Mike Piazza slugs a homer for NYC, for America

Missions fans saw Mr. Piazza hit a few balls out of the yard over on 36th and Culebra in 1992. Little did we know, it was our own personal preview of one of the great moments in American sports.

Making the right decision ‘wasn’t necessarily easy’ for the Red Sox

Former San Antonio Missions manager Ron Roenicke has had his hands full in his first season as manager of the Boston Red Sox.

To this point, the Red Sox haven’t quite figured it out on the field, struggling to a 10-21 record. For a franchise that traditionally has been one of baseball’s best over the past two decades, times are tough.

Nevertheless, Roenicke might have enjoyed one of his finest hours in his job Thursday afternoon in Buffalo.

The game between the Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays had been called off, postponed as one of 10 in the majors scrapped in the last 44 hours since a wave of protest in professional sports commenced.

The protest has centered on the nation’s latest crisis on race relations, the tragic shooting of an African-American citizen by a police officer in Wisconsin.

“You know, this is a really important time in our country, and what are we going to do?” Roenicke asked. “These (athletes) have a platform to discuss some things that are serious issues … (things) that we need to straighten out.”

Roenicke, a California native, has roots in San Antonio.

He played for the San Antonio Dodgers as a minor league outfielder in 1978 and 1979. He also managed here in the 1990s, leading the 1997 San Antonio Missions to the Texas League title.

His leadership showed up again Thursday in handling a sticky situation that evolved after Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr., the team’s only black player, told management that he planned to sit out the Thursday night finale of a three-game series against the Blue Jays.

After Bradley made his intentions clear, the Red Sox engaged in discussions that led to a 4 p.m. team meeting at Sahlen Field, according to a published report at masslive.com.

“It was not an easy decision for a lot of us,” outfielder Kevin Pillar told the website. “We do stand with Jackie and we want to be in support of him, but a lot of us understand that us playing is an escape for a lot of people and the realities going on in the world. It is an opportunity for a lot of people to get away from the news and all the evil and bad that’s going on and be a distraction. This is what we do. It’s our responsibilities as athletes to come to the field and play.

“Ultimately, we came to a decision as a group that it is one game,” Pillar added. “It is a game but the power and impact that we have standing with those guys and their decision hopefully speaks volumes. We all believe we made the right decision even though it wasn’t necessarily an easy one.”

Speaking at the meeting were Bradley and Red Sox coach Tom Goodwin, a former Missions player. Bradley told the players why he planned to sit out and also said he would be OK with everyone if they wanted to play.

Goodwin, who is black, discussed “reasons why it might be prudent” for the Red Sox to play the game as scheduled, according to masslive.com. The Red Sox ultimately decided as a group to support Bradley and not play.

“A lot has been placed on him and that’s important to all of us,” Roenicke told masslive.com. “It’s important to these players, realizing that Jackie is our lone Black player on the team and they want to support him in any way they can. Just supporting in what we did today is telling him, ‘Jack, we’re hearing what you’re saying, we’re hearing what the rest of the guys are saying, we want to make a difference and we want to support you in any way we can.’ ”

In a video produced by the Red Sox, Roenicke encouraged baseball fans to have meaningful conversations about race. At home. At work. He said talks about sensitive issues are important.

“We understand how important baseball is,” Roenicke said. We’re playing through a pandemic. We know it’s all important. But we know the issues in life are more important …

“If you’re a kid and you turn on the TV tonight … and you ask your parents, ‘Why aren’t the Red Sox on?” I hope the parents have a serious discussion with their kid.

“We need to discuss these things more. We need to listen more. That’s the only way we’re going to change,” Roenicke said. “There needs to be a change in this great country that we live in.”

Trade speculation swirls around former Mission Taylor Williams

Taylor Williams pitching for the San Antonio Missions against the Oklahoma City Dodgers on April 28, 2019 at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander

Taylor Williams pitched in 46 games for the Missions last year. He was 3-3 with a 2.83 ERA and six saves. – photo by Joe Alexander

The name of a player familiar to fans of the San Antonio Missions has surfaced in speculation with the baseball trade deadline approaching on Aug. 31.

It’s 29-year-old Seattle Mariners reliever Taylor Williams, who might be a target of teams contending for the playoffs.

