April 17, 2013

1998: Callups, injuries take a toll

A new manager watches his team struggle down the stretch and miss the playoffs.

For the second straight season, the Sea Dogs had a new manager. Lynn Jones had big shoes to fill, as the previous two managers led the Sea Dogs into postseason play.

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STAFF PHOTO BY JOHN PATRIQUIN -- Wednesday, June 24, 1998 -- New Britain #9 Chad Allen is tagged out at home by Sea Dogs catcher Hector Kuilan during action at Hadlock Field in Portland tonight.

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STAFF PHOTO BY JOHN EWING -- Thursday, April 9, 1998 -- Portland Sea Dog catcher Mike Redmond

Additional Photos Below

Affiliation: Florida Marlins
Manager: Lynn Jones
Attendance: 398,800 (5,952 average)

Final standings

Northern Division
Team Aff W L Pct. GB
New Britain MIN 83 59 .585
Binghamton NYM 82 60 .577 1
PORTLAND FLA 66 75 .468 16.5
Norwich NYY 66 76 .465 17
New Haven COL 59 83 .415 24
Southern Division
Team Aff W L Pct. GB
Akron CLE 81 60 .574
Harrisburg MON 73 69 .514 8.5
Trenton BOS 71 70 .504 10
Bowie BAL 71 71 .500 10.5
Reading PHI 56 85 .397 25

Notable hitters

Player HR RBI SB Avg.
Nate Rolison 16 83 5 .277
Jaime Jones 10 63 4 .281
Amaury Garcia 13 62 23 .270

Notable pitchers

Player W L SV ERA
Ed Yarnall 9 0 0 1.02
Rex Burgus 2 1 1 1.89
Geoff Duncan 9 2 11 2.83

Portland kept pace with Binghamton, Norwich, and New Britain for the first half of the season in large part because of the offensive contributions of Nate Rolison (.277, 13 home runs, 83 RBI). All-star infielders Joe Funaro (.285, 5 home runs, 28 RBI) and Amaury Garcia (.270, 13 home runs, 62 RBI) also helped keep the Sea Dogs in contention. Mike Gulan (.306, 5 home runs, 23 RBI), who signed as a free agent in May, quickly put together a 20-game hitting streak.

Several key call-ups made an impact early. Pitchers Ryan Dempster and Joe Fontenot were called up to the Marlins, but even more significant was when catcher Mike Redmond was promoted to Triple-A Charlotte on April 25. Less than a month later, Redmond was playing in the big leagues.

Brent Billinglsey had a league-leading 183 strikeouts (most by an Eastern League pitcher since 1982) while Mark Richards and Mick Pageler provided solid relief pitching. When Bobby Rodgers pitched a two-hit, 8-0 shutout against New Haven on July 5, the Sea Dogs’ record peaked at 42-37.

The Sea Dogs suffered several key injuries in the second half of the season and won just 24 of their final 62 games and finished third in the division, 16½ games back. Funaro, Rodgers, Gulan, Glenn Reeves and Ramon Castro all went down with injuries.

Those that stayed healthy made the most of the opportunity to play. Rolison established a team record for doubles in a season with 35. Victor Rodriguez, who inherited the starting shortstop position, put together a 22-game hitting streak to raise his average from .218 to .284. Pageler shattered the team record for appearances by a pitcher in a season with 60. Geoff Duncan and Michael Tejera had nine wins each.

Jones was promoted to manage the Triple-A team at the conclusion of the season.

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Additional Photos

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STAFF PHOTO BY DAVID MACDONALD - Monday, September 7, 1998 - Sea Dogs pitcher Mark Richards balances his baseball glove on top of his head while signing sutographs for young fans shortly before the start of the Sea Dogs last game of the season at Hadlock Field.


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