With Mickey Morandini set to join the coaching staff of the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs it reminded me of August 19, 1988, when the USA National Baseball Team came to Memorial Park in Quakertown to play an exhibition game against the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League All-Stars. It would be their final game in the USA before leaving for the Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea. Although baseball was only a demonstration sport at that time, the USA team won the gold medal in Korea. It was likely the greatest amateur baseball team to ever play a game in the extended Lehigh Valley area.
Members of that team were:
Jim Abbott, LHP. Born without a right hand, he was the 1st Rd. pick of the California Angels in 1988. He threw a no-hitter for the Yankees vs. Cleveland on 9/4/93 and won 87 big league games.
Bret Barberie, IF. 7th Rd. pick by the Expos in 1988. The switch hitting infielder was a member of the inaugural Florida Marlins team and got the first hit ever by a Marlins player. Played parts of 6 seasons with the Expos, Marlins, Orioles & Cubs
Mark Beck, RHP. 16th Rd. pick by the Braves in 1989.
Andy Benes, RHP. Overall 1st Rd. pick by the Padres in 1988. 155 big league wins playing for the Padres, Mariners, Cardinals and Diamondbacks. Named Sporting News Rookie Pitcher of the Year. He was the starting pitcher in the first game in the history of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Jeff Branson, SS . 2nd Rd. pick by the Reds in 1988. Hit .260 with 12 HR for Cincinnati in 1995. In November, 2013 he was named as the new hitting coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Jim Campanis, C. 3rd Rd. pick by Seattle in 1988. Son of former major leaguer Jim Campanis and grandson of baseball executive Al Campanis.
Pat Combs, LHP 1st Rd. pick by the Phillies in 1988. In his first professional season (1989) he pitched at all 4 levels in the Phillies organization, Class A Clearwater, AA Reading, AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and for the Phillies where he went 4-0 2.09. He started 31 games for the Phillies in 1990 going 10-10 with a 4.07 ERA.
Mike Fiore, OF. 15th Rd. pick by the Cardinals in 1988 out of the University of Miami. After retiring from baseball he became a staff member for sports agent Scott Boras.
Tom Goodwin, OF. 1st Rd. pick by the Dodgers in 1989. Played parts of 14 big league seasons. 369 career SB. He is currently the first base coach for the New York Mets.
Ty Griffin, 2B. 1st Rd. pick (9th overall) by the Cubs in 1988. Played 9 minor league seasons. Never played in the majors.
Tino Martinez, 1B. 1st Rd. pick by Seattle in 1988. 339 major league HRs, 192 with Yankees. Finished 2nd to Ken Griffey Jr. for 1997 AL MVP. He resigned as the Miami Marlins hitting coach on July 28, 2013. In 2014 he will be inducted into the Latin American International Sports Hall of Fame.
Bill Masse, OF. 7th Rd pick by Yankees in 1988. Managed 9 years in the minors.
Ben McDonald, RHP. Drafted 1st overall by Orioles in 1989 draft. 78-70 big league record. He threw a complete game shutout in his first major league start. He retired prematurely after rotator cuff surgery in 1998.
Mike Milchin, LHP/1B. 2nd Rd. pick by Cardinals in 1989. 3-1 career big league record. He is currently managing partner of SFX Baseball Group, now Relativity Baseball, the agency that represents Tigers pitching ace Justin Verlander and AL MVP Miguel Cabrera, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks and Red Sox DH David Ortiz.
Mickey Morandini, 2B. 5th Rd. pick by Phillies in 1988. Played 11 big league seasons with Phillies, Cubs & Blue Jays. After coaching the Lakewood BlueClaws in 2013 he was named as bench coach for the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs for the 2014 season although rumors continue to circulate that he may join the broadcast booth of the Phillies for the upcoming season..
Charley Nagy, RHP. 1st Rd. pick of Cleveland Indians in 1988. 129 big league wins in 14 big league seasons. He was pitching coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks for past 3 seasons but was fired at the end of the 2013 season.
Jim Poole, LHP. 9th Rd. pick by Dodgers in 1988. Relief pitcher spent parts of 11 seasons in the majors from 1990-2000. He was the losing pitcher in Game 6 of the 1995 World Series when David Justice hit a 6th inning homerun and the Braves defeated the Indians by a 1-0 score and won the World Series 4 games to 2.
Doug Robbins, C. Orioles 10th Rd. pick in 1988.
Scott Servais, C. 3rd Rd. pick by Astros in 1988. Played 11 big league seasons mostly with the Astros and Cubs. He is currently the assistant general manager for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Dave Silvestri, SS. 2nd Rd. pick by Astros in 1988. 336 career at bats over 8 big league seasons. He managed 2 seasons of minor league baseball.
Joe Slusarski, RHP. 2nd Rd. pick of the Oakland A’s in 1988. 13-21 career record over 7 seasons.
Eddie Zosky, SS. 1st Rd. pick by Blue Jays in 1989. Played briefly in the majors during the 1990′s.
Ed Sprague, 3B. 1st Rd. pick of Blue Jays in 1988. 152 career HR, 36 in 1996 for Toronto. His father was a big league pitcher in the late 60′s and early 70′s. He has been the baseball coach at Pacific University since 2004.
Robin Ventura, 3B. 1st Rd. pick by White Sox in 1988. In 1987 he had an NCAA record 58 game hitting streak while playing at Oklahoma State. He had a 16 year big league career with 294 HR, 18 of them grand slams. He also won 6 Gold Gloves at third base. He is the current manager of the Chicago White Sox.
Ted Wood, OF. 1st Rd. pick of Giants in 1988. Played briefly in the majors from 1991-1993 and played professional baseball in China and Korea for several years.
By the way, the Olympic team defeated the ACBL all-star team that night in Quakertown in front of a sold out crowd, by a score of 19-1. Starting pitcher Joe Slusarski threw 5 no-hit innings and catcher Scott Servais had 6 RBI’s. Robin Ventura chipped in with a grand slam and Tino Martinez also homered for team USA.