According to a story in the New York Post, Williams, a right-handed reliever, might be a player who could help the New York Yankees. In addition, SB Nation mentions that the Tampa Bay Rays also might benefit from his talents.

Williams pitched in 46 games for the Missions last year, all out of the bullpen.

He was 3-3 with a 2.98 earned run average and six saves in San Antonio, where the Missions served as the Triple-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.

During the season, Williams was called up to the Brewers a few times, but he never seemed to gain any traction. He was 1-1 with a 9.82 ERA in Milwaukee.

On Feb. 21, the course of his career took a detour as the Mariners claimed him off waivers.

Though the Mariners have struggled with an 11-19 record, Williams has emerged as one of the bright spots in the bullpen.

He has made 12 appearances out of the bullpen and has recorded six saves. He’s been steady, with a 3.00 ERA. In 12 innings pitched, Williams has struck out 17 and walked just four.

Recently, the Vancouver, Wash., native of has pitched well in two outings against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team with the best record in the majors.

Combined, Williams yielded only one hit in two scoreless innings while striking out five L.A. batters. On Aug. 17 at Dodger Stadium, he struck out two in one inning. Two nights later, at Seattle, he walked two but retired the side on three strikeouts to earn the save.

Emergence of Tatis shines light on Missions’ talent level

As a casualty of the coronavirus pandemic, the San Antonio Missions didn’t play a single game at Wolff Stadium this summer. Their season was canceled. But that doesn’t mean that they have stopped making headlines.

Fernando Tatis, Jr., who started at shortstop for the Missions in 2018, has emerged at age 21 as one of the most talked about players in the game with the San Diego Padres.

In addition, Dinelson Lamet (Missions, 2016), Franmil Reyes (2017), and then Chris Paddack and Cal Quantrill (in 2018) have surged from the Double-A level to establish themselves as some of the most promising young players in the MLB at the moment.

Among players on the Triple-A Missions from last year, Keston Hiura and Trent Grisham have delivered with the most impact in the majors thus far.

Here’s a glance at some of the Missions players from the past four seasons and how they have fared in their jump to the top level of the game:

Keston Hiura played for the San Antonio Missions for part of the 2019 season before being called up by the Milwaukee Brewers. - photo by Joe Alexander

Keston Hiura played for the San Antonio Missions for part of the 2019 season before being called up by the Milwaukee Brewers. – photo by Joe Alexander

2019

Keston Hiura — The batting average for the Milwaukee Brewers’ infielder (.240) has slipped from last season (.303). But he has continued to slug homers, seven of them in 25 games. He hit 19 for the Brewers last summer after his call up from the Missions, for whom he hit another 19 round-trippers and a .329 average.

Mauricio Dubon — San Francisco Giants utility player is hitting .265 in 27 games. The Brewers traded Dubon to the Giants last July. He became the first player from Honduras to make an opening-day MLB roster this season.

Trent Grisham — San Diego Padres’ starting center fielder (.261, 7 HR, 14 RBI) has figured prominently in the team’s rise into playoff contention in the National League. He hit three home runs out of the leadoff spot Saturday night. Grisham was traded from the Brewers to the Padres in the offseason.

Taylor Williams — Seattle Mariners right-handed reliever (six saves, 3.00 earned run average) is pitching well. The Mariners claimed Williams off waivers in February. Williams made 46 appearances out of the bullpen for the Missions last year. He was 3-3, earned six saves and posted a 2.83 earned run average in Triple-A, but he had some rough outings in 10 appearances with the Brewers at the major league level.

Devin Williams — Williams (1-1, 0.93 ERA) has a bright future with the Brewers. He throws in the high 90 mph range and has been a strikeout machine, fanning 20 in 9 and 2/3 innings this season. Missions’ fans might not remember him well. He was in San Antonio for the last half of the 2019 season and appeared in only 13 games.

Burch Smith — The San Antonio native is currently on the Oakland A’s injured list. Previously, he established himself as a key member of the A’s bullpen. Smith is 2-0 with a 2.25 earned run average and a save with the A’s, who have the best record in the American League. Smith split time between the Missions and Brewers last summer. He was picked up off waivers by the Giants last Aug. 12 and then purchased by the A’s on Feb. 15.

