File this under “What were they thinking”

I happened to be wandering the web looking for information about the Diamondbacks and whether they would be buyers or sellers as the trade deadline loomed when I came across a story out of Sioux City. The story was about their minor league baseball team, the Sioux City Canaries (now there is a name that will strike fear in an opponent). Their lead-off hitter for Wednesday’s game was Jim Eriotes. This was Jim’s first game with the Canaries and was quite a media event. It seems Jim’s claim to fame is that he is now the oldest person to be in a professional baseball game. Jim is 83 years old which makes him just slightly older than Julio Franco.

The Canaries are part of the American Association which is an independent league made up of 10 teams mostly in the Midwest and south. Their season lasts from May through August. They are referred to as one of the premier independent baseball leagues so you have to wonder what they were thinking to allow an 83 year-old player on the roster. When Jim came up the infielders and outfielders moved in. Since he was leading off I am guessing this fielder alignment was not to protect against a run. The opposing players just didn’t respect Jim’s power. While he may be the career home run leader of his local nursing home, he was not intimidating the St. Joe Blacksnakes players. Or maybe Jim is such a prolific bunter that they were moved in to try and through out the speedy Eriotes. I attempted to look up Jim’s stolen base total but I think the records were destroyed during an Indian uprising at the fort. Jim’s at bat did not go as well as he had hoped. He did foul off one pitch before striking out. You have to give the guy credit, even after whiffing he was still talking smack. He complained that the pitcher was only throwing 83 miles per hour and he was used to hitting balls near 100 MPH in the batting cage. He further went on to say he thought he deserved to be a regular and that this one at-bat did not give him the type of opportunity he deserved. It was unclear from the story why the manager pulled Jim after just one at bat. Maybe he didn’t want his star to tire himself out, or maybe Jim needed to get to Luby’s cafeteria for the early bird special. I just have to wonder what exactly is next. If anyone wants to beat Jim’s record, you can find a link to the American Association’s tryout page here. Who knows, there may be someone who actually played with Abner Doubleday that will want to relive those glory days before players actually had to wear mitts.

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