Flashback Friday: Dave Trembley and the Thinning All-Star Bullpen

Francona and Hurdle could’ve called the O’s skipper for advice

by Matthew Taylor

As Tuesday night’s Major League All-Star Game dragged into Wednesday’s early morning hours, managers from both teams faced the prospect of having no pitchers left in their respective bullpens, a worrisome scenario described by Jack Curry of the New York Times.

“The managers were becoming antsy with each scoreless inning, the empty seats were multiplying with the outcome still in doubt and, most important, the pitchers left in the bullpens were dwindling. It was the final All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, and it was the game that did not want to end.”

Were “antsy” managers Terry Francona and Clint Hurdle truly in need of comfort, they could have used their already overworked bullpen phones to dial Dave Trembley. The O’s skipper surely knew how they were feeling.

This week’s Flashback Friday takes us back to the summer of 1999, when Dave Trembley was in the midst of leading the Double-A West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx to their first-ever division title. On Trembley’s Diamond Jaxx roster that year were current A.L. east foes Scott Downs of the Blue Jays and Jose Molina of the Yankees.

Given his success, Trembley got the call to manage the Southern League’s N.L. All-Stars. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette from July 18, 1999, describes how the loyal-to-a-fault Trembley nearly found himself in need of some serious relief during the (Minor) Midsummer Classic.

All-Star, but no save

Travs right-hander Gene Stechschulte entered the ninth inning of the Double-A All-Star Game last Tuesday at Mobile, Ala., in position to earn a save.

But he was pulled from the game with two outs. Dave Trembley, the National League All-Stars’ manager, inserted right-hander Steve Rain.

Trembley is manager of the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx of the Southern League. Rain is his closer.

The move almost backfired. Rain took a hard line drive off his left shin. And the National League had no more pitchers available.

“Everybody was like, ‘Who are we putting in?’ ” Stechschulte said. “That’s what the big question was. [Trembley] asked me if I was ready to go back out there.”

Rain recovered to finish the game and earned the save.

In other O’s-related trivia, outfielder Jeff Inglin, at the time a member of the Birmingham Barons, was the MVP of that 1999 Southern League All-Star Game (he was a repeat winner in 2000). Inglin finished his career in the Orioles’ organization, playing alongside current Birds Nick Markakis and Brandon Fahey for the 2005 Bowie Baysox.

[Image source: Ballparks Digest. Click image for original.]


About mptaylor11

Roar from 34, a Baltimore Orioles Blog. Humor. History. Homerism. Since 2006.
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