Trent Grisham played for the San Antonio Missions for part of the 2019 season before being called up by the Milwaukee Brewers. - photo by Joe Alexander

Trent Grisham is batting leadoff for the resurgent San Diego Padres. The former standout at Richland Hills High School played for the Missions in 2019. – photo by Joe Alexander

Corbin Burnes — Burnes (0-0, 3.42) is still searching for consistency. But he has shown flashes of potential to become a quality pitcher. With a high-90s stuff and extremely good breaking stuff, he’s got a chance. Burnes started last year in Milwaukee and then was sent down to the Missions to find himself. He’s 25 years old. Might just need time.

Adrian Houser — Houser is a starter in the Brewers’ rotation. The Oklahoma native is 1-2 with a 3.72 earned run average after going 6-7 with a 3.72 ERA in Milwaukee last summer. Houser started the Missions’ first game as a Triple-A franchise in April 2019 at Oklahoma City.

Travis Shaw — Shaw has played 18 games for the Toronto Blue Jays. A former 30 home run slugger with the Brewers, he’s hitting .231 with three homers and seven RBI for the Jays.

2018

Fernando Tatis, Jr. –Tatis has emerged as the major league leader in home runs (12) and RBI (29). He’s also seventh in OPS (1.023). His grand slam on a 3-0 count last week in Arlington, against the Rangers, touched off a controversy on baseball’s “unwritten rules.” It also set the stage for the Padres to hit grand slams in five of six games, a major league record. Tatis played parts of the 2017 and 2018 seasons with the Missions.

Chris Paddack — Right-handed pitcher from Austin (2-2, 4.26) started on opening day for the Padres. It’s his turn again on Tuesday when the Padres, on a seven-game winning streak, host the Seattle Mariners.

Ty France — Outfielder has moved into the Padres’ starting lineup in the absence of injured Tommy Pham. He aided in the destruction of the Texas Rangers last Thursday with a home run in the eighth inning of an eventual 8-7 victory in 10 innings.

Austin Allen — Won the backup catching job with the Oakland A’s after an off-season trade from the Padres. He hit his first career home run on Aug. 5 in a 6-4 home victory over the Texas Rangers. The two-run shot put Oakland ahead for good. Allen also made some waves on Aug. 9 when he was among players ejected in a benches-clearing brawl in Houston.

Cal Quantrill — The Padres right-hander (2-0, 2.93) enjoyed a big moment on Aug. 10 when he pitched three scoreless innings of relief to get the victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. The native of Port Hope in Ontario, Canada pitched in both the 2017 and 2018 seasons for the Missions.

2017

Franmil Reyes — The 6-foot-5 Reyes has been one of the hottest hitters for the Cleveland Indians over the last few weeks. In his past 10 games, he’s hitting .342 with four home runs and eight RBI. In a stretch from Aug. 15 to Aug. 17, he hit three homers in Detroit, including one that traveled 462 feet and another 453.

Luis Urias — After sitting out the first several weeks of the season, the Brewers’ infielder started fast but is now in a bit of a slump. He is 2 for 18 in his last five games, driving down his batting average to .294. Urias has had some physical setbacks since joining the Brewers in an off-season trade. He broke a bone in his hand in spring training and tested positive for Covid-19 during summer camp.

2016

Dinelson Lamet — The 28-year-old, right-hander (2-1, 1.89) leads the Padres in earned run average and innings pitched (33.1). He’s also the team leader in strikeouts (45). Lamet, in perhaps his best performance this summer, took a no hitter into the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 9. He started 14 games for the Missions in 2016. Lamet was 5-7 with a 3.39 earned run average in Double-A.

X-rays on Franmil Reyes’ hand termed as negative

Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona told reporters Sunday that X-rays on the hand of slugger Franmiel Reyes were negative.

Francona issued the statement in the wake of a two home-run performance by the former San Antonio Missions standout in an 8-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers.

In the ninth inning, Reyes, one of the hottest hitters in the American League, stepped to the plate for his last at bat of the afternoon. He was greeted with a fastball high and tight from Tigers reliever Joe Jimenez.

As the ball hit Reyes in the left hand, he spun away and screamed. Francona lifted him from the game for a pinch runner.

Later, Reyes said in a story published by the Associated Press that he was OK. “It was painful at the beginning, but it went away, thank God,” Reyes said.

He said he likes the spirit he sees from the Indians.

