Monday’s winner is Aubrey Huff; he’ll go on to face Erik Kratz in the Sweet Sixteen.
- Manwaring got here by defeating Frank Menechino in the opening round. Here’s what I wrote about him: “Manwaring played in Harrisonburg when he was a student at Coastal Carolina in the mid-80’s. The San Francisco Giants picked him in the 2nd round of the 1986 draft- and he made his major league debut just a year later, in 1987. Known as an excellent defensive catcher, Manwaring won a Gold Glove in 1993, after leading the league in defensive WAR with 2.4. He led the league in caught stealing pecentage in both 1992 and 1993, and led in double plays turned (as a C) in 1992 and 1994. He played a total of 13 years, hitting a combined .246/.311/.318 in almost 3,000 at-bats. He played in the 1989 World Series with the Giants, doubling in his only at-bat. He is currently a catching instructor for the Giants.”
- Steve Finley was picked in the 13th round of the 1987 draft by the Baltimore Orioles. He made his major league debut on April 3, 1989, which started off a 19-year career with eight different teams. His best year (by OPS+) was in 1996 with the Padres, when he hit .298/.354/.531 in 655 at-bats, with 45 doubles, nine triples, 30 home runs, 126 runs scored, 95 RBIs, 22 stolen bases, a 56/87 BB/K ratio… and won a Gold Glove and finished 10th in MVP voting. He won a total of five Gold Gloves (1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2004), played in two All-Star games (1997, 2000), finished in the top 15 of MVP voting twice (1996, 2004), and won a World Series title with Arizona in 2001. In 9,397 career at-bats, Finley hit .271/.332/.442, with 449 doubles, 124 triples, 304 home runs, 1,167 RBIs, and 44.2 WAR (which puts him second all-time from the VBL, behind only Jimmy Key). He is one of only two players with 300 home runs, 425 doubles, 100 triples, and at least 300 stolen bases. The other? Willie Mays.
Vote by going to twitter.com/JohnATVL to vote! (Closes Wednesday morning)
And by the way, if you want to read much, much more about the 2019 VBL season, be sure to check out the 2019 Valley League Annual!