Robert Barr grew up in the shadow of Mulcahy Stadium in Alaska. He watched the Alaska Baseball League grow from a series of town teams to one of the best collegiate baseball leagues in the country.
And he’s trying to bring that story to a wider audience.
During Spring Training the DTTWLN staff will profile and examine the coaches and players that make up and are vying to be part of the 2013 Cleveland Indians—A Team With A New Direction. Today, we examine one of the Spring Invitees and their chance to make the Tribe’s Opening Day roster.
By Steve Eby
On January 21, the Indians brought in a new face and welcomed back an old one when they signed free agent utility man Ryan Raburn and outfielder Ben Francisco. Both players were signed to minor league contracts with spring training invites and both veterans will be given a chance to make the Big League club as reserves. Raburn had spent his entire seven year career with the Detroit Tigers prior to signing with the Tribe, while Francisco has bounced around America (and Canada too) trying to find a place to call home.
Francisco’s longest tenure (in terms of games played) in any one place came in his first stop as a Cleveland Indian. The right handed hitting outfielder suited up for 235 games for the Tribe, 10 more than during his time with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Francisco! That’s fun to say! Francisco… Frannncisco… Franciscooo…
By Christian Petrila
I was torn as to whether or not I should consider this player a “Flash.” However, seeing as how he’s returning to the Indians, I figured it was an appropriate time to look back at him.
This week’s Flash in a Pan is Ben Francisco.
Unlike Brady Anderson last week who ended his career with the Tribe, Francisco began his career with a Chief Wahoo patch on the shoulder. A fifth round pick in the 2002 amateur draft, the Indians let Francisco age in the minors like a fine wine. Despite reaching Akron in only his third year in the system and Triple-A Buffalo only a year and a half later, Francisco wouldn’t reach the MLB until 2007 after five plus years in the system.
Francisco made his MLB debut on May 1, 2007 against Toronto. However, one could make the argument that it could hardly be considered a debut, as he entered the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning and didn’t get a chance to swing the bat. After another stint in the minors that would keep him out of an Indians uniform until June 22, Francisco finally got his first at bat in the Majors. His first at bats came in two pinch hit appearances against Washington. He struck out both times. However, his next two games would turn out to be memorable.