“What I could see from the team, especially today, was the support we give each other, how guys are fired up in the dugout,” he told the AP.

Reyes is one of the hottest hitters in baseball. He is batting .515 in his last nine games, slapping 17 hits in 33 at bats.

Against the Tigers, he showed off his prodigious power. He hit a home run tracked at 462 feet on Friday. On Sunday, he added one in the seventh inning that traveled 453 feet.

Minor-league baseball season canceled on ‘a very sad day’

Feeling the effects of a national health crisis, minor league baseball announced Tuesday afternoon that the season has been canceled, effectively stripping San Antonio of one its most enduring traditions.

Flying Chanclas de San Antonio outfield work at Thursday's practice at Wolff Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander

The Flying Chanclas de San Antonio, an entry in the Texas Collegiate League, will open play tonight in Amarillo. – Photo by Joe Alexander

It is the first time in 53 years that baseball fans in the Alamo City will not have their own professional team to cheer.

“This is news we expected, but it’s still a very sad day to know we won’t have professional baseball in San Antonio this summer,” Missions president Burl Yarbrough said. “We look forward to things getting better and know that Opening Day 2021 will be really special.”

In anticipation of the cancellation, the Missions in May moved forward with plans to host a team in the Texas Collegiate League. The team, known as the Flying Chanclas de San Antonio, will open a 30-game season Tuesday night.

San Antonio’s last summer without pro ball came in 1967 in the third year of a three-year stretch following the sale of the team to a group in Amarillo.

Pro ball returned to the Alamo City in 1968, with home games held at V.J. Keefe Field on the campus of St. Mary’s University.

It’s been played every summer since then, getting a boost in 1994 when the Missions moved to city-owned Wolff Stadium.

“We’ve been around since 1888 with only a few occasions without baseball,” Yarbrough said. “We’ll come back strong. Baseball fans in San Antonio have always supported us.”

Baseball has been in a holding pattern since March when the coronavirus pandemic forced the suspension of activity in spring training.

Last week, Major League Baseball announced a plan to return to play in a 60-game schedule that will start July 23.

But because of projected financial losses, MLB owners elected to scrap plans for a traditional minor league season.

MLB informed the minor league office that it would not provide minor league affiliates with players, meaning the end of any hopes for even a shortened season.

“These are unprecedented times for our country and our organization as this is the first time in our history that we’ve had a summer without Minor League Baseball played,” said MiLB president Pat O’Conner.

“While this is a sad day for many,” O’Conner added, “this announcement removes the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season and allows our teams to begin planning for an exciting 2021 season of affordable family entertainment.”

Missions set to host a team in the Texas Collegiate League

Making alternate plans in the wake of a national health crisis, the San Antonio Missions professional baseball club announced Thursday that it would host a team this summer in the Texas Collegiate League.

The Missions will host a team at Wolff Stadium this summer in the Texas Collegiate League. Reports indicate that a traditional minor league season isn’t likely. — Photo by Jerry Briggs

The Missions, a Triple-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, have yet to play this season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But officials said in a news release that local administrators will host a collegiate team that will be known as the Flying Chanclas de San Antonio.

The Chanclas are set to play a 30-game season, including 15 at home at Wolff Stadium. They’ll open June 30 at Amarillo, with the home opener set for July 3 against Acadiana of Lafayette, La.

While the Missions are holding out hope that they could still put together an abbreviated, late-summer schedule with the Brewers’ organization players, such a scenario isn’t viewed as likely, and they’re moving forward with a plan to host an entry made up of collegians in the 10-team, wood-bat TCL.

“We are extremely excited to be hosting live baseball at Wolff Stadium this summer for the San Antonio community,” Flying Chanclas president Burl Yarbrough said.

According to the news release, the Flying Chanclas would play from June 30 through Aug. 2, followed by a postseason.

Fans will be allowed to attend in the wake of new state guidelines allowing for stadiums to operate at 50 percent capacity.

Social distancing protocols will be in effect during all games at the Wolff, according to the Missions.

The Missions, a franchise that has played pro baseball in San Antonio for most years since 1888, are in the second and final year of a two-year Player Development Contract as the Triple-A affiliate of the Brewers.

The ball club’s schedule in the Pacific Coast League, originally set for April through August, has been suspended because of the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

COVID-19 has affected sports around the world. In the United States, most sports have been shut down since March.

