Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bankston hurt in Arizona

Former Biscuits infielder Wes Bankston will miss the rest of the Arizona Fall League season because of an ankle sprain, the league announced Tuesday. Bankston was 1-for-12 in three games with the Phoenix Desert Dogs before getting hurt Friday.

Bankston's had terrible luck with injuries this year. He missed 40 Biscuits games with a strained oblique early in the season, though it didn't stop him from being picked to the league's annual All-Star Game. Bankston was promoted to Class AAA Durham just after the All-Star break.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ridgway on 40-man

The Devil Rays added former Biscuits reliever Jeff Ridgway to their 40-man roster today. They also released Kevin Witt, the first baseman who led the minor leagues in home runs this year at Class AAA Durham.

Ridgway was with Montgomery early this year before moving up to Durham. The left-hander played for Team USA in an Olympic qualifier in Havana at the end of the season. The Americans beat the Cubans to win the tournament.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Jose Diaz outrighted

The Kansas City Royals removed former Biscuits pitcher Jose Diaz from their 40-man roster Wednesday. He passed through waivers and will stay with the Kansas City organization.

Diaz came to the Devil Rays with Scott Kazmir in the July 2004 trade with the New York Mets. When Tampa Bay removed him from its 40-man in 2005, the Cleveland Indians claimed him on waivers. The Indians didn't offer him a contract for this year and he signed with the Texas Rangers, who traded him to the Royals in July. Diaz's first organization was the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The pop quiz on all that starts in five minutes.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Rest in peace, Buck O'Neil

Buck O'Neil wasn't a Hall of Fame-quality player or has Hall of Fame credentials as a coach but he belongs in the Hall of Fame. He was a great ambassador for the game and -- most of all -- a Hall of Fame-quality person.

I can't say I met Buck O'Neil. I was too wide-eyed and thrilled to have one of the all-time greatest people in my midst three years ago. I was in Kansas City, Mo., in March 2003 for the NAIA basketball tournament. AUM and Faulkner were both there -- both lost in the first round.

One day, AUM played a 10:30 p.m. game (yes, 10:30 p.m.) and I had all day to "waste." My main planned stop was the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. I didn't plan on what became the visit's highlight.

As I was walking toward the door, the AUM team started pouring out into the lobby. As I chatted with a few of the players, one of the museum officials asked how they enjoyed the museum. They said it was great and asked if Buck was around. He was -- and was more than willing to come down and visit.

His enthuiasm was obvious as he talked up the players and virtually everybody in the lobby. I think I said one or two "yes, sirs" in his direction. The Museum hauled out a box of replica hats for the Kansas City Monarchs. Buck started signing.

Every AUM player, quite a few fans and one awed sports writer came away with a Buck O'Neil-autographed hat that day. Mine is still on display at home and will stay that way.

Thanks, Buck, for all you did. You'll be missed once you're finally inducted into the Hall of Fame. The sooner, the better.