The Tigers and Braves got a lot of good press when they called up, respectively, Max St. Pierre and J.C. Boscan last week after each of them had spent 14 years in the minors. Well, the Dodgers did them one better yesterday, calling up fifteen year minor league veteran John Lindsey.
Lindsey may be a more interesting story than the others for a couple of reasons. For one thing he isn’t a catcher. He’s a first baseman, which makes his long tenure in the minors a bit neater a trick. Catchers, after all, possess a relatively rare skill (i.e. the ability to catch) that can cover for a bad bat. First basemen that don’t light up the scoreboard, however, shouldn’t last a decade and a half in the minors. They should be selling cars or coaching high school or taking their CPA tests or something.
But Lindsey hung in there somehow. Yes, he won the PCL batting title this year, but his hitting ability was really late in coming. Indeed, he bounced around A-ball and even the independent leagues for years, not showing a ton of offensive ability until his sixth season or so and really not breaking out at all until he had repeated high-A ball for the umpteenth time. He finally started to hit regularly after joining the Dodgers organization in 2007, but even they let him go last year, only to have him return this season.
Ramona Shelbourne of ESPN Los Angeles had a nice profile of Lindsey before his callup last week, with the upshot being “John deserves his chance.” It’s nice to see him finally get it.