Officials in baseball are working on a plan to resume the major league season in July. A deal is contingent on an agreement between the MLB owners and players. In the meantime, what will happen with the minor league season remains to be seen.

Published reports say a traditional minor league season isn’t expected to be played, raising the distinct possibility that city of San Antonio will be without professional baseball for the first time in 53 years.

After the 1964 season, ownership of the parent-club Houston Colt .45s sold its Double-A franchise in the Texas League — then playing at Mission Stadium as the San Antonio Bullets — to a group from Amarillo.

As a result, there was a pro baseball void in the city for three years, from 1965-67.

A new club emerged in 1968 at V.J. Keefe Field, on the campus of St. Mary’s University. The Missions have played since 1994 at Wolff Stadium, on the far west side, at Interstate 90 and Callaghan Road.

In 2019, they linked with the Brewers’ organization and moved up a level to Triple-A, all in hopes of marshaling support for a new stadium.

Best in S.A.? Dascenzo’s Missions won 100 games

Former San Antonio Missions manager Doug Dascenzo still remembers the day that Joe Wieland first walked into the home team clubhouse at Wolff Stadium.

Dascenzo was happy that Wieland and Robbie Erlin were joining the ball club, coming over in a trade.

But it was still an extremely strange sequence of events, considering that earlier in the week, Wieland had thrown a no-hitter against the Missions.

On the day of the trade nine years ago this summer, Wieland and Erlin woke up at their team’s hotel in San Antonio and rode the bus with the rest of the Frisco RoughRiders to the Wolff.

Then they entered the manager’s office to meet Dascenzo. After pleasantries, in came Tom Tornincasa, the Missions’ hitting coach.

“He’s the hitting coach that just got no-hit a few days earlier, right,” Dascenzo said in a telephone interview. “And if you’re ever around a hitting coach, and their team does not get any hits in a game, they’re not very happy.”

Tornincasa shook hands and offered a few kind words for Erlin.

“He extends his hand to Robbie and says, ‘Hey welcome,’ “ Dascenzo said. “ ‘We’re glad you’re here. Blah, blah, blah.’ Then he turns to Joe Wieland and he tells him a few things, (with) a few choice words. He says, ‘I’ll talk to him later.’ “

Dascenzo chuckled, remembering the moment. “He walked away,” the manager said. “But, of course, they end up being best buddies.” Such was life in the Missions’ clubhouse in 2011, when the ball club produced arguably the greatest season in franchise history.

With Wieland and Erlin on the staff for the stretch run, the Missions would go on to win the second half in the Texas League South, compiling 94 regular-season victories along the way.

Combined with a 6-1 run through two playoff series – including 3-1 against Frisco and a 3-0 against Arkansas — the Missions finished 100-47, posting the most victories in one season in the team’s long history.

Arguably, it was a championship season unlike any of the 13 in franchise history. Only the 1908 squad won more games in the regular season with 95. That year, however, the San Antonio Bronchos did not need to back up their first-place finish, because there were no playoffs.

Among the six championship squads in 26 seasons at the Wolff, the 2011 Missions produced more victories than any of the others.

Only a Dave Brundage-managed 2003 Missions team compares. Brundage led his Seattle Mariners’ affiliated squad to a second-straight league title by winning both halves, claiming 88 regular-season victories and 92 total.

Dascenzo’s San Diego Padres-affiliated Missions in 2011 were even better.

They sent numerous players into the major leagues, including four — Brad Brach (New York Mets), Miles Mikolas (St. Louis Cardinals), Jedd Gyorko (Milwaukee Brewers) and Daniel Robertson (Tampa Bay Rays) — who remain on active rosters. Both Brach and Mikolas have earned MLB all-star designations.

Nine years ago, during the Missions’ postgame title celebration, Robertson said he liked the season-long atmosphere in the clubhouse because it felt “like being in college.”

“There was a lot of chemistry on this team,” Robertson told John Whisler of the San Antonio Express-News. “We had some new guys (join the club) at midseason after the call-ups, and they all fit right in. We didn’t have a bunch of superstars, just really good players who didn’t want to let their teammates down.”

