of a new baseball bat, designed to increase the speed at which the bat can be swung, increase the size of the hitting area and improve the ease of use on the bat. Do you have an official, up-to-date version of the rules and regulations surrounding the use of all equipment and use of equipment in play for Minor League Baseball? -- Robert W.

Official baseball rules can be found here. Section 1 deals with equipment; Rule 1.10 (page 6) specifies rules regarding bats.

Have a question? Shoot us an email at [email protected], and please be as specific as possible so that we can accurately respond to your inquiry.