by Matthew Taylor
Take a look at the weekend's baseball transactions page, and some familiar names might stand out.
Would you rather be an ex-Oriole or an ex-IronPig?
The most obvious name with an O's connection on the transactions page is that of Kris Benson, a non-roster invitee of the Texas Rangers who has inked a minor-league deal with the team. As much as any Pirate, Met, or Oriole fans may want to claim Benson, I'd much prefer that all future headlines read like this one from The Morning Call: Texas signs ex-IronPigs pitcher Benson.
Benson played 11 games for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate, in 2008.
A part-time player, but for different reasons
Buried among the 11 names included in the list of transactions made by the Cincinnatti Reds is that of Baltimore-native Josh Roenicke, son of John Lowenstein's former platoon mate in left field, Gary Roenicke. The younger Roenicke is a promising pitching prospect for the Reds, with a fastball that tops out around 98 MPH, but that didn't keep Mark Sheldon of MLB.com from making a mistake while detailing the family lineage in a 2008 minor league report:
"Not only will Roenicke be asked often about where he resides, but his father and uncle are likely to come up in conversation. His father is Ron Roenicke, a former Major League outfielder and now the Angels' bench coach. His uncle, Gary Roenicke, was also an outfielder, spending most of his career with the Orioles." (emphases added)A certain O's blogger will never forget Gary Roenicke after getting a picture with the player many years ago during a baseball clinic at Memorial Stadium (see photo to the left).
This final item relates to Memorial Stadium, Roar from 34's favorite part-time players from the past, and father-son baseball connections; however, it doesn't come off of the transaction wire. Rather, an anonymous tipster mentioned on a previous posting that Chito Martinez's son, Drew, is currently an outfielder for the Memphis Tigers.
Chito was a minor leaguer with the Memphis Chicks, and Drew played his high school ball for Christian Brothers in Memphis.
"University of Memphis Head Coach Daron Schoenrock got the early signing period underway by signing one of the Memphis area's top outfield prospects--Christian Brothers High School's Drew Martinez--to a National Letter of Intent.
"Drew has what it takes to step in and impact this program as a true freshman," Schoenrock said. "That is a rare occurrence at the Division I level, but Drew's instincts, skills and desire make him one of the top high school centerfielder's in the country. "...
Martinez's father, Chito Martinez, spent three seasons in the Major Leagues with the Baltimore Orioles after being drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the sixth round of the 1984 amateur draft. Martinez's baseball career landed him in Memphis with the AA Chicks. Known as the first Major League player ever to be born in the Central American country of Belize, Martinez hit 13 home runs as a rookie in 1991."