Dascenzo, speaking in a telephone interview from his home in Pennsylvania, agreed. Now a minor league field coordinator in the Chicago Cubs organization, he tipped his cap to his former players. He said they all learned to win on the way up through the Padres’ system.

In 2009, for instance, the same core of players won 101 games and a championship with the Fort Wayne (Ind.) TinCaps. “So in a matter of two years,” Dascenzo said, “you had the same group of guys that had the same exact season at two different levels, at the low-A level and the Double-A level. That’s amazing, and probably unheard of in modern-day baseball.”

Key contributors to both the TinCaps and the Missions were Robertson, Blake Tekotte, Jaff Decker, Sawyer Carroll and James Darnell among position players, not to mention pitchers such as Brach, Simon Castro and Anthony Bass.

The Missions defeated their Texas League opposition with just about every tool imaginable — power hitting, pitching and defense. Sometimes, with a combination of all three. Dascenzo, looking back, marveled that the Missions cranked out 159 home runs in a pitcher’s ball park.

“We probably weren’t expected to hit the ball out of the ball park as much as we actually did,” he said. “There is a big wind at Wolff Stadium. It blows straight in from right field, and we had a lot of left-handed hitters. We did not anticipate (159 home runs) but, like I said, the guys had some great years, and it is what it is.

“I don’t know if they hit more home runs on the road, or, at the Wolff. But they put their work in. They got better. And, thanks to Tom Tornincasa on the hitting side, they enjoyed coming to work every day and getting better.”

Led by pitching coach Jimmy Jones, the Missions’ staff ranked first in earned run average (3.43), first in WHIP (1.272) and first in strikeouts (1,087) in the league. They were also first in fielding percentage (.980).

Dascenzo said he recalls the team’s ability to track down balls in the outfield as a key factor.

“Blake Tekotte, our center fielder, he had a lot of range and was a great defender,” Dascenzo said. “Sawyer Carroll played right field. The Deckers — Jaff and Cody (unrelated) played left. They all did extremely well. Like you said, we had the fewest errors in the league, and generally that’s going to correlate to your wins. If your defense is high up in the ranking, then your wins are generally going to be up, as well.”

For the Missions, however, they didn’t just rely on talent.

It also came down to chemistry and attitude. The attitude centered on trying to win every ball game. When it didn’t happen, feelings were ruffled. Such as, when Wieland joined the team and Tornincasa just couldn’t accept it – at least, not right away.

“We had great coaches,” Dascenzo said. “With (Tornincasa) … we were like a bad cop-good cop, that kind of a deal. We had all the stuff in place. But, again, it came down to the players. They went out and played the game every night. Like Robertson (once) said, the players did have a good chemistry.

“They loved to go out and win, and they hated to lose.”

Rich Dauer’s 2013 Missions relied on pitching, clutch hitting

Sixth in a series on Texas League championships won by the San Antonio Missions during the Wolff Stadium era:

2013

Big Picture: The Missions, led by first-year manager Rich Dauer, won the third title in the San Diego Padres’seven-year run as the parent club. It was also the sixth title in the Missions’ era at Wolff Stadium and the 13th overall. Keyvius Sampson, Matt Andriese and Matt Wisler led the league’s best pitching staff and set the stage for an unlikely hero – Johan Limonta – to deliver a big blow in the championship-clincher.

Regular-season record: 78-61

First half: 38-31 Second half: 40-30

Playoffs: 6-4. The Missions ousted the Corpus Christi Hooks and the Arkansas Travelers in a pair of best-of-5 series that went the distance, winning the clincher on the road each time.

Parent club: San Diego Padres

Manager: Rich Dauer, first season with the Missions.

Top players: Ray Fuentes (.316, 29 stolen bases), Tommy Medica (.296, 18, HR 57 RBI); Jake Blackwood (.259, 7 HR, 61 RBI). Keyvius Sampson (10-4, 2.26), Matt Andriese (8-2, 2.37); Matt Wisler (8-5, 3.00), Jeremy McBryde (4-4, 2.35, 15 saves, bullpen), Kevin Quackenbush (2-0, 0.29, 13 saves, bullpen), Leonel Campos (1-0, 0.88, bullpen).

