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By Rafer Johnson, Salem Press

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92 ERA were good enough to win him a spot on the Topps all-star rookie team. Jim baffled hitters with a ninety-mile-per-hour fastball and a repertoire of pitches that included a curve, a changeup, and a cut fastball, a pitch that moves like a combination of fastball and curve. Though he fell to 10-14 in 1990, Jim proved a durable workman by pitching 211 innings. His record was somewhat deceptive, though, in that Jim was victimized by the Angels’ inability to score runs on his behalf. 89 ERA in 1991.

Jeff hit only 2 home runs during the 1989 season, not indicative of the great power hitter he became as a major-league player. 333. On August 31, 1990, Jeff was traded to the Houston Astros in return for relief pitcher Larry Andersen. Jeff was surprised by the trade but also pleased because the Astros had long been one of his favorite teams. Also, he felt that the trade would allow him to reach the major-league level more quickly. When Jeff arrived in Houston, he was told that because the team already had a good third baseman, he had to play first base if he wanted to be a starter.

Even as a small boy, Roberto was determined to become a professional ballplayer, but his mother, Maria, knew the many difficulties along the path to a career in baseball. She encouraged her sons to take their education seriously in order to have some other opportunities when they reached adulthood. By the time Roberto was seventeen, however, his reflexes, agility, and speed illustrated that he was a big-league prospect. Both he and his brother signed contracts with the San Diego Padres of the National League (NL) and began to play in the minor leagues.

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