06/04/2008 9:33 AM
Chatham A's 2008 Season Preview
Chatham Hopes End of 10-Year Wait
To Host All-Star Game Will Hold True
For Cape League Championship as Well
CHATHAM, Mass. -- The Chatham A’s haven’t won a Cape Cod Baseball League championship or hosted the league’s All-Star Game since 1998. On July 26, the All-Star Game returns to Veterans Field, and field manager John Schiffner hopes the A’s next championship will soon follow.
Gone are such 2007 stars as infielder Jermaine Curtis (UCLA) and DH Allan Dykstra (Wake Forest), both of whom are expected to be early round selections in Major League Baseball’s June 5 draft. But with nine players returning from the East Division runners-up, the 2008 A’s should be very experienced and very good.
Those returnees -- Kevin Couture (Southern California), Charles Brewer (UCLA), Gregg Glime (Baylor), Addison Johnson (Clemson), Jeff Lorick (Virginia), Tom Milone (Southern California), Kyle Seager (North Carolina), Alex White (North Carolina) and Gavin Brooks (UCLA) – give Chatham a solid foundation on which to build a championship contender.
Johnson figures to be Chatham’s starting centerfielder and will probably bat in the leadoff position. A force to be reckoned with last season, he hit a solid .276 and led the league in both runs scored (32) and at-bats (174). His 48 hits were just four behind the league leader.
Milone was the 2007 B.F.C. Whitehouse Award winner as the Cape League’s outstanding pitcher with a 6-1 record and a sparkling 2.92 ERA. He was one of only four Cape League pitchers to author a shutout last year. He is projected to be the ace of the A’s mound staff once again. And with Brewer and White back in the fold as well, the A’s pitching staff appears to be rock solid.
Milone was one of three Chatham players named to the All-League team in 2007, although neither he nor Johnson was picked to play for the East in the annual All-Star Game. Both hope to correct that oversight this year, especially because the late-season showcase will take place at their home park, Veterans Field, on July 26.
Newcomers to watch include Hector Rabago (Southern California), Kyle Seager (North Carolina), Aaron Miller (Baylor) and Casey Haerther (UCLA), along with freshman Victor Sanchez (San Diego), Brad Boxberger (Southern California) and Dylan Brown (Oklahoma State).
Last Aug. 2, Schiffner became the league’s winningest manager ever when the A’s beat Bourne, 10-1, for his 335th career victory. He finished 2007 with a record of 338-283-15. His 636 games managed are second only to Hall-of-Famer Merrill “Red” Wilson’s record 663 games as manager at Yarmouth and Yarmouth-Dennis.
Top Chatham players from the past include Charlie Hough (1964), Tom Grieve (1966), Thurman Munson (1967), Steve Stone (1968), Walt Terrell (1979), Mike Pagliarulo (1980), Bobby Witt (1983) and Brian Roberts (1998).