In an earlier article, “Look Homeward Angel,” I told you how great I thought the city of Asheville and surrounding mountains were. If I had my druthers, I would have been content to stay and shoot
photograph of the Low A – Rockies Asheville Tourists and other SALLY teams visiting Asheville all summer.
Tourists General Manager Larry Hawkins and the front office staff, team manager Joe Mikulik (although he didn’t like my Oklahoma cap very much because he‘s a diehard Texas fan), pitching coach Doug Linton, hitting coach Houston Jimenez, and all the Tourist players were great to me during my three day stay.
I want to say, “thank you,” to you all for a good time. You’re good people!
Very near to clinching the Southern Division SALLY League first half championship with a 46-24 W-L record, yet unbelievably only a game in front of the Yankees’ Charleston River Dogs, the Tourists are pitching and playing almost flawless baseball offensively and defensively.
Seven Tourists were named to the league’s Southern Division All Star team: pitchers Jhoulys Chacin, Joey Williamson and Randall Taylor, infielders Darin Holcomb and Everth Cabrera, and outfielders Brian Rike and Michael Mitchell. Joe Mikulik will serve as manager, and Doug Linton, pitching coach. In recognition of his 10-1 W-L record, 2.10 ERA in 98.2 IP, RHP Chacin was named Southern Division starting pitcher.
The Tourists are also blessed with Baseball America Colorado Rockies’ top prospects: #14 OF Brian
Rike, #18 RHP Jhoulys Chacin, #23 SS Helder Velaquez, #26 C Lars Davis, #29 RHP Connor Graham, and #30 RHP Cory Riordan.
I think overlooked for prospect status and playing good ball are position players, 3B Darin Holcomb, who is hitting 332 BA, 9 HR, and 53 RBI in 265 AB, CF Michael Mitchell, who is hitting 325 BA, 3 HR, 27 RBI in 246 AB, Kevin Clark, 309 BA in 188 AB, 8 HR, 33 RBI, and 1B Jeffrey Cunningham, who is hitting 260 BA, with 12 HR and 54 RBI in 242 AB. RHP Sheng-An Kuo (8-4, 3.82 ERA), Joey Williamson (2-0, 1.90 ERA), and Randall Taylor (1-1, 2.57 ERA) are also deserving some recognition.
On Saturday, I saw Asheville Mayor Terry M. Bellamy, and Tourists’ GM Larry Hawkins present retired Tourists’ #50 jersey to former SALLY President, John Henry Moss in recognition of his 50 years – service as league president.