Players who reached MLB: Pitchers — Matt Andriese, Eddie Bonine, Wilfredo Boscan, Leonel Campos, Jose De Paula, Josh Geer, Colt Hynes, Ryan Kelly, Kevin Quackenbush, Chris Rearick, Donn Roach, Keyvius Sampson, Burch Smith, Matt Stites, Matt Wisler, Clay Zavada. Position players – Cody Decker, Ray Fuentes, Rocky Gale, Jedd Gyorko, Austin Hedges, Tommy Medica, Rico Noel, Eddy Rodriguez, Cory Spangenberg.

Key team statistics: First in in the TL in batting average (.256), seventh in runs scored (562), eighth in home runs (85). First in earned in average (3.19), first in WHIP (1.186), third in strikeouts (1,088). Eighth in fielding percentage (.972), eighth in fewest errors (149).

Notable: After the Missions knocked off the Hooks in the first round of the playoffs, the parent-club Padres called up offensive star Tommy Medica to the big leagues. Johan Limonta, who started the season playing in an independent league in Pennsylvania, stepped into the breach and hit a grand slam in the championship series clincher. His fourth-inning blow was the difference in a 5-0 victory at Arkansas.

Quotable: “I mean, it didn’t bother anybody,” Dauer said, shrugging off the impact of Medica’s departure. “That team was consistently changing. But they were consistently pulling for each other … They were perfect for the park we played in. They became a very good defensive team and scored just enough runs (to win). We also had some outstanding pitching — starters and relievers. That always helps.”

Sources: samissions.com, expressnews.com, baseball-reference.com

Without a doubt: 2011 Missions dominated from the outset

Fifth in a series of stories on championships won by the San Antonio Missions during the Wolff Stadium era:

2011

Big picture: Led by prodigious home-run hitters, talented pitching a lock-down defense, the Missions secured the TL title in record-breaking fashion, winning a minor league, season-best and franchise-record 100 games. The Missions hit 159 home runs, won both halves in the regular season and two rounds in the playoffs to finish with a 100-47 record for a winning percentage of .680.

Regular-season record: 94-46.

First-half: 49-21. Second half: 45-25.

Playoff record: 6-1. The Missions surge through two best-of-5 playoff series, downing Frisco 3-1 for the South Division title and then sweeping Arkansas 3-0 to win the championship.
Parent club: San Diego Padres.

Manager: Doug Dascenzo, second season with the Missions.

Top players: 3B James Darnell (.333, 17 HR, 62 RBI), CF Blake Tekotte (.285, 19, 67), RF Sawyer Carroll (.267, 18, 71), OF Jaff Decker (.236, 19, 92). P Casey Kelly (11-6, ERA 3.98), P Juan Oramas (10-5, 3.10), Jorge Reyes (10-3, 3.12), Brad Brach (23 saves, 2.25).

Players who reached MLB: Pitchers – Anthony Bass, Brad Brach, Matt Buschmann, Simon Castro, Robbie Erlin, Erik Hamren, Pedro Hernandez, Colt Hynes, Casey Kelly, Eddie Kunz, Miles Mikolas, Josh Spence, Nick Vincent, Joe Wieland. Position players – Dean Anna, Vincent Belnome, Kyle Blanks, James Darnell, Cody Decker, Jaff Decker, Rocky Gale, Jedd Gyorko, Nick Hundley, Bobby Kielty, Andy Parrino, Kyle Phillips, Daniel Robertson, Eddy Rodriguez, Ali Solis, Blake Tekotte.

Key team statistics: Second in batting average (.269), first in runs scored (801) and third in home runs (159). First in earned run average (3.43), first in WHIP (1.272) and first in strikeouts (1,087). First in fielding percentage (.980) and first in fewest errors (108).

Notable: The Missions opened the championship series at home against the Arkansas Travelers with two of the most dramatic victories in the team’s playoff history. In Game 1, they scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth to win 5-4. In Game 2, they won 5-4 again. But this time, it took 20 innings – the longest playoff game in Texas League history. The Missions clinched the title with a 10-6 victory at North Little Rock.

Quotable: “It felt a lot like being in college. There was a lot of chemistry on this team. We had some new guys at mid-season after the call-ups, and they all fit right in. We didn’t have a bunch of superstars, just really good players who didn’t want to let their teammates down.” – Infielder Daniel Robertson told Express-News reporter John Whisler after the title-clinching victory.

Sources: samissions.com, expressnews.com, baseball-reference.com